Epsilon Advanced Materials (EAM) completed the acquisition of Johnson Matthey’s (JM’s) LFP cathode pilot and R&D plant in Moosburg, Germany on the 2nd February 2024.
EAM has shown considerable intent to make its mark on the mid-stream of the lithium-ion battery supply chain through major investments both domestic and overseas. EAM previously announced a INR9,000crore (US$1.084B) investment for a synthetic anode facility in Bellari, Karnataka, India and a US$650M investment for a synthetic anode project in Brunswick County, North Carolina, USA. The materials major is also planning another anode production facility in Vaasa, Finland to expand its reach into the European anode active material market.
Now, this move to take over JM’s LFP pilot and R&D line is the next iteration of EAM’s plans to scale up cathode operations, where it will aim to accelerate LFP cathode projects by using existing expertise from a company that has extensive knowledge of LFP production. Further announcements for LFP cathode investment are expected from EAM, although bringing production volumes to market will take considerable time due to the complexity of such projects.
China has held a stronghold on the LFP market for some time due to production patents, leading to a wealth of knowledge and considerable production capability. Since these patents expired in 2022, many companies having been looking towards potentially lucrative LFP production in western markets to satisfy strong demand for the chemistry and also to meet domestic production expectations. However, going up against China’s low-cost and high availability approach to LFP cathode material will still be a significant challenge, despite favourability for domestically-produced material.