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Editor's Blog

John Shepherd

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

21/05/2019

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.

The US now joins South Korea at the tipping point of lithium battery fires. As far as the US is concerned, could this be a Fannie and Freddie moment— akin to the subprime mortgage crisis?

Utility chiefs and regulators in Arizona have said: "Batteries are the future for the US." If lithium technology is so important to that future and cannot be allowed to fail, then the industry needs to get a grip— and quickly.

Batteries of every chemistry have the potential to enjoy a bright future, if the plethora of projects and deals we report on in this issue are anything to go by. 

As we predicted last week, Sweden's Northvolt has secured the funds it needs to build what could be Europe's first commercial battery cells plant. Germany's VW is now a contender too, with a mystery partner backing its gigafactory plan.

But Chinese and Korean firms continue to tighten their grip on the EV battery supply market in Europe— this time in deals with Volvo. And despite geopolitical tensions between Seoul and Beijing, Korea's SK Innovation is to further expand in China. Even the UK's Moixa has not been held back by the Brexit debate in attracting international investors for its battery technology. 

Read the latest battery news here on our web site first. Remember, we publish a weekly round-up in BEST Battery Briefing— FREE every Monday— highlighting stories we've covered over the past week. Sign up for the newsletter by clicking here and if you're already a recipient and find BBB useful, please forward it to friends.

Meanwhile, make sure you've subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. The Spring 2019 issue is out now!

EU energy chief’s about-face on lead?

At last, after months of lobbying, has the EU’s energy chief seen the light and is he now willing to level the playing field for lead-acid and lithium?

More cash to keep 'lithium dream' afloat as lead is left to tread water

It’s been a year this week since the EU launched its Batteries Alliance to challenge Asia’s dominance of the European lithium battery market. But after months of talking and little concrete action— other than conspiring to kill off lead-acid— the EU’s energy chief now wants to splash more taxpayers’ cash to 'make' things happen. Nothing of course to do with his bid to take over as European Commission president.

Battery diamond's Indian summer?

What’s going on at JCI? Speculation has been rife for several months that the firm’s batteries business, Power Solutions, could be coming up for sale.

 

Saft's train of thought turns to India

It’s been two years since Total gobbled up Saft in a friendly takeover— amid concern that advances in battery technology might become lost in the oil giant’s fossil fuels portfolio. But judging from recent events not a bit of it.

 

He who pays the piper calls the tune

Entrepreneurs who spot a gap in the market will beg, steal and borrow to find the cash needed to fund a dream and go for it. So bravo Germany, which as we report this week is taking on the EU over restrictive state-aid policies so it can freely invest in battery production.

Investors splashing cash to supercharge batteries

There are investors out there who are falling over themselves to pump cash into batteries and energy storage worldwide, as we report in the latest edition of our weekly e-newsletter— BEST Battery Briefing.

 

Lead-acid enters injury time in Europe nursing life-changing wounds

There is only about a minute left on the battery industry’s ‘Doomsday Clock’ to fight for the survival of the lead-acid industry in Europe.

Brexit Britain feeling chill of battery trading winds?

There’s more evidence this week, as if it were needed…

Asian battery march into Europe gets stronger

Asia continues to hog the fast lane for electric vehicle battery development…

Mining firms digging deeper for 'battery gold'

The great ‘batteries gold’ rush is under way…

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