BASF and China's Contemporary
Amperex Technology (CATL), one of the world's
largest car battery makers, struck a partnership on battery recycling, among
other activities, part of CATL's move to expand in Europe.
BASF products also include catalytic converters,
insulation foams, coatings, vitamins and plastics, will compete in battery
recycling mainly with Belgium's Umicore.
BASF has been seeking a
string of alliances with cobalt and nickel miners. Those included a 2018
partnership with Russia's Norilsk Nickel in Finland and last year it started
exploring a nickel and cobalt extraction process in Indonesia with French
mining group Eramet. Reuters reported that BASF was in early talks about
setting up cathode material production in Canada, attracted by the country's
raw materials and vicinity to battery cell manufacturers in North America.
Melanie Maas-Brunner, Chief
Technology Officer, BASF, said that, there is a de facto scarcity of raw
materials. She added that BASF can only run the cathode business over the
longer term if the raw materials are skilfully kept in a circular movement.
She added that she expects
volumes of raw material for cathodes from recycling to surpass those from
mining in roughly five to 10 years. But primary metal sources must be
supplemented with recycled material sources, a business that is in its infancy
as the stream of disused batteries is yet to reach critical mass.
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