The production of cathode active materials (CAM), which are used in lithium batteries, will increase at BASF Toda Battery Materials (BTBM), a joint venture between Germany’s BASF and Japan’s Toda Kogyo. The expansion will start in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the additional production capacity will start operating in the second half of 2024, according to Toda.

In 2015, BTBM established a plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwest Japan, for research and manufacturing of nickel-cobalt-aluminum and nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode materials for lithium ternary batteries, with BASF and Toda owning 66 percent and 34 percent of the company, respectively.

According to Toda president Shigeru Takaragi, the expansion is necessary to meet the rapidly increasing demand for lithium batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and to enhance supply of high-nickel CAM for battery manufacturers in Japan. According to Takaragi, the expansion is one of the METI’s (Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry) programs aimed at encouraging local supply chain makers to invest, making it eligible for METI funding.

By 2025, BTBM’s capacity to produce CAM annually will expand to 6.0 metric tons, which will be sufficient to supply EV-use power batteries with a 45GWh capacity.

According to METI, BTBM will account for 14% of the world’s supply of nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode material in 2020, placing it third after Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining and South Korea’s EcoPro.

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