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Johnson Matthey in battery materials plans with Cummins

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 09:32 -- Xuan Zhong
Johnson Matthey in battery materials plans with Cummins

Johnson Matthey has sold its automotive battery systems business to US-based engines and gensets manufacturer Cummins— as part of plans to jointly develop “high-energy battery materials”.

JM’s UK-based business is one of Europe's largest lithium-ion battery system suppliers with 50 employees.

 
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US startup LithiumWerks acquires LFP veteran Valence

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:05 -- John Shepherd
US startup LithiumWerks acquires LFP veteran Valence

US-based battery startup LithiumWerks has acquired “substantially all of the assets” of Texan lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery maker Valence Technologies for an undisclosed sum.

LithiumWerks, launched in March 2017 with a focus on the energy storage market, said the deal— its first acquisition— included “all of Valence’s proprietary lithium iron magnesium phosphate intellectual property (IP), trademarks, and inventory”.

 

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Daimler silent on Geely ‘battery tech buy-in’ report

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:43 -- John Shepherd
Daimler silent on Geely ‘battery tech buy-in’ report

Daimler is staying mum on a report that Chinese carmaker Geely has bought a stake in the German peer with a view to partnering on battery tech for electric vehicles.

According to Reuters, sources believe Geely, which owns Volvo, “is keen to access Daimler's battery technology and wants to establish an electric car joint venture in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province”.

 

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Nissan in Thailand battery production talks

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:37 -- John Shepherd
Nissan in Thailand battery production talks

Just months after selling its Japan-based electric vehicles batteries business to China, Nissan is in talks with Thailand’s government about starting battery production there, BBB has confirmed.

Nissan regional senior vice-president Yutaka Sanada said during a Nissan conference in Thailand the country’s military government is “keen to support investment” in batteries and EV production, a Nissan spokesperson said.

 

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Korea plea to China over battery subsidies

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:29 -- John Shepherd
Korea plea to China over battery subsidies

Seoul has confirmed it is in direct talks with China aimed at patching up a trade row that led Beijing to slap sanctions on the use of South Korean batteries.

As BBB reported last week, signs that the two countries were attempting to bury the batteries hatchet emerged as South Korean and Chinese firms formed two joint ventures to produce lithium-ion battery materials from bases in China.

 

 

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Umicore eyes expansion after shares sale

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:23 -- John Shepherd
Umicore eyes expansion after shares sale

Belgium’s Umicore has raised nearly EUR900 million ($1.1 billion) in a shares sale to fund potential future acquisitions and boost investments in cathode materials.

The Brussels-based global materials technology and recycling firm sold 10% of its shares in a block trade on 8 February.

 

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New fund ‘to target EV battery investments’

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:06 -- John Shepherd
New fund ‘to target EV battery investments’

A new equities fund targeting investments in batteries and raw materials to support the development of electric vehicles is reportedly set for launch next month.

The ‘Westbeck Electric Metals Fund’, backed by oil-focused hedge fund company Westbeck Capital Management, aims to raise $100 million in 2018, according to Reuters.

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Akasol launches Li battery systems plant for buses

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:16 -- Xuan Zhong
Akasol launches Li battery systems plant for buses

German battery manufacturer Akasol has launched production of its high-performance lithium-ion systems for commercial vehicles at its new EUR10 million ($11.7m) plant in Langen, near Frankfurt.

Akasol started production on 16 November at the 600MWh capacity facility. The company said it has already secured contracts to supply its battery systems for 10,000 buses being built by two European bus manufacturers in the next few years.

 

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A flaming embarrassment

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:59 -- gerry@bestmag.co.uk

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.

There’s a lot of interesting science around in terms of working out what happens when you short circuit a lithium-ion battery on a very expensive high energy X-ray source (the images are fantastic) but how that helps you, the manufacturer, prevent whatever that “natural” causative agent might be for this to happen seems about as likely as predicting the next self-styled lunatic with enough money (and guns) to carry out a massacre in the USA. 

It can’t be done.

As the Donald said: “This is not a guns issue.” And as to battery fires and failures, perhaps they are not a lithium-ion issue. If we didn’t have so many portable devices and electric vehicles, this would not be an issue at all… Of course, you’d have to plug your not-so-smart phone into a wall socket each time you wanted to check your mail and we’d all be connected ‘wiredly’ to do so much that we now take for granted. Or fire granted?

And this brings me to my final topic for this excuse for conference spleen venting… battery stand-up comedy!

It’s a new comedy form that is being developed by Joseph Nowikowski, almost the last act on the two-day event. Nowikowski, a fire investigator, managed to achieve laughs from fire scenes— before and after. Radio-controlled cars bursting into flames, caught on camera (security) in ‘man caves' all over the Union, dog teeth marks on a punctured battery found under a burned out sofa (we kid you not), not to mention the litany of stories of exploding vaping devices (missing teeth thrown in for more good measure) and laptops left charging on beds. All down to lithium-ion.

Nowikowski was right on the money. Sure, the insurance companies will pay out on the fire because they allow for peoples’ stupidity… but if they can show a defective battery was to blame, they’ll be after you. Another investigator in the audience said they had 120 open files on fires, with lithium batteries ‘in the firing line’, so to speak.

Nowikowski didn’t quite say, “if you can charge it, don’t leave it unattended”, but if I had felt like misrepresenting him, I could have sold that story to the so-called British newspaper, The Sun.

Joe public has no idea about the number of fake phone chargers there are in circulation, nor can they tell if a product has a BMS capable of detecting overcharge or thermal runaway in its earliest phase. They have no knowledge of UL and Interek’s safety standards and they like to buy cheap and nasty electronic products (‘cos they’re cheap!).

One day, the catalogue of errors that are ‘crap cells’ with flammable electrolytes will turn into the perfect storm and somewhere, perhaps, a lot of people will die, just like they did in London (thanks to flammable building materials) this summer. For other chemistries, it’s the equivalent of Weinstein’s alleged sex misdemeanours.

Isn’t it time you guys named and shamed?

 

Exide expands production in Missouri

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:36 -- Xuan Zhong
Exide expands production in Missouri

Lead-acid firm Exide Technologies is investing more than $35 million in a punched grid-manufacturing site in the US state of Missouri.

The US firm said the 180,000 sq ft facility in Kansas City will be “the most advanced of its kind”— with a production capacity of more than three billion grids each year.

 

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