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Two leading European banks are promoting the electric car industry with an investment in a new plant in central Poland run by global chemicals and sustainable technologies group Johnson Matthey.

The joint financing comprises a €90 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a €45 million loan from KfW IPEX-Bank.

Johnson Matthey will use the factory in Konin to produce cathode materials for electric car batteries. The plant will become the world’s first production site of the company’s branded eLNO®, a portfolio of ultra-high energy density next generation cathode battery materials. These are expected to improve the performance of lithium ion batteries and help promote electric vehicle usage on a larger scale.

The production capacity in Konin will be 10,000 tonnes of eLNO® per year, enough for around 100,000 fully electric vehicles. In addition, the site, which will start production in 2022, has the potential to expand tenfold through further investment. Construction of the plant began this year.

Johnson Matthey aims to make the manufacturing of its products energy efficient by using automation technology and electricity from renewable sources. The group also plans to reduce emissions from battery production to minimise the environmental impact and has committed itself to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. More broadly, as part of the Global Battery Alliance, the company is helping to make the battery value chain more sustainable.

Grzegorz Zieliński, EBRD Regional Director Central Europe and Head of Poland, comments: “We are very pleased to finance this landmark project, which marks a big step forward in making electric cars not only an environmentally friendly, but also an increasingly competitive and attractive, alternative to traditional vehicles. We also welcome the creation of new jobs and expect further positive impact from the know-how transfer associated with this important investment.”

Echoing this comment, Markus Scheer, member of the Management Board of KfW IPEX-Bank, says: “We are very pleased to contribute to the further development of innovative car batteries that support e-mobility and thus environmental and climate protection, working together with valued European partners such as the EBRD.”

Christian Günther, Chief Executive, Battery Materials at Johnson Matthey, says: “Construction of the new plant in Konin is a significant milestone in the commercialisation of our eLNO battery cathode materials. Supported by this funding, we plan to have eLNO in production on auto platforms by 2024, enabling the shift to electric vehicles and a cleaner, healthier world for us all.”