Johnson Matthey (JM), the UK-based speciality chemicals company, said it is building a demonstration scale plant at its existing site in Lancashire to make next generation battery materials to power electric vehicles.
JM said the new multi-million pound plant in Clitheroe will have a capacity of 1,000 tonnes per annum and will be used to provide sample quantities of its enhanced lithium nickel oxide (eLNO) material.
The company said the demonstration plant is “an important step in the commercialisation of eLNO to support the qualification process with our customers and enable JM to build its market presence in next generation battery materials”.
Nickel is a key component of eLNO and our Clitheroe operations have extensive experience in the scale up and manufacture of nickel-containing products, JM said.
CEO Robert MacLeod (pictured) said: “This investment is an exciting step in the commercialisation of our eLNO technology and our strategy to deliver break out growth in battery materials.”
Work is also under way on the design of JM’s first full-scale commercial manufacturing plant for eLNO.
The company has so far declined to identify a site for the full-scale facility, other than to say it say where the plant will be built— other than it “will be located in Europe”.
JM unveiled plans in 2016 to license five patents towards speeding up the adoption of NMC cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries. JM said the deal with US firm 3M would allow it to focus on providing a bigger portfolio of cathode materials for the automotive and high performance markets.
The deal followed JM’s acquisition in 2015 of Switzerland-based Clariant’s lithium-ion battery materials energy storage business.