BASF High Performance Battery Opportunity
Will BASF Be The Next Big Player In Electric Vehicle Batteries?
German-based chemical company BASF has been rather busy lately, exhibiting a strong desire to break into the red hot lithium-ion battery market.
The company has created a new global business unit called “Battery Materials” and has started to acquire battery research and manufacturing companies at a frenzied pace.
In February alone the company has purchased 4 different facilities, with one of the most recent being Ovonic Battery Company of the now bankrupt Energy Conversion Devices. Ovonic is the global leader in Nickel-Metalhydride (NiMH) battery technology, including the protection of cathode active materials (CAM) used in lithium-ion batteries.
BASF has also purchased the electrolytes division for high-performance batteries from chemical and pharmaceutical company Merck.
The acquisition consists of the patented battery enhancing products and technologies Merck has developed and introduced to the market, including the complete line of finished LiPF6-based and LiFAP-based electrolytes which are marketed under the Selectiyte brand.
Also included in the transaction is a variety of additives for electrolytes used to produce lithium-ion batteries and Merck’s research portfolio on innovative electrolytes and additives.
All of this is in accordance with BASF’s 2011 announcement that it intends to invest a three-digit million euro sum into researching, developing and producing advanced battery materials over the next 5 years.
In January BASF invested $50 million to attain an equity ownership position in privately held Sion Power, a leading developer of rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries.