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Nano One to acquire Johnson Matthey Battery Materials Canada; JM takes stake in AEM electrolyzer pioneer Enapter

Battery materials company Nano One Materials has entered into a binding agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Johnson Matthey (JM) Battery Materials Ltd. (JMBM Canada) for approximately C$10.25 million (US$8 million). The acquisition is fully funded and is on a cash-free, debt-free basis and is subject to certain working capital adjustments.

In November 2021, Johnson Matthey decided to exit the battery materials business, and has been working since to find a buyer or multiple buyers for its related assets. (Earlier post, earlier post.)

JMBM Canada includes a team with more than 360 years of collective experience, including R&D, pilot to commercial scale cathode production and product qualification and quality assurance systems qualified for tier 1 automotive lithium-ion cell manufacturers.

JMBM Canada also includes a 2,400 tonne per annum capacity LFP production facility located in Candiac, Québec occupying approximately one tenth of the 400,000 square foot property.

The transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2022, subject to JMBM Canada fulfilling contractual commitments and certain other closing conditions.

The Candiac production facility was acquired by Johnson Matthey in 2015 and has been in operation since 2012. It is a supplier of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material to the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery sector for both automotive and non-automotive applications for a select group of customers.

Strategically located in Candiac, Québec, it has the benefit of access to a North American ecosystem which will serve the broader global community with cost-effective, resilient, and environmentally sustainable cathode materials.

Enapter. Separately, Johnson Matthey announced a strategic partnership with Enapter, a pioneer and commercial leader in Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolysis. AEM is a next-generation electrolyzer technology that promises to drive down the cost of green hydrogen towards a point where it becomes competitive with fossil fuels.

The partnership will include collaborating on the joint development of advanced components for Enapter’s AEM stacks. Specialized catalysts will also be supplied, recognising Johnson Matthey’s expertise in catalysis.

As part of the partnership, JM will invest €20 million (representing 4.31%) in Enapter.

Both companies are committed to supporting the transition to net zero by accelerating the development of AEM electrolysis. Enapter’s highly efficient standardised and modular AEM electrolysers allow green hydrogen production from kW to MW scale at lower associated costs for various applications, including electricity storage (residential and industrial), production of synthetic gas or methane (power-to-gas), mobility (hydrogen refuelling and e-fuels) and industrial use.

Johnson Matthey and Enapter will jointly investigate opportunities for the recycling of production scraps and components from end-of-life products, recognizing Johnson Matthey’s competitive advantage in offering closed-loop solutions.

Our ambition is to become the global leader in green hydrogen technologies and to diversify our technology base in this booming market, both in the electrolyzer and fuel cell markets. This strategic partnership is at the heart of our strategy as we focus our resources on growth areas targeted at climate change solutions.

—Liam Condon, CEO of Johnson Matthey



I'm just picking up on 'driving the cost of hydrogen from renewables down to the point of being cost competitive with fossil fuels.'

The unfortunate recent events mean that that point is pretty much now in much of the world, with the massive increase in fossil fuel costs.

Perhaps not in the US, but nearly everywhere else.

And even in the US drivers of FCEVs are benefitting against gas cars, although that is largely reliant on special deals.


The gotcha is that you can't build "renewables" without copious amounts of fossil fuel.  The steel in wind turbine towers is made with metallurgical coal, and both the graphite fibers and the resins in the blades come from petroleum.  The glass and polysilicon used to make PV panels are made with coal.  Their price is going to escalate too.  Then let's talk about the precious metal catalysts in almost all fuel cells and electrolyzers.

One recent hydrogen station in California opened with a pump price of $13.14/kg.  Even if your FCEV achieves 60 miles per kgH2, at $12/kg you're paying 20¢/mile just for fuel.  Even at California gasoline prices, a 30 MPG gasser costs about the same.  What really pays off in most of the USA is electric propulsion (either EV or PHEV).  At 20¢/kWh and 350 Wh/mile, you're paying only 7¢/mile for energy.

I suppose I'm lucky in that all of my away-from-home charging is gratis... for now.

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