Dow Lithium-Ion Electrolyte Venture May Meet Half of Demand

Dow Chemical Co. (DOW), the largest U.S. chemical maker, said it formed a joint venture that will produce enough electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries to meet about half of current demand.

Advanced Electrolyte Technologies, a 50-50 venture with Japan’s Ube Industries Ltd., will next year open a factory in Midland, Michigan, where Dow is based, the companies said today in a statement. The plant will produce 5,000 tons to 10,000 tons a year of formulated electrolytes, the conductive material in advanced batteries, for a global market estimated at 15,000 to 20,000 tons, said Gregory Baldwin, a Dow spokesman.

Lithium-ion battery demand will triple by 2020 to $74 billion on rising demand from electric-vehicle makers and utilities, Baldwin said. The market for electrolytes will expand to $1.2 billion in that period, he said. The venture may build plants of a similar size in Europe and China in the next five years, Baldwin said.

Dow already makes materials for battery separators, anodes and cathodes. Its Dow Kokam venture in Midland broke ground on a lithium-ion battery plant last year.

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