Johnson Matthey and 3M have entered into a patent license agreement that aims to expand the use of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries. 3M has granted Johnson Matthey a license to several of its NMC-related technologies.
Cathodes composed of nickel, manganese and cobalt offer a balance of power, energy, thermal stability and cost, making them suitable for a wide range of automotive applications.
Patents on NMC date back to 2000, when Argonne National Laboratory filed the first one, based on the work of Dr. Michael Thackeray. Shortly thereafter, 3M filed a patent based on research by Dr. Jeff Dahn at Dalhousie University. In 2014, the US Patent and Trademark Office confirmed the novelty of NMC patents for both Argonne and 3M. However, competing patent claims have led to high-stakes court battles, bringing intrigue and excitement to the normally staid world of battery research.
“The rapid growth of the electric vehicle market is driving the need for NMC-based cathode materials globally, and especially in China,” said Christian Milker, Global Business Manager of 3M’s Electronics Materials Solutions Division. “Johnson Matthey is well-positioned to supply lithium-ion battery customers in this dynamic environment.”