Süd-Chemie and LG Chem to establish joint venture to manufacture Lithium Iron Phosphate for Li-ion batteries; other advanced olivine structures in the plan
Süd-Chemie AG and LG Chem, Ltd. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a joint venture for high-volume production of superior quality Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP); LFP is a cost-effective, safe and eco-friendly cathode material for use in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Süd-Chemie, a member of the LFP licensing alliance established earlier this year with Hydro-Québec, Université de Montréal and CNRS (earlier post) and with several years of experience in manufacturing and marketing LFP, expects to experience synergistic effects by creating a joint venture with LG, a leading lithium-ion battery producer. (LG Chem supplies the Li-ion cells for the Chevy Volt, for example.)
The joint venture will lay the foundation for reliable sources of LFP with regard to the rapidly growing use of lithium-ion batteries for on-site energy storage and for electric and hybrid automobile drives. The joint venture will predominantly provide stable supplies of LFP to LG Chem, and also provide global leading battery company as a customer to Süd-Chemie.
The partners said their mutual objective is to improve LFP by combining process technology of LG Chem and manufacturing technology of Süd-Chemie, which fosters the growth of the market for lithium-ion batteries and the use of LFP especially for applications demanding very long life. At later stage, the joint development of other advanced olivine structure materials such as Lithium Manganese Iron Phosphate (LFMP) is also in plan. LFMP cathode materials allow for batteries with higher energy density while maintaining the advantages of LFP.
This joint venture with Süd-Chemie is very meaningful to LG Chem in the way that it enables us to have strong competitiveness in the field of rapidly growing high capacity lithium-ion battery for Energy Storage System (ESS) and in vehicle applications. It is possible to manufacture high performance as well as cost effective product by combining unique technologies and manufacturing know-how of both companies.—Peter Bahnsuk Kim, Vice Chairman and CEO of LG Chem
LFP is a innovative cathode material that, due to its high performance and unsurpassed safety profile, has a great deal of potential for use in next-generation lithium ion batteries. LFP material was discovered at the University of Texas in Austin in 1995 and licensed to Hydro-Québec. When LFP material is coated with a thin layer of carbon, its conductivity is enhanced allowing LFP’s unique performances. Such layer must be thin enough in order to permit lithium to pass through. These inventions were protected through the LFP carbon coating patents and the LFP carbon coating process patents co-owned by Hydro-Québec, Canada, Université de Montréal, Canada, and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France.
In October, A123 Systems, Hydro Québec, and the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, on behalf of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) settled their patent disputes regarding lithium metal phosphate technologies, entering into a Settlement Agreement and related Patent Sublicense Agreement that will resolve the existing litigations and create licenses going forward. All litigations will be dismissed and a license under these patents will be granted to A123, as agreed by the parties, under the settlement. (Earlier post.)