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Umicore enters AI platform agreement with Microsoft to accelerate and scale its battery materials technologies development

Rechargeable Battery Materials

Umicore has entered into an agreement with Microsoft to use artificial intelligence (AI) as a means to facilitate and accelerate its research in battery material technologies for electric vehicles, a key growth area for the Group. It will make Umicore a first-mover in applying an AI-based approach to support battery scientists in developing new battery materials, enabling their faster time-to-market and an even more cost efficient development process.

The Battery Materials AI platform will take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, extended with a multitude of unpublished, specific scientific AI Models. It will be operated in a Umicore proprietary environment with full IP securitization. Umicore will create a tailored AI environment that will analyze, synthesize and bring together decades of vast and complex data from Umicore’s proprietary battery materials research and development. It will furthermore combine Umicore’s data with external historical data and information on the latest technologies from various sources, including simulation models, experiments or images.

“Umicore is keen to maximize the vast battery technology know-how it has acquired since it began researching battery materials in the mid-1990s. With the support of Microsoft, Umicore will be the frontrunner in applying AI as a tool for our battery scientists to win time, efficiency and scale in our innovations while safeguarding our IP in this significant R&D area. It will help us fully leverage all compelling internal and external data, to formulate new materials smarter and remain at the forefront in understanding and pre-empting customer needs in this fast-growing market.”

Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore

Umicore has been using materials, process and data modeling for many years now as essential tools for product development. AI and machine learning have over the last years added another dimension and have already resulted in Umicore’s filing of the first AI-enabled patents in battery materials.

Umicore and Microsoft signed their agreement at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, with “Artificial Intelligence as a Driving Force for the Economy and Society” as one of the event’s key themes.

Umicore’s EV battery materials innovations and technologies serve the entry segment or small-sized cars, the mass segment mid-sized cars as well as the premium segment or life-style cars, with technologies ranging from NMC (nickel, manganese and cobalt) to HLM (high lithium manganese) and future solid-state and sodium-ion battery technologies. Click here to read more.