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Web Date: November 5, 2007

Germany Invests In Battery Technology

Evonik and BASF participate in government-backed lithium-ion battery initiative
Department: Government & Policy
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LITHIUM ION
Shown is a prototype battery that uses Evonik's Separion membrane to separate the anode and cathode.
Credit: Evonik
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LITHIUM ION
Shown is a prototype battery that uses Evonik's Separion membrane to separate the anode and cathode.
Credit: Evonik

Chemical makers Evonik Industries and BASF are joining other German companies in a German government-backed initiative to develop lithium-ion batteries and battery components.

Germany's Federal Ministry for Education & Research, known by the acronym BMBF, is providing $85 million in funding over three years for the project. The other participants are Volkswagen, industrial conglomerate Bosch, and Li-Tec, a maker of lithium battery components in which Evonik recently acquired a 20% interest.

Evonik predicts that the global market for lithium-ion batteries will approach $15 billion in the next decade. It expects that the market for raw materials used to fabricate these batteries will increase from about $2 billion annually today to more than $5 billion by 2015.

The lithium-ion batteries sold now are small and mostly used in laptops, cell phones, and camcorders. Makers of cars and other big devices have been hesitant to use large lithium-ion batteries for fear of overheating and other safety problems. According to Evonik, solutions to such problems can include novel battery components such as its Separion-brand membranes, used to separate the battery's anode and cathode.

Evonik says it already has created 100 jobs devoted to R&D of lithium-ion technology. "With BMBF as a strong partner, the topic of lithium-ion battery is gaining enormous importance again in Germany," says Alfred Oberholz, the Evonik board member responsible for chemicals R&D.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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