The chemicals giant Johnson Matthey will be making an initial investment of £200 million into battery materials investment in 2018, with the plan being to build up production capacity in anticipation of the rapid growth of the electric vehicle market. The company is reportedly expecting that by the time electric vehicle (EV) market penetration reaches around 10%, the potential market of its products could total more than $30 billion.
This was revealed at the company’s recent Capital Markets Day, where it was also revealed that Johnson Matthey is expecting strong growth in clean air markets to continue for the next 2–3 years. That is to say, exhaust treatment solutions will remain a lucrative sector for the time being. The company is apparently expecting growth to slow after that point, though, as the result of a shift away from light-duty diesel vehicles in Europe.
Green Car Congress provides more: “In his presentation, Dr Alan Nelson, Sector Chief Executive, New Markets and Group CTO, said that Johnson Matthey was working on three new market opportunities: alternative powertrains, life science technologies, and medical device components. Of those, battery materials to support alternative powertrains represent the most developed opportunity, he said. Johnson Matthey first entered the Li-ion battery market in 2012.
“Nelson said that the £200-million investment in high-energy battery materials was intended to manufacture up to 10,000 metric tons from FY2021–2022. The company expects to be on automotive platforms from that same time frame. Johnson Matthey is focusing on a broad portfolio of cathode materials to support a range of electrified vehicle applications. The company is focused on material cost, energy density, and countering the deactivation of chemistries.”
As it stands, the company owns battery materials IP that encompasses NMC, LFP, and LNO. The company seems to be particularly focused on the development of eLNO, which according to those involved provides much higher energy density as compared to various other commonly used materials (various NMCs, etc.).