Electrovaya Completes Acquisition of Evonik Litarion

April 29, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Electrovaya Inc. and Evonik Industries AG (Evonik) announced that Electrovaya has completed the acquisition of Evonik Litarion GmbH (Litarion) and licensing of Separion™ intellectual property, a unique ceramic composite separator, from Evonik. The transaction comprises one of the most advanced and automated production plants for lithium-ion electrodes and ceramic composite separators, with a rated capacity of 0.5 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electrodes and 10 million m² of ceramic separators along with all associated intellectual property.

Dr. Sankar Das Gupta, Chairman and CEO of Electrovaya commented, “This is a transformational acquisition for Electrovaya as it instantly brings best-in-class manufacturing, and capacity to meet exciting growth prospects for the company's energy storage and other products.

"Conventional manufacturing of lithium ion employs a toxic NMP (n-methyl-pyrrolidone) process, which is prohibitively expensive and energy intensive. Regulations are becoming more stringent in Japan, Europe and North America. Electrovaya's unique non-toxic manufacturing technology will enable this best-in-class plant to become one of the lowest cost producers, as well as the greenest and one of the largest manufacturers globally. We are delighted to be working with an exceptional and experienced team at Litarion," Dr. Gupta continued

"We also intend to make the ceramic composite separator available to all producers of lithium-ion batteries and make it an industry standard. All lithium ion applications where safety is important such as energy storage, electric vehicles, aerospace and utilities, should, in our opinion, utilize this separator which gives vastly improved safety performance to lithium ion batteries and cells. Electrovaya's proprietary green process provides low cost lithium ion batteries and this ceramic composite separator affords the highest safety, two critical challenges in the energy storage industry," concluded Dr. Gupta.

Separion is a proprietary ceramic composite separator for ultra-safe lithium ion battery applications. The acquisition includes an exclusive license to distribute as well as the ability to sub-license, form joint ventures, expand production within Germany, and establish additional plants in Asia and elsewhere. Previously Separion had a restricted customer base, however now this exciting and desirable material will be marketed and made available globally. Over 170 protective rights relate to the Separion separator.

Furthermore, Litarion owns numerous patents concerning chemical cell components for lithium ion batteries. The portfolio contains more than 70 protective rights. Collectively, this portfolio of intellectual property and patents accompanies the purchase of Litarion.

The highlights of the transaction are: State of the art lithium ion electrode and ceramic composite separator manufacturing facility in Europe; Acquiring experienced management and strong technical team to manage operations and future growth; Electrovaya's green production process will eliminate the conventional solvent usage and allow up to 50% reduction in processing costs, about 80% reduction in energy costs while producing higher performing products, bringing the plant to the very bottom of the cost curve globally; Manufacturing capacity will enable Electrovaya to bid on larger energy storage system opportunities worldwide, which the company was previously unable to do due to lack of capacity; and Acquiring a large portfolio of intellectual property in Litarion including patent assets which relate to electrodes, electrolytes and lithium ion battery cells, built over the years of research under the roof of Evonik.

Products from the plant will now be expanded to broader and higher margin markets including grid-scale energy storage, aerospace, micro-grids and marine industries. This large volume facility and its seasoned management team will drive key energy storage revenues globally.

Dr. André Mecklenburg, COO of Litarion commented: "We look forward to growing the business within and beyond the border of Germany in partnership with Electrovaya. We believe that the combination of Electrovaya's technology with Litarion technology, IP and people will provide a strong platform to expand the business. Everybody here is eager to start working with the merged team."

Dr. Henrik Hahn, Evonik Industries AG, Corporate Strategy added: "In line with our focusing on specialty chemicals, we had been seeking new perspectives for Litarion and decided to divest this activity to Electrovaya after extensive due diligence. We feel it is the right partner to carry Litarion forward."