Multinational oil giants are beginning to invest in companies in several different sectors of the EV industry. Phillips 66 has announced plans to acquire a 16% stake in Novonix, a supplier of materials, equipment and services for the battery industry. Phillips 66 will reportedly pay a total purchase price of $150 million, and will nominate one director to Novonix’s board.
Brisbane, Australia-based Novonix was spun out of Dr. Jeff Dahn’s famed battery lab at Dalhousie University, and now has operations in the US and Canada, and sales in 14 countries. The company manufactures high-precision coulometry cyclers, and provides battery performance testing, as well as prototyping, development and demonstration services.
Phillips 66 manufactures specialty coke, a key precursor in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Novonix produces synthetic graphite, and processes specialty coke to make high-performance anode materials. The companies say the investment will support the development of a domestic supply chain for batteries for the EV and energy storage markets.
Novonix’s anode materials business is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it is increasing capacity to produce 10,000 metric tons per year of synthetic graphite by 2023. The new investment will support a capacity expansion of an additional 30,000 metric tons per year, which is expected to be completed by 2025.
[Conspiracy fans, take note: “Novonix” sounds eerily similar to “Ovonics,” a company that was acquired by Texaco in 2001. Texaco (which later merged with Chevron) allegedly used the Ovonics patents to impede the advance of nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Coincidence?]
“This strategic investment enables Phillips 66 to directly support the development of the US battery supply chain,” said Greg Garland, Chairman and CEO of Phillips 66. “It advances our commitment to pursue lower-carbon solutions while leveraging our leadership position and expertise in the specialty coke market and supporting Novonix’s emerging position in US-based anode production.”
“Phillips 66’s investment will provide us with the capital needed to support growth and ongoing R&D as we continue to scale our synthetic graphite production and develop new technologies for higher-performance energy storage applications,” said Novonix CEO and co-founder Chris Burns.