Monday, July 12, 2010

Quebec To House World's Largest Lithium Phosphate Plant

From Financial Post

Quebec to house world's largest lithium phosphate plant

Nicolas Van Praet, Financial Post · Monday, Jul. 12, 2010

Montreal – German chemical company Sud-Chemie AG said it will build the world’s largest plant for the production of lithium iron phosphate in Candiac on Montreal’s south shore, further cementing the province’s status as a hot bed for electric vehicle development and testing.

Publicly traded Sud-Chemie said it would invest about 60 million euros ($77.9-million) in the venture, which involves construction of a new production facility in Candiac, the site of its Canadian subsidiary Phostech Lithium Inc. Lithium iron phosphate is an energy storage material used in batteries for electric vehicle drives and other applications.

Commercial production for delivery will start in 2012 and reach a rate of 2,500 tons per year, the Munich-based company said. That’s enough to supply 50,000 all-electric automobiles or up to 500,000 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

Sud-Chemie already produces lithium iron phosphate used in power tools, vehicle starter batteries and electric scooters in Europe, Asia and North America. The company said it is expanding its production capacity to meet strong demand and supplement the 300-ton annual output capacity of its Moosburg, Germany site.

“This investment is of central strategic importance to Sud-Chemie,” company chairman Gunter von Au said in a statement. “Our [lithium iron phosphate] will establish itself as a storage material for large high-performance batteries, thus enabling electromobility to achieve an overall breakthrough in the automotive industry.”

The company’s announcement adds to the activity taking place in Quebec on electric vehicle technology development, especially as it relates to integration with the power grid.

Hydro-Quebec, Canada’s largest utility, is working with Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada to test the performance of up to 50 all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars starting this fall. The $4.5-million trial is designed to study how the vehicles charge and drive. The utility, one of the world’s major producers of hydro-electric power, spent $200-million from 1993 to 2003 in manufacturing its own electric vehicle drive system, past president André Caillé said.

Sud-Chemie tallied sales of 1.07-billion euros in 2009, mostly outside Germany. At the end of last year, it employed 6,500 people worldwide.

Financial Post


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