The acquisition comprises the technologies and products for enhancing battery performance that Merck has developed, patented and brought to market. The assets include a line of finished electrolyte formulations, marketed under the Selectilyte brand. Also included is a number of additives for electrolytes used to produce lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Also covered by the transaction is Merck's portfolio of novel electrolytes and additives.
According to BASF Research Director Andreas Kreimeyer, the move enhances the company's expertise for automotive and battery manufacturers around the world. "The electrolyte portfolio developed by Merck and their established market channels will provide additional impetus to our efforts to develop into a reliable supplier of electrolyte formulations, offering innovative and customized solutions for battery manufacturers".
Electrolytes are a key factor for the production of high-performance lithium-ion batteries required to enhance driving range and endurance of electric vehicles. BASF has announced earlier the formation of a global electrolytes team to develop and market electrolyte formulations for traction batteries. This team will be integrated into BASF's new Battery Materials unit in the course of 2012, the company said.
Over the next five years, BASF plans to invest a three-digit million euro sum in R&D for advanced battery materials. Besides lithium-ion batteries, the company also gets granular on lithium-sulfur and lithium-air batteries. Both technologies are regarded as a promising and more powerful alternative to lithium-ion, but the associated research is still in an earlier stage.