Pure Battery Technologies (PBT), an Australian specialist in cathode materials for use in electric car batteries, has received an investment from WIT InnoEnergy. The money will be used to finance the establishment of industrial mass production in Germany.
PBT’s first commercial plant in Hagen has already started operations. There, 10,000 tonnes of precursor cathode material based on nickel, manganese and cobalt are to be produced by the end of 2023, according to the company. PBT is aiming for a total global production of 250,000 tonnes by 2027.
This will require investments of 600 to 900 million euros. The current financing is significantly smaller, in the seven-figure range. However, EIT InnoEnergy’s support goes beyond the financial injection: among other things, EIT InnoEnergy helps PBT “by linking it with potential large-scale customers and investors from its partner network”.
PBT claims that the company’s patented processes can produce precursor cathode active material (pCAM) at low cost and with low emissions. These are the so-called SAL method (selective acid leaching) and the CL method (combined leaching), which are used in different phases of production.
According to PTB, the decisive difference to previous methods is that instead of separating the metal mixtures from each other in a time-consuming manner and using enormous amounts of chemicals, heat and pressure, and then recombining them in the required mixing ratio, PBT relies on chemical filtering. “For this purpose, small amounts of oxidising and reducing agents are used in only two process steps. This results in around 70 per cent lower CO2 emissions in pCAM production,” the company says. Converted to a VW ID.3 with a 58-kWh battery, this means a saving of around 750 kilograms of CO2 per car or battery, it said.
“The strategic partnership with EIT InnoEnergy is a real seal of approval for us,” says Björn Zikarsky, CEO of the PBT Group. “Our common goal is to produce the most sustainable and powerful batteries in Europe from our own capacities. PBT can make an important contribution to this. With our technology, we are closing an existing gap for a sustainable material cycle in the battery sector. Europe as a whole and Germany in particular are absolute focus markets for us.”
Christian Müller, CEO EIT InnoEnergy Germany, comments: “Just a few years ago, Europe seemed to be uncatchable in battery production compared to other regions of the world. The tide has turned. However, one of the biggest challenges we still face is our dependence on other regions of the world for critical precursors such as cathode material. PBT, with its resource-saving filter technology and production facility in Germany, is ideally positioned to become a key player in this growth market.”
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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