Optibor BQ: Empowering Better Batteries

:: Monday, March 13, 2023 :: Posted By Allen Zheng

When it comes to batteries, purity is paramount. Sourcing high quality raw materials—free of contaminants—is critical to safer, longer-lasting products.

As lithium-ion battery use expands rapidly, producers are searching for pure materials to boost performance.

That’s led to more interest in multifunctional additives such as boron compounds in batteries. Recent research has shown that borates impart multiple benefits including:

  • Improved battery life and performance
  • More efficient manufacturing
  • Better lifecycle management

Because batteries involve several materials, a careful balance of the right particle size distribution and purity must be met to maintain chemical consistency and reduce the risk of harmful contaminants.

Recognizing these market needs, we leveraged the expertise of our team and our unique refinement capabilities to develop a new battery-quality borate for use across key battery components. Meet Optibor® BQ.

What is Optibor BQ?

For decades, we’ve produced boric acid in a range of technical grades for numerous industrial applications. Optibor BQ (short for “battery quality”) is a highly pure, powder-grade orthoboric acid (H3BO3), specifically designed for use in batteries and capacitors.

Optibor BQ features a very fine particle size distribution, which supports the precision necessary for modern battery applications.


Boric acid’s purity directly impacts performance and safety. Because Optibor BQ is subjected to extra refinement, you can:

  • Improve thermal stability
  • Achieve better cycling
  • Reduce out-of-specification risks

By minimizing contaminants in your process with Optibor BQ, you can not only ensure a longer battery lifespan, but also improve your manufacturing efficiency.

Optibor BQ’s high level of purity and fine PSD also eliminates the need for further milling, a sensitive process that may introduce contaminants.

How can you use Optibor BQ?

Optibor BQ is a multifunctional battery additive. Like other grades of Optibor, it can be used in:

  • Electrolyte solutions
  • Electrodes
  • Anodes
  • Cathodes
  • Chemical feedstock to product boron compounds (boron nitride and boron-based polyanions)

The graphitization process can also benefit from borates’ ability to positively impact energy density, cycle life, and rate capability. Even a small boron concentration can save energy in battery manufacturing by lowering the treatment temperature required for graphitization.

Cathode Active Materials (CAM)

One major application of Optibor BQ is the CAM production process, where it can be applied directly as a minor additive or processing aid. Using boron in cathode materials can improve the cycling performance and battery lifespan .

Developing Optibor BQ

Reaching the level of purity and very fine particle size distribution found in Optibor BQ poses unique challenges. It requires special skill and a facility capable of meeting extraordinary quality standards.

Aerial view of the U.S. Borax Coudekerque facility

For decades, our Coudekerque facility has produced specialty borates to help highly-regulated industries—such as nuclear power and pharmaceuticals—conform to rigorous quality standards. The specialized purification capability this site has makes it easier to tailor products based on customer needs.

Coudekerque has unmatched cleanliness standards and closely monitored process settings.

Plus, Couderkeque is located near many European electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, a growing sector that needs high-quality boron compounds for vehicle batteries.

From a personnel standpoint, our production and quality experts were well-equipped meet this challenge. They applied their extensive knowledge, designing a purification and attribution process to manufacture a product with exceptional purity, fine granulometry, and chemical consistency.

Coudekerque employee in quality control

Is Optibor BQ right for my use?

Precision matters when it comes to battery and capacitor materials. Battery applications are projected to keep growing and those who invest in better materials will stay ahead of competitors.

To meet your specific process needs, we offer a range of PSD and purity options in our Optibor product line, including Optibor BQ for those requiring a special level of quality.

Please contact our technical team for help choosing the right product for your needs. We can address any quality concerns, packaging requirements, and PSD needs you have.

For more information on how boron improves battery performance, safety, and durability, see our recent peer-reviewed research.



U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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