Johnson Matthey obtains license for GEMX advanced battery material platform
LEXINGTON, Mass.—A new cathode material from CAMX Power is reported to significantly improve the performance and reduce the cost of lithium ion batteries, a key technology in the manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs). The invention creates a broad class of cathode materials overarching the high-nickel material classes NMC, NCA, and LNO, the chemistries currently used in lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.
The patented invention, originally conceived by TIAX and continued by CAMX when it became a separate company in 2014, is named GEMX™, and the resulting enhanced chemistries, gNMC™, gNCA™, and gLNO™. Patents have been granted in the United States, EU, China, and Japan.
CAMX Power said that its business model is to offer “mature early-stage battery technologies that are de-risked, IP-protected, and scaled-up or scale up ready; then license these technologies, with deep technology transfer, to large manufacturing partners for them to make and sell.” The company maintains a lithium-ion battery material synthesis facility, a development-purposed cathode production pilot plant, and design-purposed advanced cell making facilities.
“I am very proud that CAMX and TIAX have developed and patented this very important novel technology, which can further accelerate the manufacture and spread of EVs,” said CAMX President and founder Kenan Sahin, Ph.D., in a press release. “Lithium ion batteries are now the globally accepted technology to achieve electric vehicle production. More than 30 percent of the cost of a lithium ion cell is in the cathode material, which is also the most difficult to manufacture in large quantities, and, hence, the key to making batteries for vehicles affordable.”
High nickel cathode chemistries for vehicle batteries use cobalt to achieve required performance levels. Although plenty of nickel and lithium exists to supply tens of millions of vehicles a year, cobalt is in shorter supply and is found in very few countries, with many mired in controversy. CAMX said that through molecular engineering, GEMX uses less cobalt by placing it at critical locations of the cathode particles, resulting in greater stability, higher performance, and lower cost for all classes of high nickel materials.
Sahin said he believes it’s possible for at least 50 percent of the world’s vehicle production to be electric, with significant reductions in CO2 emissions, by 2045. By that time, he believes, alternative energy and smart grids will be pervasive. He observed that California already produces 30 percent of its electricity from alternative energy sources and is aiming to reach 100 percent by 2045.
GEMX was recognized at the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF), which attracted about 1,000 attendees from 70 countries, including several top executives in the automotive sector, to Tokyo in October 2018. The technical committee of ICEF reviewed hundreds of innovations across the globe, identifying GEMX as one of the 14 selected for innovation in the business transformation category.
Sahin said TIAX and CAMX together had developed the CAM-7® cathode platform, which was licensed to Johnson Matthey (JM) and BASF. Johnson Matthey announced in 2017 that it had committed well over $200 million to bring CAM-7 to markets, rebranding its version as eLNOTM.
CAMX (www.camxpower.com) is currently engaged in discussions concerning the licensing of GEMX with major manufacturers of cathode materials. The company, along with Johnson Matthey, announced in November that JM had obtained a license for the GEMX advanced battery material platform.
“Using its own processing technologies and other know-how, Johnson Matthey successfully developed eLNO and is currently commercializing its technology,” said Sahin. “With the GEMX license, JM can further enhance eLNO, as well as take an advanced position in other material classes, such as NCA and NMC.”
Alan Nelson, sector chief executive and CTO at Johnson Matthey, said in a statement that the company is pleased to have obtained “this further license from CAMX to support JM’s development of ultra-high energy density automotive battery cathode materials.”
“This license improves and extends our intellectual property protection and supports the commercialization plans for our market-leading eLNOTM technology,” said Nelson. “Adding the GEMX platform also gives us a broader chemistry landscape to which we can apply JM’s expertise in materials design, development, scale up, and manufacturing. This is how JM provides our customers, and ultimately consumers, with battery materials that have the performance characteristics required to drive an electric vehicle revolution and enable the journey to pollution-free roads.”
Sahin expressed his enthusiasm for the deepening relationship with JM, remarking how rapidly and successfully JM developed and began commercializing eLNO.
“Instead of attempting production ourselves, by working with eminent and established companies like JM, we, as CAMX, can see our inventions rapidly and more broadly come to market for the benefit of society, especially in the environmentally beneficial, connected, and self-aware EVs poised to dominate transportation and become a multi-trillion-dollar industry in itself.”