BASF breaks ground for battery materials plant in Germany

by John Shepherd
Chemist Dr Daniela Pfister examines a pouch cell containing BASF cathode material. Photo: BASF
German multinational chemical company BASF has formally broken ground for a cathode active materials plant, which is set to become a key player in Europe’s battery materials market.

BASF said the facility in Schwarzheide, 110km south of Berlin, is scheduled to start operations in 2022, with state and federal governments contributing around €175m (£157m) towards the project.

Schwarzheide will use precursors from BASF’s previously announced plant in Harjavalta, Finland to supply around 400,000 fully electric vehicles every year with battery materials.

The president of BASF’s catalysts division, Dr Peter Schuhmacher, said: "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.”

Schuhmacher said production activities "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.”

Federal minister for economic affairs and energy, Peter Altmaier, said the project marked "a further step in the right direction for Germany’s industrial sector and the establishment of a European value chain for electric mobility”.

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