UK-based Johnson Matthey (JM) is ramping up investment in developing its “ultra-high energy” battery cathode material and plans to open customer application testing centres in the UK and Japan.
JM said it has made “significant progress” in commercialising its enhanced lithium nickel oxide (eLNO) material— and has signed its first long-term supply agreement for raw materials with Canada’s Nemaska Lithium.
And on Brexit, the company said it was “comfortable” that its contingency planning “will be effective should the UK withdraw from the European Union without a deal”.
JM said in preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2019 that capital expenditure for 2019-20 is expected to be up to £500 million (US$630m) in key projects including the testing and commercialisation of eLNO.
“We continue to test our materials with our target customers,” JM said. “We are constructing three customer application centres— two in the UK and one in Japan. One of the UK centres will be completed in 2019 and the remaining two centres will be completed in 2020.”
Meanwhile, JM said its new commercial eLNO plant under development at Konin in Poland, about 200 kilometres west of Warsaw, “has the potential for expansion to 100,000 metric tonnes (MT) and we are carefully planning how we scale beyond our initial 10,000MT”.
JM said eLNO is a “portfolio of leading ultra-high energy density materials that will compete with future materials such as NMC 811”. According to the company, eLNO will suit a range of applications in electric vehicles “and, in particular, enable greater adoption of long-range, pure battery EVs”.