A CHEMICAL giant is set to build a multi-million pound plant to test the next generation of battery materials for electric vehicles.

Johnson Matthey, which already has a base on the Pimlico Industrial Area, Clitheroe, has announced the new development, a demonstration scale plant, next to the existing site.

The new facility will be used to provide samples eLNO (enhanced lithium nickel oxide) battery material to global customers.

And as the Clitheroe site already has extensive experience in the scale up and manufacture of nickel products, a key component of eLNO, the company picked it for this new plant.

The firm has said that the demonstration plant is an important step in the commercialisation of eLNO.

The new development will create a small number of jobs, according to Johnson Matthey.

The new product is already generating extremely positive feedback from customers during testing. It is designed to enable large scale adoption of pure battery electric vehicles with greater range and lifetime.

Robert MacLeod, chief executive of Johnson Matthey said: “This investment is an exciting step in the commercialisation of our eLNO technology and our strategy to deliver break out growth in battery materials.

“The demonstration plant at Clitheroe will enable us to support customers’ development programmes and build our market presence.

“Johnson Matthey already makes a significant contribution to cleaner air around the world. We’re now applying our world class science to next generation battery materials, enabling the journey to pollution-free roads.”