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Editor's Blog

Buzzwords aplenty

25/11/2019

'End-of-life', 'circular economy' and 'second-life' are new buzzwords that we are all becoming familiar with as the sustainability agenda marches relentlessly on. Whether it’s new developments in the recycling of lithium-ion batteries or the acknowledgment and desire to remedy the informal recycling of lead-acid batteries, there are positive signs that the energy storage industry is up to the task. 

In a world that is increasingly dependent on, and needy of, energy storage there is no doubt batteries have a major part to play— whether it’s for EVs or renewable storage. There are new moves afoot to combine chemistries so that more versatile battery storage solutions can be developed, as power management innovator Chris Hale elaborates in the Autumn 2019 issue of our magazine.

It is incumbent on all within the industry to play a part. Whether it’s issuing a call-to-arms by highlighting a problem or shouting a victory cry for successes unveiled. 

To this end, we spoke to American Manganese on how they have made a breakthrough in the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. We anticipate this will be the first of many. And in our report from the Secondary Lead Conference in Bali we find the industry making positive steps in controlling the pollution from lead smelting. This is a multi-pronged attack with new technologies, new processes and containerised plug-and-play solutions all having a part to play.

Every little helps in the greening of industry and technical editor Dr Mike McDonagh summarises two years of research that shows how a simple item, like a connector, can be the source of great energy savings, or losses, in battery formation.

With a little foresight, rather than from the pain of hindsight, we can learn from the lessons of others and show that we can build a better future for the next generation. It will require people of principle, monitoring the industry and a desire for action in ways that may appear unpopular. 

A cartoon on our office wall says: when you point a finger at someone, remember, there are three fingers pointing back at you. If you have any comments then let us know.

 

Action needed to keep lead's best story alive

In these dog days of summer, when executives…

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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