(IN BRIEF) BASF has celebrated the opening of Europe’s first co-located center for battery material production and recycling in Schwarzheide, Germany. The facility includes a state-of-the-art production plant for cathode active materials and a battery recycling plant, marking significant progress in closing the loop for the European battery value chain. The center aims to collect used batteries, recover mineral raw materials, and utilize them in the production of new battery materials. The establishment of this center is an important step for Europe to compete in the growing global battery market. The event was attended by customers, politicians, and partners, including European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, who emphasized the EU’s commitment to creating a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain. The production plant for cathode active materials is the first of its kind in Germany and fully automated on a large scale. BASF’s innovative cathode materials have a lower carbon footprint and cater to the specific needs of European cell manufacturers and automotive OEMs. BASF is also preparing additional investments to meet the rising demand for cathode materials in the European electric vehicle market. The battery recycling plant will process end-of-life batteries and waste from battery production, recovering valuable metals for the production of new cathode active materials. The two plants at the Schwarzheide site will create around 180 new jobs and contribute to the European Commission’s agenda for a European battery production value chain. The investments align with the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) for Batteries and support BASF’s commitment to sustainability and the green transition.
(PRESS RELEASE) LUDWIGSHAFEN, 30-Jun-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — BASF (ETR: BAS), the world’s largest chemical producer, along with customers, politicians, and partners, celebrated the opening of Europe’s first co-located center for battery material production and recycling in Schwarzheide, Germany. The event marked the inauguration of a cutting-edge production facility for high-performance cathode active materials and the unveiling of a battery recycling plant, taking significant steps toward closing the loop in the European battery value chain. These advancements encompass the collection of used batteries, recovery of mineral raw materials, and their utilization in the production of new battery materials.
The establishment of this center is a pivotal move for Europe to actively participate in the rapidly expanding global battery market. Battery materials, which substantially impact the performance of lithium-ion batteries, play a critical role in the mobility transformation.
“Despite all challenges we are currently facing in Europe, today is a reason for all of us to be optimistic. The state-of the art cathode active materials plant and the recycling plant for black mass production underline that we at BASF believe in the future of the chemical industry in Europe and in Germany and invest in innovative products and services for our customers in our home market,” said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE. “With our two investments we significantly contribute to the reduction of the CO2 footprint of batteries and close the loop for sustainable mobility.”
European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič emphasized the importance of creating a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe. “The EU battery market is rapidly growing. Demand for batteries is expected to continue to increase drastically in the coming years for both mobility and storage, and our competitors are also pursuing this market. In this context, the European Commission is committed to keep building a solid battery ecosystem in Europe. This is why we have created the European Battery Alliance, which has helped to generate more than €180 billion in private investments so far. The BASF plant benefited from this work. With its focus on advanced cathode active material and on recycling, it demonstrates that we can boost the EU’s competitiveness and reduce its dependencies in a strategic sector, and accelerate the green transition.”
The newly opened plant not only serves as Germany’s first production facility for high-performance cathode active materials but also represents Europe’s inaugural fully automated large-scale cathode active materials production facility. The plant, already sold out for the coming years, will supply tailored products to European cell manufacturers and automotive OEMs. BASF’s innovative cathode active materials boast a significantly lower carbon footprint than industry benchmarks, thanks to the company’s proprietary energy-efficient production technologies and a high proportion of renewable energy. Anticipating increasing customer demand in the European electric vehicle market, BASF is actively pursuing additional investments in cathode active materials and engaging in advanced negotiations with customers. This underscores BASF’s commitment to establishing a robust and localized battery value chain in Europe.
Dr. Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action said: “With the combination of a state-of-the-art CAM manufacturing and a recycling facility, Germany gains a key piece of the puzzle for its growing battery ecosystem. BASF’s project increases our sovereignty along the value chain, promotes the circular economy and thus strengthens economic security. The decision in favour of Schwarzheide underscores the attractiveness of the site – its history and chemical knowhow as well as its abundance of renewable energy in the vicinity. The project also highlights the ongoing transformation: Here, where coal was long liquefied into gasoline, the active material for EV batteries will be produced from now on. We are happy to support this transformation with IPCEI funding.”
BASF has already introduced closed-loop solutions in Asia and North America, offering cathode active materials based on recycled metals to conserve resources and further reduce the CO2 footprint. With the investments made in Schwarzheide, BASF is now directly supporting the European market while facilitating accelerated growth for its global business. The newly constructed plant will mechanically process end-of-life batteries and waste from battery production to produce “black mass” containing key metals—lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese—used in cathode active materials. These valuable metals can be chemically recovered in a sustainable manner to produce new cathode active materials. Construction of the black mass production facility is already underway, with production expected to commence in 2024.
“By establishing our first European co-located center for battery materials and recycling, we want to strengthen the battery value chain in Europe,” said Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, who is responsible for BASF’s Battery Materials and Recycling business and President of the Catalysts division. “We will continue to close the loop and invest in our production and recycling capacities globally to meet the demand of our customers for high-performance cathode active materials with a low CO2 footprint.”
The two plants at the Schwarzheide site will expand BASF’s product portfolio and create approximately 180 new jobs. These investments align with BASF’s support of the European Commission’s agenda for a European battery production value chain and are part of the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) approved by the European Commission in December 2019. Funding for the launch of innovative battery materials, research and development of next-generation battery materials, and process development, including battery recycling, is provided by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the Ministry of Economics, Labor, and Energy of the State of Brandenburg as part of the IPCEI for Batteries.
“Lusatia is and will remain an industrial and energy region. The products will be renewable, more environmentally friendly and more sustainable. The new plants for battery materials at BASF Schwarzheide contribute to the success of the transformation in the previous coal-mining region. With the production of battery materials, battery production and their recycling, a new, unique branch of industry is being created in Brandenburg, with which we are opening another chapter in the energy transition. Not only will new industrial jobs be created. A strong contribution is being made here to the independence of the European economy, to domestic value creation and to climate protection,” said Dr. Dietmar Woidke, Minister President of the State of Brandenburg.
The virtual press kit of the event contains TV footage and photo material. Additional TV footage and photos of BASF’s battery material research and production sites can be accessed in the TV-service and photo pool using “battery” as the search term. Event photos will be available online starting from 2:00 p.m. CEST.
About BASF Battery Materials and Recycling
BASF is a leading global supplier of advanced cathode active materials (CAM) for the lithium-ion batteries market, providing high performance CAM to the world’s largest cell producers and for leading platforms of OEMs. In addition, we offer base metals sourcing and management as well as closed loop battery recycling solutions. By leveraging our industry-leading R&D platforms and passion for innovation, BASF’s Battery Materials and Recycling unit develops unique, proprietary solutions that drive customer success.
BASF Battery Materials and Recycling is part of BASF’s Catalysts division. The division’s portfolio also includes Environmental Catalysts and Metal Solutions, as well as Process Catalysts. Customers from a variety of industries including Automotive & Transportation, Chemicals, Plastics or Energy & Resources benefit from our innovative solutions. Further information on BASF’s Catalysts division is available on the Internet at www.catalysts.basf.com.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 111,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €87.3 billion in 2022. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the United States. Further information at www.basf.com.
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SOURCE: BASF SE