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Product, Technology & Licensing

BASF’s portfolio of application-specific cathode active materials supports lithium-ion batteries for electrified vehicles with high energy density, reliability and performance.

Our HED product family is a high-energy density cathode active material for lithium-ion batteries that is well-suited to the evolving requirements of batteries in automotive drivetrains. Its high degree of purity and excellent product characteristics are bolstered by BASF’s proven ability to jointly develop products with customers. Meanwhile, BASF has a worldwide license to produce and market lithium-ion battery materials from Argonne National laboratories (ANL)—the global leader in Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) technology.

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Products in our Portfolio

BASF’s cathode active materials product family is well-suited to the evolving requirements of batteries in automotive drivetrains. Its high degree of purity and excellent product characteristics are bolstered by BASF’s proven ability to jointly develop products with customers.

BASF’s HED portfolio of application-specific cathode active materials (CAM) supports lithium-ion batteries for electrified vehicles with high energy density, reliability and performance.

Meanwhile, BASF has a worldwide license to produce and market lithium-ion battery materials from Argonne National laboratories (ANL)—the global leader in Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) technology.

In April 2021, BASF and Umicore had entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a broad range of cathode active materials (CAM) and their precursors (PCAM), including chemistries such as nickel cobalt manganese (NCM), nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA), nickel cobalt manganese aluminum (NCMA) and lithium rich, high manganese high energy NCM (HE NCM). The agreement covers more than 100 patent families filed in Europe, US, China, Korea and Japan.

Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA)

NCA cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries have been commercially available for almost 20 years. BASF’s portfolio of advanced HED NCA products includes various grades (from 80mol% to >90mol% nickel), enabling high energy capacity and high energy density as well as improved chemical stability to match the requirements of batteries in automotive drivetrains. Leading manufacturers of electric vehicles have demonstrated successes with batteries using BASF’s NCA products.

BASF Catalysts | Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA)

Among BASF’s NCA product portfolio, high nickel NCA products are already a reality in automotive batteries today. BASF launched >90mol% nickel NCA grade in close collaboration with a leading battery maker. BASF’s e-mobility innovation roadmap calls for even higher nickel content with multi-element doping and coating technologies as well as process innovation to achieve even better battery performance and lower cost ($/kwh).

In 2017, BASF successfully tripled its NCA production capacity in Japan to meet increasing customer demands. BASF continues to expand its global NCA production and R&D footprint in collaboration with partners. As a market leader for NCA, BASF is prepared to embrace the trend toward high nickel CAM and meet the needs of the fast-growing global e-mobility market.

Nickel Cobalt Manganese Oxide (NCM)

BASF's portfolio of advanced HED NCM products for lithium-ion batteries includes various nickel compositions, ranging from the traditional NCM 111 mixture to nickel-rich content products, such as NCM 721 and NCM 811. They all include a variety of coating and doping options that can best meet customer application requirements for enhanced safety, prolonged life cycle, high energy capacity and density, as well as improved chemical stability.

To meet the fast-growing demand of cathode active materials driven by e-mobility, BASF has established a global cathode active materials R&D and production network, with existing NCM manufacturing assets in Japan, the U.S. and Europe which are under construction now.

BASF Catalysts | Nickel Cobalt Manganese Oxide (NCM)

Our R&D roadmap calls for continuous improvement in the development of high nickel CAM with outstanding $/kwh performance: >80mol% nickel materials with complex doping and coating strategies that can deliver high-capacity, long-life-cycle material for safe use in automotive applications. Moreover, BASF is working closely with OEMs and cell manufacturers on many innovative and tailor-made NCM products for automotive applications.

As a pioneer and market leader in cathode active materials, BASF is prepared for the growing global e-mobility demand for nickel-rich cathode active materials.

Beyond the HED NCM family, BASF is one of the licensed suppliers of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory for patented NCM cathode active materials, which employs a unique combination of lithium and manganese-rich mixed metal oxides. The license covers the broadest scope of NCM chemistry, which can be used in today's lithium-ion batteries.

BASF and the Argonne National Laboratory in 2010 received a "Deals of Distinction" Award for this worldwide agreement. The award, granted by the Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada), Inc., acknowledged this agreement's significant potential to improve the environment and provide economic growth.

Customized Solutions

We offer one of the broadest CAM portfolios in the industry to meet our customers’ specific needs of today and tomorrow.

Battery images stacked

HED products

  • High-energy density NCA and NCM cathode materials
  • Ni content ranging from 60% to >90%

Next generation high-Ni

  • Ultra-high Ni CAM, ≥220 Ah/kg, Ni >90%, Co <<5%
  • Up to stabilized LNO

Co-free CAM

  • Ni-rich NMX
  • Over-lithiated manganese-rich, like NCM-307

Beyond classical LiB

  • Research next generation systems
  • CAM for lithium-metal based anodes and Solid-state batteries (SSB)

R&D Pipeline

In addition to optimizing cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries as part of our existing portfolio, BASF is also researching next generation battery materials and systems, and augments in in-house research efforts by collaborating with leading scientists, start-ups and universities around the globe. Digitalization plays a major role in BASF’s battery materials research as key enabler to accelerate our research.

