Japanese chemical maker Asahi Kasei has developed technology that can make lithium-ion battery materials from carbon dioxide and aims to begin licensing it in fiscal 2023, Nikkei has learned.
The new technology – states a press release – removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than is generated during battery production, something that could give Asahi Kasei a competitive edge over other industry players.
Asahi Kasei’s breakthrough comes amid the global shift toward decarbonization. The European Union, in particular, is pushing ahead with efforts to decarbonize its economy and plans to ban imports of electric vehicle batteries deemed to have high emissions starting in 2027.
The Japanese chemical company’s new technology produces a solvent used in battery electrolyte and can absorb CO2 equivalent to 50% of the weight of the solvent produced. For example, when making 100,000 tons of solvent, 50,000 tons of CO2 can be absorbed.
Due to the simplicity of the manufacturing process, Asahi Kasei will also be able cut production costs by about 30%, versus current methods of making battery solvent. Much of this is made from fossil fuels at present and produced by Chinese companies.
Asahi Kasei plans to license its technology, which it hopes will generate around 20 billion to 30 billion yen ($149 million to $224 million) by the early 2030s. By fiscal 2025, the company aims to switch to plant-derived organic compounds for its solvent raw materials combined with CO2, further lowering emissions.