Nano One Materials Corp [TSX:NANO], the clean technology innovator in battery materials, has successfully completed the acquisition of Johnson Matthey Battery Materials in Canada. Net consideration for the acquisition was C$10.25 million. The deal helps expedite Nano One’s business strategy for LFP and other battery materials and includes a talented and dedicated workforce of 46 professionals with almost 400 years of scale-up, commercialisation, and cathode manufacturing know-how on LFP.
It is a huge leap forward for the Canadian company, bringing with it the only existing North American lithium iron phosphate (“LFP”) production facility, an 80,000 square foot, 2,400 tpa capacity LFP production facility on 9.5 acres, strategically located near Montréal, and certification systems supplying tier 1 cell manufacturers for the automotive sector.
Nano One also confirmed that Denis Geoffroy, a seasoned lithium-ion battery value chain and cathode manufacturing leader has been appointed Chief Commercialisation Officer of Nano One, effective Nov 1, 2022. He was an early contributor to Phostech Lithium, which led the first commercial manufacturing of LFP cathode active materials globally. Under his leadership Phostech Lithium commercialized LFP in Québec and grew from pilot to full industrial commercialisation with the build of the Candiac LFP plant and commencement of commercial operations in 2012.
“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the Nano One story,” said Dan Blondal, Nano One CEO. “I am pleased to report that the entire team in Candiac has transitioned to Nano One and this positions us with the most experienced LFP workforce in North America. We welcome their addition to the Nano One family and are looking forward to building and expanding the scope and trajectory of our operations over the coming months and years. We are confident that Nano One can create significant, long-term value for stakeholders by leveraging our enhanced resources, know-how and patented One-Pot cathode manufacturing technology to address the critical mineral and scale-up challenges of a terawatt-hour world.”
The Candiac facility and team in Montreal will be a base for the expansion and acceleration of Nano One’s commercialisation strategy and is regarded as a perfect complement to Nano One’s technology innovation hub and team in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Integration activities, with advisory services from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and other specialty consultants, have been underway for the past few months with a focus on finance, human resources, governance, IT, marketing, communications, facilities, enterprise systems, manufacturing, procurement, and logistics.
Nano One said the work is expected to continue into Q2 2023 and work to date has put the company in a strong position, at this time, with the acquisition now complete, to execute on its organizational and business plans.
Production trials to begin at Candiac
Nano One also said it will begin with trials in the Candiac facility to validate the production of LFP using its patented One-Pot process. Results from these trials will drive business, commercial and plant conversion decisions in 2023. In support of these post-closing activities, Nano One has been planning, engineering, and developing business channels for many months already, in close collaboration with key employees at the Candiac facility. This will enable the newly expanded company to move quickly.
Critical raw material inputs and equipment, such as One-Pot reactors, have been ordered. A local engineering firm, with team members that participated in the design and build of the Candiac facility a decade ago, has been engaged to assist with large pilot trials of the One-Pot process, and this brings valuable experience that will help bridge the learning curve and expedite the transition of the facility to Nano One.
Nano One has done extensive analyses of the techno-economics, critical minerals, carbon footprint and environmental impact of its One-Pot process. It now believes there is a significant opportunity to differentiate both economically and environmentally, and to create a sustainably robust and secure supply chain to serve markets in Canada, USA, Europe, and other emerging battery jurisdictions.
Commercial LFP facility to be constructed
Furthermore, Nano One will launch engineering activities for the design, construction, and operation of a commercial LFP facility. Site selection for this plant will be done in collaboration with partners and will consider governmental and non-governmental support in various jurisdictions.
Nano One plans to use this plant as a blueprint for large multi-line production facilities under a hybrid business model that includes licensing, joint venture and independent production in Canada, USA and other emerging critical mineral jurisdictions. This strategy is aimed at serving outsized demand from the energy storage, mobility, and electric vehicle markets. Details will be disclosed as the company firms them up.
The Candiac production facility has been in operation since 2012 and was acquired by Johnson Matthey in 2015. It has been a supplier of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material to the lithium-ion battery sector for both automotive and non-automotive applications for a select group of customers, globally. Strategically located in Candiac, Québec, it has the benefit of access to a rapidly developing North American ecosystem which will serve the broader global community with cost-effective, resilient, and environmentally sustainable cathode materials.
Nano One’s Denis Geoffroy added: “As part of my work on LFP over the last 20 years, I helped develop, design, build and run the Candiac plant. When I joined Nano One a year ago to lead their commercialization effort, the opportunity quickly arose to bring these two great teams together and harness the best people with the most complimentary skillsets. The team in Candiac has a passion for excellence, an entrepreneurial spirit, and they have successfully scaled two different processes on their journey to commercialize LFP 10 years ago.”