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Johnson Matthey refocusing its LFP business to support eLNO battery materials

Johnson Matthey’s Alternative Powertrain business provides battery systems for a range of applications, fuel cell technologies and battery materials for automotive applications. Its Battery Materials business comprises lithium iron phosphate (LFP) materials as well as eLNO—a portfolio of leading ultra-high energy density materials.

For the fiscal year ending 31 March, sales grew 16%, with continued momentum in Fuel Cells and Battery Systems for e-bikes.

Johnson Matthey said it is making significant progress with the development and commercialization of its portfolio of eLNO materials, which will compete with future ultra-high energy density materials such as NMC 811. Feedback from testing with customers remains positive, the company reported, specifically other ability to provide tailored solutions.

The company said it is focusing its science and innovative solutions on cathode materials that are market leading—principally eLNO and higher performing lithium iron phosphate (LFP). Sales of LFP grades for lower performance requirements declined in the year. JM is now refocusing the LFP business to the high value segment, exiting the much larger lower value segment of the market, to better support our eLNO customers and the development of this business.

These changes gave rise to an impairment charge of £57 million in the year, taken outside of underlying operating profit.

Also during the past fiscal year, JM moved to full cell testing with four customers—two global automotive OEMs and two non-automotive customers. Alongside this full cell testing, it continues to work with a number of automotive OEMs and cell manufacturers in the validation phase.

Sales in Fuel Cells grew 23% to £33 million during the fiscal year. JM fuel cells are now powering several hundred commercial vehicles and buses in China. The company continues to invest in line with market demand and has committed around £15 million (US$19 million) to double its capacity in the UK and China.

Comments

Lad

LFP is a good replacement for lead acid batteries in everyday use, i.e., starter batteries, gate openers, EV 12 volt auxiliary power, etc. The pricing is still expensive for wide adoption; but, many predict this will change as lead continues to increase and LFP reduces production costs.

zorg

Purchase Clariant LFP in Canada and A123 LFP in China businesses for combine US$100 millions in 2014 (£60 millions), so with impairment charge of £57 million almost wipe out value.

SJC_1

Lithium iron phosphate are becoming more energy dense
without using cobalt.

gryf

New Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cathodes are more energy dense (no Cobalt or Nickel, both are expensive). China uses LFP in many autos and the Tesla Model 3 MIC (made in China) uses CATL LFP batteries.
LFP is significantly cheaper, lasts 4000 cycles, and could be made more energy using two more technologies: Soteria polymer electrode conductors and the the 24M semisolid electrodes. Soteria conductors use a non-conductive polymer substrate and eliminate 90% of the metal (aluminum and copper), reference:https://www.soteriabig.com/soteria-cell-architecture.html. The 24M technology is already used by several manufacturers including GPSC, Itochu Corporation, and Kyocera Group.

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