The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and BASF, the world's largest chemical company, have signed a world-wide licensing agreement to mass produce and market Argonne's patented composite cathode materials to manufacturers of advanced lithium-ion batteries. BASF will conduct further lithium-ion battery material application development in its current Beachwood, Ohio facility. Contingent upon winning a DOE grant under Recovery Act - Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative (DE-FOA-0000026), BASF plans to build one of North America's largest cathode material production facilities in Elyria, Ohio.
The patented cathode materials licensed to BASF are part of a large and diverse suite of lithium-ion battery inventions and patents developed at Argonne with funding from DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program. The further development and commercialization of the cathode materials will result in advanced batteries that are higher-performing, longer-lasting and safer when compared to the existing technology that has dominated the market for nearly two decades.
When completed, the proposed BASF facility in Elyria, Ohio is expected to be the largest cathode material production facility in North America. The cathode material licensed from the DOE has been shown to be a material of choice among the largest North American and Asian cell manufacturers that are actively engaged in providing lithium-ion battery solutions to the automotive and other commercial marketplaces. The impact of such a facility is anticipated to be significant as the facility construction and staffing will have a positive economic impact for Ohio and will attract further businesses to North America.
Argonne's composite cathode material employs a unique combination of lithium and manganese rich mixed metal oxides in a revolutionary materials-design approach to extend the operating time between charges, increase the calendar life and improve the inherent safety of lithium-ion cells. Moreover, the enhanced stability of the composite material permits battery systems to charge at higher voltages, which leads to a substantially higher energy storage capacity than currently available materials through both the higher voltage and higher capacity per unit weight of active material. BASF intends to commercialize these cathode materials for transportation and other applications.