In 2001, scientists from Université de Montréal founded Phostech with the main goal to produce carbon coated lithium iron phosphate (C-LiFePO4, or LFP in short), a high–performance energy storage material used in batteries for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
LFP batteries are included in all kinds of consumer goods, from hybrid and electric vehicles to solar and wind energy storage, power tools, cell phones and other electric appliances. Part of their advantages are the non-toxicity of its materials, which make it not only safer, but also more environmentally friendly to produce and to use.
At the same time, Süd-Chemie, a 150–year-old Bavarian company was conducting an R&D program in Bavaria on the LiFePO4 cathode. The company became very interested in the production of Phostech Lithium.
In 2004, at the 2nd Regional Leaders Summit, it was announced that Süd-Chemie would invest 10 M$ in the activities of Phostech Lithium, enabling the company to pursue their future developments: in 2006, the commercialization of LifePower® began, at the time produced in the plant in St-Bruno-de-Montarville
To keep up with international competition, Süd-Chemie – which acquired Phostech Lithium to 100% in 2008 – invested CAD $78 million in a new facility in Quebec, boosting its global production capacity to 2,500 metric tons per year.
In 2012, shortly after Süd-Chemie had become part of the Swiss group Clariant, the new Candiac plant was inaugurated. It is one of the world’s biggest and most modern production facilities for LFP batteries. Dr. Klaus Brandt, head of Süd-Chemie’s Battery Materials business line, said: “We designed the new Candiac facility with energy- efficient equipment and the latest emission control and effluent recycling systems, fully compliant with Quebéc’s high standards.”