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Albemarle opens battery materials innovation center in North Carolina

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(Kitco News) - Albemarle (NYSE: ALB), a leader in the global specialty chemicals industry and the only U.S.-based producer of lithium metal anodes, announced today the opening of the company's Battery Materials Innovation Center (BMIC) located at its Kings Mountain, North Carolina, site.

Albemarle expects that BMIC to be fully operational in July 2021 and will support the company's lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and advanced energy storage materials growth platforms.

The company said that it has been equipped to enable synthesis of new materials, material properties characterization and analysis, material scale-up capabilities, and material integration into battery cells for performance testing.

The facility includes a dry room with a multi-layer pouch cell line that can create cell-phone sized batteries to demonstrate critical aspects of battery performance and accelerate transition of new products to customers.

Additionally, the company said that the lab will also develop lithium metal anode technologies that will increase battery energy density by utilizing advanced lithium metal rolling to achieve lithium foils 20 microns thin – about one-fifth the average thickness of a human hair – or thinner. The team plans to demonstrate lithium foils as thin as 3 to 5 microns using new technologies currently being developed.

Albemarle, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine, and refining catalysts.

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