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Umicore and Prayon form beLife JV to develop and produce phosphate-based cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries

Materials company Umicore and phosphate producer Prayon are forming a joint venture—beLife—to develop and produce phosphate-based cathode materials for use in lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries. The JV is set up on a 51 (Prayon): 49 (Umicore) ownership basis.

beLife will initially focus on developing advanced, cost-competitive products and production processes for lithium iron phosphate cathode materials used in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The joint venture is establishing an industrial pilot plant in Engis, Belgium, that will be operational in the coming months with all materials produced being exclusively marketed by Umicore. The materials are dedicated to batteries for energy storage applications as well as batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Umicore and Prayon have been developing Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) technology independently and both companies will contribute intellectual property to the joint venture. This intellectual property includes Prayon’s worldwide license for the production and sale of LFP materials granted by LiFePO4+C Licensing AG. (Earlier post.)

Prayon is a leading global producer of phosphate materials for various industrial applications and its high-purity phosphates are one of the key intermediates for LFP battery materials. Umicore is a world leader in cathode materials for Li-ion batteries.

We are delighted to initiate this partnership with Prayon for phosphate-based cathode materials. The partnership is based on a unique combination of strengths and offers significant value for existing and future customers. We can offer customers the broadest range of cathode chemistries [including lithium cobaltite (LCO), nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP)] for the broadest range of applications.

—Kurt Vandeputte, Senior Business Director for Umicore Rechargeable Battery Materials

Jointly owned by OCP SA (Office Chérifien des Phosphates, Morocco) and SRIW (Belgium), Prayon manufactures and markets an extensive range of purified phosphoric acids, phosphate salts and fluorine products that are used in food, fertilizers and a range of industrial applications. Prayon also manufactures lithium boron iron phosphate, a cathode material used in hybrid and electric vehicle batteries as well as stationary applications.



The advantages of LFP chemistry are well known as well as its limits.
There are much more promising chemistries preparing their market debut in short time.
Isn't it a waste of time, money and energy to invest in a product determined to be obsolete in short range?

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