New multi-million-pound plant to manufacture battery materials for EVs

Posted on 4 Jul 2018 by Jonny Williamson

Johnson Matthey, a British multinational speciality chemicals and sustainable technologies company, is building a demonstration scale plant in Clitheroe, UK to manufacture next generation battery materials to power electric vehicles.

The new demonstration plant is reportedly an important step in the commercialisation of eLNO – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The new, multi-million-pound plant will have a capacity of 1,000 tonnes per annum and will be used to provide sample quantities of the eLNO battery material to the company’s global customers.

The demonstration plant is reportedly an important step in the commercialisation of eLNO to support the qualification process with Johnson Matthey’s (JM) customers and enable the company to build its market presence in next generation battery materials.

JM has used its breadth of scientific expertise to rapidly develop eLNO and this new product is already generating positive feedback from customers during testing.

It is designed to enable large scale adoption of pure battery electric vehicles with greater range and lifetime.

JM has chosen its existing site at Clitheroe to locate the new plant. Nickel is a key component of eLNO and the Clitheroe operations have extensive experience in the scale up and manufacture of nickel-containing products.

A spokesperson from Johnson Matthey told The Manufacturer: “We’re not able to comment on the future of battery manufacturing in the UK, nor on how many jobs will be created.

“The demonstration plant is being built to scale-up the process technology, and manufacture volumes of eLNO to support automotive OEM and cell manufacture qualification.”

Robert MacLeod, chief executive of Johnson Matthey, 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.

“The demonstration plant at Clitheroe will enable us to support customers’ development programmes and build our market presence.

“JM already makes a significant contribution to cleaner air around the world; we’re now applying our world class science to next generation battery materials, enabling the journey to pollution-free roads.”

Work is also underway on the design of JM’s first full scale commercial manufacturing plant for eLNO.  This will be located in mainland Europe and is due to start production in 2021/22.