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Researchers find key to longer lasting lithium-ion battery

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 13:46 -- Paul Crompton
Researchers find key to longer lasting lithium-ion battery

Researchers at the US Missouri University of Science and Technology have used a thin-film coating technique to make lithium-ion batteries more reliable and longer lasting.

The scientists used atomic layer deposition (ALD) to dope and coat lithium magnesium nickel oxygen (LMNO) with iron oxide at the same time.

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1m battery deal will get ‘green’ lead refinery off to flying start

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:07 -- Paul Crompton
1m battery deal will get ‘green’ lead refinery off to flying start

A deal to process 1,000,000 lead batteries a year will allow ‘green’ recycling start-up Aqua Metals to run its new plant at near capacity from day one once it opens.

The US company, which is opening an electrochemical lead recycling plant in Nevada this July, signed a definitive agreements with North American replacement battery maker Interstate Batteries.

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Don’t die… just get bought!

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:49 -- Paul Crompton

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. Some have been doing it for years— BP for example— an early entrant into solar energy.

So it’s hardly any surprise to see that SAFT, the French battery specialist,  just got snapped up by Total, the multinational but French rooted oil and gas corporation.

It only seems like yesterday that SAFT was trying to wriggle free from Alcatel, the French telecom player, back in the late 90s. The SAFT management were frustrated, merely being just a division in a business which was expanding in all directions— internet, cellular and the term ‘energy storage’ wasn’t really in executive vernacular. It is now.

SAFTs specialist lithium products have proven too costly for the hybrid and EV market but acceptable for the military and aerospace markets.

And while the company had at least one interesting liason with Johnson Controls, it seems to have been a little lack lustre of late— and maybe a little rudderless following the unexpected death of John Searle, its former chairman and highly energetic commercial manager, in 2014.

Maybe there’s a lesson here— that if battery companies are really going to reap the rewards of the energy storage market, they are going to have be part of bigger energy businesses with access to capital and management resources they sorely lack.

If you look east, the big players in batteries, LG Samsung and Panasonic are all part of much larger concerns in the electrical and electronics field.

Small is beautiful up to a point. But if energy storage is really going to change the world it needs to be part of something bigger. That might be one way that lead acid industry gets itself away from the abyss it could be heading for.

SA start-up launches battery to wipe out lead-acid

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 14:11 -- Paul Crompton
SA start-up launches battery to wipe out lead-acid

Yet another death knell sounded for lead-acid this week as a South African start-up announced plans to completely replace lead-acid batteries in southern Africa.

Based in Somerset West, BlueNova has joined Woodmead-based Reutech (whose former CEO, James Verster, now heads up BlueNova) to launch its lithium iron yttrium phosphate (LiFeYPO4) batteries which, the firm claims, are as cheap as existing lead-acid batteries and longer lasting

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Perfect storm threatening to drown North America’s lead-acid industry

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 14:10 -- Paul Crompton
Perfect storm threatening to drown North America’s lead-acid industry

The lead industry in North America is facing some of the biggest threats to its existence as a perfect storm of extremely bad news and regulatory challenges come to a climax in the next few months, David Weinberg, legal advisor to Battery Council International told its 2016 annual meeting last week.

Weinberg, recognised as one of the USA’s leading environmental law specialists, said the PR storm was probably the worst he had seen in his 30 year relationship with the industry body.

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2nd-life EV batteries to form largest storage system of its kind

Fri, 04/15/2016 - 11:51 -- Paul Crompton
2nd-life EV batteries to form largest storage system of its kind

Japanese car company Nissan is to use second-life EV batteries to power its new French office, the largest ever grid-integrated EV system in a building in the world.

Sixty-four used lithium-ion batteries from Nissan Leafs combined with solar generation will comprise the 1 MWh energy storage system, with 100 vehicle-to-grid chargers from Nissan’s partner Enel installed.

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Consortium buys SPG mill to produce anode-ready materials for Li-ion batteries

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 13:04 -- Paul Crompton
Consortium buys SPG mill to produce anode-ready materials for Li-ion batteries

A new consortium has announced it will buy a mill that will produce anode-ready spherical graphite (SPG) for lithium batteries in the US.

The group has announced it will buy a micronising and spheronising mill to produce the material, which is critical for lithium-ion battery anode materials.

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Microvast launches non-flammable lithium-ion battery technology

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:01 -- Paul Crompton
Microvast launches non-flammable lithium-ion battery technology

US-headquartered Microvast has launched battery technology that it claims can prevent thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries during a press conference in Beijing, China.

The firm’s research looked at how heat released by electrolytes could be controlled to ensure safety during thermal runaway

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UK grant signals sea-change in attitude toward next-generation lithium battery technology

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 11:47 -- Paul Crompton
UK grant signals sea-change in attitude toward next-generation lithium battery technology

It may be a few years behind the rest of the world but the UK is at least trying to make up for lost time with a series of funding rounds aimed at developing the nation’s battery credentials.

The latest series of funding enables a team of chemistry, engineering and materials groups to develop next-generation lithium-ion and lithium-air batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

 
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UK sees decline in proportion of lead-acid batteries recycled

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 13:20 -- Paul Crompton
UK sees decline in proportion of lead-acid batteries recycled

Predictions that the number of lead-acid batteries recycled would decline in the run-up to classification changes appear to have come true.

The changes, brought in by the UK’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), came into effect in January 2016.

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