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Editor's Blog

John Shepherd

Squaring the circle of sustainability


Just how much good will we do by expanding the number of battery-powered vehicles on the world’s roads? The answer is ‘not much at all’ without some serious planning, if new advice from UK scientists is to be believed.

As BEST Battery Briefing reports this week, the scientists are warning of “huge implications” for our natural resources if countries stick to their target quotas for replacing ICE vehicles with EVs.

And even when the ‘green’ EVs are on the roads, the warning is that, without better planning, countries such as the UK won’t be able to generate the increased electricity required to keep the batteries charged.

If the scientific advice is correct, the world risks having to ride roughshod over its concerns about sustainability to dig up more and more precious resources in its quest to be ‘green’.

It’s an interesting conundrum but an issue that has to be addressed nonetheless.

Meanwhile, an initiative is getting under way to recover and recycle potentially tens of thousands of kilos of Pb products from remote communities in Alaska. Lead batteries continue to be one of the most sustainable products on the planet and might yet have the last laugh. 

Batteries charging ahead with a positive jolt for the markets

It’s an upbeat battery industry world we report on over the past week— despite gloomy markets. But optimism does not wait on facts it deals with prospects. So said the late American political journalist and professor Norman Cousins.

Supply chain deal boost for Europe in a materials world

Umicore's deal to acquire cobalt refining and cathode prescursor activities in Finland— as reported in the latest edition of BEST Battery Briefing— is a key milestone along the path to securing the materials Europe will need to establish a 'home grown' battery industry.


Is it a ‘Fannie and Freddie’ moment for lithium technology in the US?

Safety concerns are top of the battery agenda again, as we reveal regulators' fears that the currently unexplained explosion at a grid-scale BESS plant in Arizona could trigger a review of safety standards. This could in turn spill over into the US residential storage market.


Has UK shot itself in the foot as starting pistol is fired in giga race?

The race to the gigafactory finishing line in Europe is now well and truly under way, but who will be first or could it be a photo finish?


Digging into deep pockets to strike battery gold

It's going to take deep pockets to get Europe's fledgling Battery Alliance firing on all cylinders, so the EU is bringing in some heavy financial hitters to shore up the investment needed to secure a raw materials supply chain— one of the top stories in the latest edition of our BEST Battery Briefing e-newsletter has revealed.


Lead-acid picks up rhythm in New Orleans

The mood music for this week’s gathering of the lead-acid faithful at Battery Council International’s annual convention, this year in New Orleans, promises to be upbeat.


Lead strikes oil as investors drill down on storage tech

Whatever “new” technology India’s state-owned oil corporation may be teasing the Pb market with, the announcement we report on in the latest edition of BEST Battery Briefing fits a global pattern of fossil-fuel corporates (think of Shell, BP and Total) moving into battery storage tech.

Battery partners to tighten their embrace?

The relationship between SK Innovation and Volkswagen could be about to get a whole lot closer if, according to one of our latest reports, the pair go ahead and launch a joint battery-making business.

Time to recharge thinking on batteries

It’s high time to recharge Europe’s thinking on batteries.


Words to the battery wise on April Fool's Day

In some countries, news outlets mark the first day of April by publishing ridiculous stories with false claims— and give just enough clues to help readers ‘get’ the joke.