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Umicore and Idemitsu to jointly develop solid-state battery materials

By Mary Page Bailey |

Umicore N.V. (Brussels, Belgium) and Idemitsu Kosan Co. (Tokyo) have agreed to jointly develop high-performance catholyte materials for solid-state batteries, combining their respective expertise in cathode active materials and solid electrolytes, and aiming to provide the technological breakthrough to extend the driving range and thereby propel e-mobility.

Umicore brings its world-leading expertise in a variety of cathode active materials (CAM) for lithium-ion batteries, while Idemitsu Kosan brings its know-how in solid electrolytes as a key material for all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries (ASSB). Umicore has been working on solid-state CAM chemistries since 2017 and holds multiple key patents in this technology field. Idemitsu Kosan has an established method for manufacturing high-purity lithium sulfide, which it developed in its petrochemical business, and holds many patents for sulfide solid electrolytes that use lithium sulfide as their raw material.

“Umicore laid its foundations in battery materials almost 30 years ago and thanks to our own research and strong global open innovation footprint, we are at the forefront of various lithium-ion battery technologies that help decarbonize transport. Our partnership with Idemitsu enhances our innovation and technology leadership to support our customers in their clean mobility transformation through solid-state battery power,” said Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore.

“Based on more than 20 years of experience, Idemitsu has developed the technology of sulfide solid electrolytes and holds many patents related to sulfide solid electrolytes. Solid electrolytes will contribute as a key material for the “electrified society”, through ASSB. The joint development between Umicore and Idemitsu will play an important role in the acceleration of activities in this field,” said Hajime Nakamoto, Managing Executive officer of Idemitsu.

Catholytes combine cathode active materials and solid electrolytes. The more intimate contact between these two components would enable the solid-state battery to achieve better performance. Solid-state batteries are the next-generation batteries with performance improvements on several fronts. In cars, for example, their higher energy density will increase the driving range and allow for faster charging. The replacement of today’s liquid electrolyte with a solid one will enhance the safety and lifespan of batteries, reduce their size, weight and ultimately, cost.

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