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Nippon Shokubai to construct new battery-electrolyte manufacturing plant

| By Mary Bailey

Nippon Shokubai Ltd. (Osaka, Japan) has begun the facility design for an enhanced production plant for the electrolyte lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl) imide (LiFSI; marketed under the name Ionel) for lithium-ion batteries.

The company has assembled the Ionel Construction Team in order to construct new manufacturing facilities with an annual production capacity of 2,000 tons located at the company’s subsidiary Nisshoku Techno Fine Chemical Co., Ltd., using its own process. The company’s current production capacity for LiFSI of 300 tons/yr is insufficient for the increasing battery demand for the electric vehicles (EV) market, which has been steadily expanding.

The use of Ionel as the electrolyte of lithium-ion batteries for EV significantly improves the cycle characteristics, rate characteristics, and storage stability of batteries over a wide temperature range from low to high temperatures. As a result, Ionel is used not only as an additive in electrolytes but also as a main salt in electrolytes, and demand for Ionel is expanding, mainly in Asia. Demand for Ionel is also expected to expand .as it improves the performance of next-generation innovative batteries. such as solid-state batteries.

LiFSI is difficult to achieve high purity, and its production and quality control require a high level of expertise. Nippon Shokubai has established a technology to stably produce 2,000 tons of LiFSI per year by utilizing its unique production technology. Ionel is a patented high-purity LiFSI.

Commercial production of new the production facilities is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023. As the LiFSI market is expected to expand globally, Nippon Shokubai is also considering new capital investment plans in Europe to meet demand after 2025.