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Business | October 04, 2011

3M and Umicore expand materials relationship

3M and Umicore have entered into a second technology license agreement that further expands the use of nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC) cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries.
Under the agreement, 3M grants Umicore license to a family of low cobalt NMC cathode material compositions for manufacture and sales to lithium-ion battery manufacturers for automotive and consumer electronics applications.

The battery cathode compositions composed of nickel, manganese, and cobalt, covered by this agreement, offer an outstanding balance of power, energy, thermal stability and low cost. NMC cathode materials can meet demanding customer requirements ranging from high-energy handheld consumer electronics to high-power (hybrid) electric vehicles. For large format battery applications the excellent thermal stability of NMC cathode compositions contributes to improved battery safety performance thereby, enabling a lower total battery system cost.

“We are very pleased to strengthen our successful technology collaboration with 3M. This license allows Umicore to further expand its wide product offering. The product performance combined with an intrinsic lower cost will pave the way for advanced NMC cathode materials in the emerging applications for lithium-ion batteries in the automotive market as well as further penetrate the established consumer electronics market,” said Kurt Vandeputte, business line manager, for Umicore’s Rechargeable Battery Materials activity.

“NMC cathode materials have shown significant advantages in large format battery applications like electric vehicles,” said Christian Milker, business manager, 3M Electronics Markets Materials Division. “The very low cobalt compositions described in 3M’s patent will enable battery customers to further reduce cost and minimize materials cost fluctuations that are typical with higher cobalt cathode compositions. This agreement with Umicore will accelerate the market adaptation of the technology and enhance our ability to meet the rapidly growing needs of lithium-ion battery manufacturers.”

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