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 — ultra-high energy density low cobalt cathode battery material, GreenCarCongress reports.

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.

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