Evonik is investing a mid-double-digit million euro sum in the expansion of production facilities for fumed aluminium oxide at itssite in . The material will be used in extremely thin coatings for separator foils in batteries.
It will be the German chemical company’s first alumina plant in Asia, geared toward producing speciality solutions for lithium-ion battery technologies for electric vehicles. According to the press release, construction will begin in the summer of 2023 and operations in 2025. It will also create additional jobs. However, Evonik does not mention the exact number of jobs or the planned investment amount. The amount of Japanese government subsidy is not disclosed either.
The product that Evonik plans to produce in Japan is called “Aeroxide,” is an aluminium oxide for ultra-thin coatings of separators in lithium-ion batteries. According to the chemical company, the material is designed to increase safety and improve the range and charging performance of electric cars.
“We focus on providing our lithium-ion battery customers access to an improved performance and next level of safety properties,” says Emmanuel Auer, Head of Business Line Silica. “The solution provides more durable operation and contributes to higher energy density.”
Evonik has operated the site for over 50 years as a joint venture with Mitsubishi Materials Corporation. The Yokkaichi plant specialises in producing pyrogenic metal oxides, soon to include aluminium. Evonik chose the site for its aluminium oxide production because of its history and favourable logistic to Japan, China and Korea.
Evonik is thus strengthening its EV battery business. The company recently invested in Chinese battery specialist SuperC, which developed an innovative process to produce few-layer graphene and, in turn, pastes for electrodes in lithium-ion batteries.