Public registry documents show a trademark application filing with the Canadian government for Ionway in April
Volkswagen subsidiary PowerCo SE and Umicore are partnering together in a joint venture in Europe, formally unveiled last week, called Ionway. Electric Autonomy can exclusively reveal that the two companies may be looking to bring Ionway to Canada.
According to registry documents from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Ionway filed an application for trademark in April 2023.
The application is made by a Belgian legal firm on behalf of Ionway, which is described as providing goods and services. The trademark covers goods including: “Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide for industrial use; nickel chemicals; lithium; lithia [lithium oxide]; lithium cobalt oxide for industrial use; cobalt chemicals; cobalt oxides; cobalt oxides for industrial purposes…Cathodes; lithium ion batteries.”
The described list of services also includes: “Recycling and waste treatment; recycling of electric batteries; recycling of metals.”
The agent representing the applicant on the Canadian side is Montreal law firm ROBIC.
Ionway around the world
A joint venture between PowerCo and Umicore (then unnamed) was first announced in December 2021. A joint venture agreement was signed in September 2022 and the joint venture officially created in March 2023.
It wasn’t until last week that PowerCo and Umicore announced their joint venture is called Ionway.
At the same time, PowerCo and Umicore revealed Ionway’s first operational step would be a cathode active material (CAM) and precurser-CAM (pCAM) production plant to be located in Nysa, Poland.
Ionway’s objective is to “establish a large-scale secure supply chain of high-performing battery materials,” reads the company’s website. “The joint venture will collaborate on the responsible sourcing of raw materials and aim to include elements of refining and battery recycling at a later stage.”
Ionway will break ground in Poland once the permitting process is complete, the company says.
At full capacity Ionway wants to have a 160 GWh output by 2030 — enough for 2.2 million vehicles.
Ionway has also filed a trademark application in the United States.
Is Ionway coming to Canada?
In July 2022, Umicore announced it would build a $1.5-billion pCAM and CAM facility in Loyalist, Ont., just outside of Kingston.
In April 2023, Volkswagen’s PowerCo announced it would be building a $20-billion gigafactory in St. Thomas, Ont.
To date, no official link exists between the two Canadian plants. But Umicore’s 2022 annual report (released in March 2023) contains a telling statement: “In North America, Umicore and PowerCo announced an intention to explore a strategic long-term supply agreement to serve PowerCo’s future battery Gigafactory in the region. This planned, non-exclusive agreement, would make PowerCo an important customer for Umicore’s planned battery materials production plant in Ontario, Canada.”
Electric Autonomy reached out to Ionway to inquire if the agreement would include the expansion of Ionway into Canada. We did not receive a response.
However, PowerCo has been vocal about the need to secure suppliers and talent to support its new factory. An existing relationship with Umicore in other jurisdictions could mean Canada may expect to see collaboration here — it’s just a question of it will be in the form of Ionway Canada.
Electric Autonomy will continue to follow this developing story.