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BASF breaks ground for cathode active materials production plant in Schwarzheide, Germany

BASF has officially broken ground for its new cathode active materials (CAM) production plant in Schwarzheide, Germany. The new plant is part of BASF’s multi-step investment plan in the European battery materials market and will use precursors (PCAM) from the company’s previously announced plant in Harjavalta, Finland. Construction started in August in Schwarzheide and the plant is scheduled for a 2022 start-up.

This new plant for cathode active materials—mainly high-energy density NCM and/or NCA cathode active materials depending on customer requirements—will enable the supply of around 400,000 full electric vehicles per year with BASF battery materials.

BASF’s groundbreaking ceremony today marks a further step in the right direction for Germany’s industrial sector and the establishment of a European value chain for electric mobility. We aim to produce the world’s best-quality and best-performing batteries in Germany and Europe. We are therefore backing the expansion of battery manufacturing which uses the latest and most environmentally friendly materials. Specifically, the Federal Government and the Land are providing approximately €175 million towards BASF’s project. I am delighted that BASF aims to set new standards in Schwarzheide and create forward-looking jobs which will contribute to successful structural change in the region.

—Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy

At the ceremony, European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič emphasized the importance of creating a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe:

The battery value chain is of strategic importance for Europe’s resilience, particularly with respect to clean, sustainable mobility. This is even more critical as we seek to jumpstart our economies, while accelerating the green transition. I am pleased that our focus on scaling up innovation under the European Battery Alliance is yielding strong industrial projects like the BASF investment. Building a competitive, innovative and sustainable battery ecosystem in Europe will also help protect millions of jobs in European industries in the face of tougher global competition.

BASF said it is committed to provide a reliable and sustainable local supply of high-energy density cathode active materials to cell producers and automotive customers meeting their specific needs in Europe.

The new plant together with the precursor plant in Harjavalta will use efficient manufacturing processes, a high share of renewable energy, upstream integration into the key raw materials like cobalt and nickel, and a short transportation route along the value chain. These measures will lead to a 30% lower CO2 footprint compared to the conventional industry standard. With efforts on recycling, we aim to ‘close the loop’ while reducing the cO2 footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60% in total.

—Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President, Catalysts division at BASF


The investment in Schwarzheide reinforces BASF’s support of the European Commission’s agenda towards a European battery production value chain and is part of the “Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI)” approved by the European Commission on 9 December 2019, under the European Union State aid rules.

The launch of innovative battery materials from the Schwarzheide plant and research to develop next-generation battery materials and process development, including battery recycling, is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag and by the Ministry of Economics, Labor and Energy of the State of Brandenburg on the basis of a resolution of the Brandenburg State Parliament as part of the IPCEI for Batteries: Funding codes 16BZF101A/B.


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