BASF is to start a new battery materials production site in Schwarzheide, Germany, as part of its multi-step investment plan to support the European electric vehicle value chain.

The plant will produce cathode active materials (CAM) with an initial capacity enabling the supply of around 400,000 full electric vehicles per year with BASF battery materials.

The Schwarzheide plant's modular design and infrastructure allows for rapid scale-up of manufacturing capacities enabling BASF to meet increasing customer demand for the European EV market. The plant in Schwarzheide will use precursors (PCAM) from BASF's previously announced plant in Harjavalta, Finland. Start-up of the two plants is planned for 2022.

"The plants in Finland and Germany will offer our customers reliable access to tailored, high-nickel cathode active materials in proximity to their European manufacturing facilities," said BASF Catalysts division president, Peter Schuhmacher.

"With these investments in Finland and Germany, BASF will be the first CAM supplier with local production capacities in today's three major markets; Asia, the US and Europe. BASF will become the supplier with a sustainable and European-based supply chain, which will comprise base metal supply, particularly nickel and cobalt, precursor production, and cathode material production within one region."

The site in Schwarzheide uses a gas and steam turbine power plant, which operates on the principle of combined heat and power generation. It is currently being modernised.

Until the battery materials plant is commissioned, the integration of renewable energies is also planned. The Harjavalta plant will utilise renewable energy resources, including hydro, wind and biomass-based power.

The investments in Harjavalta, Finland and Schwarzheide, Germany, reinforce BASF's support of the European Commission's (EC) agenda towards a European battery production value chain and are part of the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI), approved by the EC on 9 December, 2019, through European Union State aid rules.