Lanxess, IBU-tec Partner To Develop Iron Oxides For EV Batteries

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The collaboration focuses on enhancing the performance of LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cathode materials and reducing batteries’ carbon footprint. Utilizing local raw materials, the initiative aims to strengthen the European value chain for LFP batteries, specifically electric vehicles. This approach improves battery efficiency and supports regional development and sustainability.

Specialty chemicals firm Lanxess and battery materials producer IBU-tec advanced materials have initiated a collaborative research endeavor in the battery domain. The primary objective for both German enterprises is to pioneer the development of novel iron oxides intended for manufacturing cathode materials in LFP batteries, thereby enhancing the overall performance of these batteries. The collaboration focuses on improving various electrochemical properties of LFP batteries, including their energy density, charging rates, and lifecycle of charging.

Lanxess has noted a growing preference among automobile manufacturers for employing LFP (lithium/iron/phosphate) batteries, particularly in mass-produced models. When compared to NMC (nickel/manganese/cobalt oxide) and NCA (nickel/cobalt/aluminium oxide) battery chemistries, LFP batteries present significant cost benefits—up to 50% cheaper—and are deemed safer, markedly reducing the risk of ignition.

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A key aspect of this partnership is to fortify the European supply chains. The demand for LFP batteries in Europe is anticipated to surge by 20% annually through to 2030. Until now, this demand has predominantly been met by suppliers outside of Europe. Through their joint efforts, Lanxess and IBU-tec are committed to fostering a self-sufficient and resilient value chain within the European LFP battery market, which will concurrently contribute to diminishing the carbon footprint associated with these batteries.

IBU-tec, headquartered in Weimar, Germany, stands as the sole European manufacturer of LFP cathode material to date. Conversely, Lanxess manages the world’s largest facility for the crucial raw material, iron oxide, located in Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany. Bringing nearly a century of expertise in developing this material, Lanxess is well-equipped to supply iron oxide particles that meet the specific requirements for size, purity, morphology, and volume needed for LFP batteries.

Michael Ertl, Head of the Inorganic Pigments business unit at Lanxess, remarked on the collaboration, stating that IBU-tec, as the sole European provider of LFP cathode materials, serves as an ideal partner for them in creating a crucial new material for use in electric vehicle batteries and stationary energy storage systems. He highlighted that the partnership is a key step in improving sustainability and forming a European value chain for battery materials.

Jörg Leinenbach, CEO of IBU-tec, shared his enthusiasm for the partnership as well, noting that working with Lanxess allows them to combine forces with one of the most extensive, globally established chemical companies in the battery industry. He emphasized that their joint product development would merge their expertise to propel the European LFP battery market forward and establish an independent value chain, viewing this alliance as a vital move to expand the market.

In addition to the development of LFP precursors, Lanxess extends its capabilities to various other segments of electromobility and the battery industry, providing essential raw materials for electrolytes, battery coolants, flame retardants for plastic components in electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and specialized orange dyes for colouring high-voltage components.

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Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi is a Journalist at EFY. His passion is to explore the future of mobility, which gets him to cover latest technologies shaping the future of automobiles and EVs. But, at times he writes on broader technologies too. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aryaman-raghuvanshi-2431b7153

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