Umicore and Idemitsu to jointly develop high-performance solid-state battery materials

Umicore and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd 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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Umicore profile

Umicore is the circular materials technology company. It focuses on application areas where its expertise in materials science, chemistry and metallurgy makes a real difference. Its activities are organised in three business groups: Catalysis, Energy & Surface Technologies and Recycling. Each business group is divided into market-focused business units offering materials and solutions that are at the cutting edge of new technological developments and essential to everyday life.

Umicore generates the majority of its revenues and dedicates most of its R&D efforts to clean mobility materials and recycling. Umicore’s overriding goal of sustainable value creation is based on an ambition to develop, produce and recycle materials in a way that fulfils its mission: materials for a better life.

Umicore’s industrial and commercial operations as well as R&D activities are located across the world to best serve its global customer base. The Group generated revenues (excluding metal) of € 4.0 billion (turnover of € 24.1 billion) and employed 11,050 people in 2021.

Idemitsu profile

Idemitsu is one of Japan’s leading producers and suppliers of energy and materials. Our global operations, spanning 67 business bases across 20 countries and regions outside of Japan, encompass Petroleum, Basic Chemicals, Functional Materials, Power & Renewable Energy, and Resources.

Founded in 1911, Idemitsu Group has for over a century provided the stable energy supply that is indispensable for industry and daily life. Under our corporate vision for 2030, titled “Your Reliable Partner for a Brighter Future”, Idemitsu Kosan aims to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon, recycling-based society by using its technological capabilities and materials to resolve related issues.

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