Next generation battery materials containing less or no cobalt

BASF Catalysts | Research on All-Solid-State Batteries

Cathode active materials with a low cobalt content or no cobalt represent a promising class in our portfolio as it helps reducing the cost of the battery and contributes to our sustainability goals. Over the past months, we made significant progress in our research in terms of competitive cycle stability and strong thermal safety characteristics. We currently finetune our material together with our partners. We are looking forward that our material will be included in the next-generation automotive platform at our customers.

Next generation battery systems

BASF Catalysts | Research in Labs

In addition to cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries, we are working on components for next-generation batteries, such as all-solid-state batteries. While conventional lithium-ion batteries contain a liquid electrolyte that conducts the lithium ions between the anode and cathode, in a solid-state battery this job is usually done by an inorganic lithium-ion-conducting solid. The battery's higher thermal stability also allows it to be used at elevated temperatures – a big advantage for car manufacturers. Beside the cathode, also the anode is part of our research interest. Together with Sion Power, a Tucson, Arizona-based battery technology and engineering company, we are engaged in the development of high-energy lithium-metal anodes, like Licerion®. Learn more about Sion Power and Licerion® here.

Digitalization as key enabler

BASF Catalysts | Electrochemical Testing

Digitalization is fundamentally changing the way we do research. It allows us to work together efficiently as one global team and provides unique insights into the chemistry of cathode active materials. By the means of data science and simulations, leveraging BASF’s supercomputer QURIOSITY, we can replace expensive and long-lasting experiments. Further, we gain a deeper understanding of the correlations between synthesis conditions, material properties and performance which is crucial to design better products and production processes.

Benefit from a broad academic network

BASF Catalysts | BELLA Members in Lab

As part of our scientific network on electrochemistry and batteries, we are also involved in the development of novel and improved materials through our collaboration with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the jointly funded Battery and Electrochemistry Laboratory (BELLA). BELLA combines fundamental work with application-driven projects on materials and cell components for next-generation batteries. Click here to learn more.

Together with academic institutions and other private partners, we are also engaged in numerous research projects that are partly publicly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research as well as the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and implements these jointly.


Cross Licensing

Building on each other’s strong product technology expertise to support the technological needs of their customers, BASF and Umicore have entered into a landmark non-exclusive patent agreement allowing both partners to combine a wider range of IP-protected technologies related to features such as chemical composition, powder morphology and chemical stability.

The agreement covers more than 100 patent families of cathode active materials (CAM) and their precursors (PCAM), filed in Europe, US, China, Korea and Japan, including chemistries such as nickel cobalt manganese (NCM), nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA), nickel cobalt manganese aluminum (NCMA), LCO and lithium rich, high manganese high energy NCM (HE NCM).

The agreement increases both parties’ ability to customize their materials to meet the increasingly diversified and complex customer requirements at the battery cell and application level.


BASF is the only licensee of ANL’s prominent NCM cathode active materials patents with the ability to grant sub-licenses. We are pursuing a sub-licensing strategy to other industry players so that NCM customers can be able to continue their business with the full respect to intellectual property and technology innovation, and end-users can benefit from this innovation. Customers may continue to use existing product platforms unimpeded through the supply from licensed suppliers.

Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) Licensees Available:

ANL NCM (user) Licensees:

  • General Motors
  • LG Chem

ANL NCM (material) Sub-Licensees:

  • Umicore
  • Pulead
  • Hunan Changyuan Lico Co., Ltd
  • Hunan Reshine
  • L&F
  • Ningbo Ronbay
  • Brunp Recycling
  • Ecopro
  • LG Chem
  • XTC New Energy Materials (Xiamen) Ltd.
  • POSCO ES Materials
  • Beijing Easpring Material Technology
  • Guizhou Zhenhua E-Chem
  • GEM Co., LTD.

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery

As the inventor of the Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) battery, we created a leading patent portfolio and continue to develop state-of-the-art technology. BASF, through its affiliate Ovonic Battery Company, Inc., has established licensing agreements and other strategic alliances with major companies around the world. The following is a partial list of the companies licensed under our enabling proprietary NiMH battery technology and lithium-ion cathode materials and manufacturing process agreements.


  • ARTS Energy
  • Canon
  • Cobasys
  • Daido Steel
  • Energizer
  • FDK Corporation
  • Furukawa
  • Gold Peak Batteries
  • GS-Yuasa
  • Guangzhou Great Power Energy & Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Harding Energy
  • Henan Huan Yu Group Co. Ltd.
  • Hitachi Maxell
  • Hyundai
  • J&Y Technologies
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries
  • Lexel
  • McNair
  • Nan Ya Plastic
  • Panasonic – PEVE
  • Rare Earth Ovonic
  • Saft
  • Samsung
  • Sanoh
  • Sanyo Electric Co.
  • Shenzhen EPT Battery Co., Ltd.
  • Shenzhen GREPOW Battery Co., Ltd.
  • Shenzhen High Power Tech Co.
  • Sovlux Battery
  • TMK
  • Toshiba Battery
  • TWD Battery
  • Union Suppo Battery Company
  • Varta Microbattery
  • Walsin
  • Yi Yang Corun Battery Co. Ltd

BASF licensees, through its affiliate Ovonic Battery Company, Inc., receive a certificate of good standing which distinguishes them as an authorized manufacturer of NiMH.

Precursors for cathode active materials

The patents available for license include Ni containing mixed metal hydroxide, which can also be the cathode active material for NiMH batteries.


  • Freeport Cobalt