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Editor's Blog

John Shepherd

Mining firms digging deeper for 'battery gold'

13/08/2018

The great ‘batteries gold’ rush is under way as realisation dawns that mining companies have a major part to play in our business.

You did not have to dig deep at last week’s miners’ hoedown in Australia to see that eyes are now on the prize of tapping into the lucrative global battery materials market, as we report this week.

So all that glitters does not have to be gold. And— as we keep on drilling home from here— that includes lead! While Europe’s policy chiefs think the EU is better off without lead, Asian competitors including Amara Raja and Exide India, as you’ll read here, are investing and stealing the march.

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Action needed to keep lead's best story alive

In these dog days of summer, when executives are enjoying time with their families, real news is hard to come by. Or is it? One of BEST Battery Briefing's latest articles— 'Novel African utilities reject lead for Microgrid backup'— is worrying reading. The story of lead’s potential for close on 100% recyclability is only as good as the supply chain that serves it and where that does not exist, that story falls apart.

 

Kristallnacht for lead-acid?

I’m fondly remembering the days when BCI’s convention was there for my amusement, or so it seemed— the ‘early bird’ attendee prize draw for $100 handed out by the amazing Ann Noll.

Mars is a great market for pure EVs

All power to Elon Musk and SpaceX. What an incredible achievement to build the world’s most powerful rocket, make much of it reusable and have a sufficient sense of humour to put one of your other company’s product— a tesla electric car, atop of it all and send it toward Mars! Tesla is losing a fortune, so what the hell?

A flaming embarrassment

Looking for ways to make lithium-ion batteries safer? Well, don’t go to a battery safety conference, because you won’t learn much! At least I didn’t when I went to Cambridge EnerTech’s battery safety event last week in Arlington.

Don’t die… just get bought!

Now is a great time to sell your battery manufacturing business— to an oil company.
The age of oil isn’t over yet but those in fossil fuels know it’s coming, so now is the time to diversify.

Futile rear guard action?

The defending army is on the run. In a desperate attempt to help the troops escape, a rear guard is assembled, hoping beyond hope to delay the rapidly advancing attacking troops. They will run out of ammunition of course, or be overwhelmed.

Auto electric confusion?

It was a confusing week in Mainz. The only thing you could be sure about was that electrification of vehicles was not going away, but perhaps we’ve known that for some time. The thing we’re not sure about is;

No-fly lithium looks very possible

There are few inside the battery industry who haven’t seen a video of a lithium-ion cell going into thermal runaway, shooting out flames and gas like some kind of giant firework.
There are enough battery specialists who can appreciate and calculate the release of energy from such devices and have the imagination to visualise the domino effect that could take place when one defective cell goes wrong in pallet containing maybe several thousand cells.

Poor emissions lead to sales revisions

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, but the ill wind that’s been blowing through Volkswagen these past few weeks may deliver a positive benefit to the battery industry if its industry Guru, Menachem Anderman, is to be believed.

Storage doomsayers unite

This writer tries to avoid TV news these days; From the refugee torrent out of Africa into Europe, the tit-for-tat terrorist bombings in the Middle east, it’s just too awful to contemplate. Batteries, (when not arming bombs and missiles) are relatively innocuous things and when involved in the firming of renewables, they do good. But last week, at the Electricity Storage Association’s technical meeting, the industry was told it is not doing anywhere near enough.

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