Mitsui Engineering and Toda Kogyo form JV for production of lithium iron phosphate for Li-ion batteries
Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (MES) and Toda Kogyo Corp. are jointly building a facility at the Chiba Works of MES for commercial production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) with a capacity is 2,100 tons/year for Li-ion battery (LIB) cathode materials. The new facility for LFP production will start its operation in fiscal year 2012.
The companies jointly established “M&T Olivine Co., Ltd.” (51% MES and 49% Toda) in June with capital of ¥100 million (US$1.3 million) for a feasibility study on the commercialization of LFP and now are increasing its capital to get the company into production.
LFP is a safe and secure cathode material compared to other candidates because of its stable crystalline structure. The LFP-loaded LIB is expected to disseminate widely for use in Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Electric Vehicles (EVs), as in residential and commercial building power supplies, and for smart grid and for load-leveling applications.
MES, after research & development using a pilot plant built in 2009, constructed a semi-commercial plant with production capacity of 36 tons/year to further improve the quality of products and to demonstrate a mass production. In July, MES made patent sublicense agreement with LiFePO4+C Licensing AG (Switzerland) to promote production and sales of LFP worldwide.
Toda, meanwhile, has a body of experience in the R&D and manufacture of cathode materials including LFP, and has commercialized LMO (lithium manganese oxide), LNCA (lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide), and LNCM (lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide). (Earlier post.)