Umicore plans to increase its capacity for NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) cathode materials to meet a surge in demand for materials used in hybrid and electric vehicles.

The expansion program will involvea €160 million investment over three years in the company's existing facilities in Cheonan (South Korea) and Jiangmen (China), as well as greenfield investments on adjacent land in both locations. The new capacity should start coming on stream in the second part of 2017.  

Vehicle electrification is being driven by the need to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality, and in many regions this is being supported by emission legislation. The number of electrified vehicle models being launched has been increasing in recent months and the penetration of these vehicles, ranging from mild hybrid cars to full electric models, is projected to grow at an increasingly fast pace, the company says. There is also a trend towards electrification of vehicles used for public transportation such as electric buses. Umicore's NMC cathode materials are can help improve battery technology to increase driving range and reduce the total cost of electrified vehicle ownership.

This story is reprinted from material from Umicore, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.