Johnson Matthey and 3M have entered into a patent license agreement that aims at further expanding the use of Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications. Under the agreement, 3M grants Johnson Matthey a license to US6964828 (Lu and Dahn), US7078128 (Lu and Dahn), US8241791 (Lu and Dahn), US8685565 (Lu and Dahn) and all global equivalents thereof, and to US6660432 (Paulsen et al.) and all global equivalents thereof.
The cathode compositions composed of nickel, manganese and cobalt offer a balance of power, energy, thermal stability and cost. NMC cathode materials can be tailored through changes in composition and morphology to give optimized performance in a diverse range of automotive applications from micro-hybrid systems to fully electric vehicles.
3M’s battery laboratory collaborated with Professor Jeff Dahn and students at Dalhousie University on the NMC technology. 3M developed a number of compositions of the NMC material, including NMC 111 (for energy and power); NMC 442 (for energy and power); and an optimized high-power NMC 111 composition with high porosity.
Broadly, patents on NMC reach back into the 2000s, with Argonne National Laboratory filing the first one in 2000 based on work done by Dr. Michael Thackeray, followed shortly thereafter by a patent filed by 3M based on work done by Dr. Jeff Dahn at Dalhousie University.
In 2014, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) confirmed the novelty of NMC patents for each (Argonne and 3M).
Through focused product development and customization, Johnson Matthey will deliver NMC technologies to the market to help support and enable powertrain electrification.
The rapid growth of the electric vehicle market is driving the need for NMC-based cathode materials globally and especially in China. Johnson Matthey is well-positioned to supply lithium ion battery customers in this dynamic environment. We are pleased to conclude this agreement with Johnson Matthey, which will help to accelerate the adoption of NMC technology worldwide.—Christian Milker, global business manager of 3M’s Electronics Materials Solutions Division