$2.2bn deal adds to Japanese consolidation in energy storage

Japanese chemicals firm Asahi Kasei has agreed to buy the energy storage segment of US membrane specialist Polypore for $2.2 billion (£1.4 billion). US conglomerate 3M will take on Polypore’s filtration membrane business for a further $1 billion.

The deal gives Asahi Kasei access to Polypore’s portfolio of membranes for separating the electrodes in lead–acid and lithium ion batteries. The company cites growing demand for electric vehicles and the need to store renewable energy in its justification of the acquisition.

Chemicals giant BASF has also identified battery materials as a ‘key growth field for the future’. The firm has created a joint venture with Japan’s Toda Kogyo to develop cathode materials for lithium ion batteries, focusing initially on nickel cobalt aluminium oxide; lithium manganese oxide and nickel cobalt manganese.