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BASF expanding catalyst and battery R&D site in Ohio with $25M investment; new cathode materials research

BASF is investing $25 million in renovating and expanding its research and development (R&D) facility in Beachwood, Ohio. In addition to the existing catalyst and battery materials research, the facility is being renovated to make space for a new cathode materials research team and a team of researchers focused on chemical and process engineering.

BASF is focused on developing a full suite of advanced cathode and electrolyte solutions for current and next-generation lithium-ion batteries as well as for future battery systems. On the cathode side, BASF is currently licensed worldwide to produce and market lithium-ion battery materials by both Argonne National Laboratories (earlier post)—the leader in NCM (Nickel Cobalt Manganese) technology—and LiFePO4+C Licensing, the leader in LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) technology (earlier post).

BASF is also developing and producing a portfolio of application-specific electrolyte formulations; the company also acquired Novolyte Technologies in 2012 (earlier post).

In addition to developing advanced materials for lithium-ion batteries, BASF is also researching future battery concepts such as lithium-sulfur and lithium-air. As an example, the company is working with Sion Power to develop lithium-sulfur technology with a mid-term goal of tripling the energy stored in the battery per weight. (BASF has also taken a stake in Sion.) (Earlier post.)

Construction is underway and completion is expected in early 2014. The number of personnel at the site will nearly double to more than 90 employees by 2015; approximately 50 employees currently work at the site.

Expansion of the Beachwood facility will allow us to optimize our research activities by bringing together a high degree of expertise in chemical catalysis, battery materials and process engineering in a greatly enhanced, and highly collaborative operating environment.

—Peter Pfab, BASF Vice President, Catalysis Research

The Beachwood site has been a hub of catalysis research for more than 35 years. The existing battery materials research team was established in 2009 to focus on advanced materials for lithium-ion batteries in advance of the opening in 2012 of a new materials production facility in nearby Elyria, Ohio.

Our investment in Beachwood will allow us to focus on developing new battery materials that can provide higher energy density, greater power, increased safety and lower cost. These are the key areas in which the chemical industry can play a significant role in determining the future performance of batteries for electromobility, helping drive higher adoption rates for hybrid and full electric vehicles in North America and around the world.

—Andreas Fischer, BASF Vice President, Battery Research and Electrochemistry

With Beachwood in North America, Ludwigshafen in Europe, and Amagasaki in Japan, the company will have R&D facilities in all three markets that support customers’ individual requirements.


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