Dutch chemical giant Nouryon has started shipping a carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) polymer targeted specifically for the fast-growing lithium-ion battery market.
AkuPure is an ultra-high-purity CMC that improves the electrode coating process, making the battery more efficient by helping it to retain and deliver power more effectively. The development further expands the uses for CMC, a sustainable polymer that is derived from cellulose sources such as wood or cotton and is used as a thickener and binder.
“Customers in this market require ultrapure CMC – impurities can interfere with the performance of the battery or with production efficiency,” said Geert-Jan Beijering, Product Director at Nouryon. “AkuPure has a number of properties key to the battery production process, such as the speed at which it dissolves and its low level of insolubles. The possibility to frequently charge and discharge a battery without losing performance under various temperature conditions is what matters most to our customers in this segment,” he said.
“Our R&D team worked extremely hard to create a top-tier version of AkuPure, and this is the right time to bring this technology to market. Demand for lithium-ion batteries continues to rise, and as battery manufacturers struggle to find CMC that meet the stringent demands of the industry, we are introducing a more advanced solution,” said Larry Ryan, Executive Vice President and President of Performance Formulations and the Americas at Nouryon.
Nouryon is in the process of buying the €135m CMC business of JM Huber, which has R&D and a plant in Äänekoski, Finland. Around 240 employees from the business will transfer to Nouryon.
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approvals.