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LG Chem begins billion-dollar plan to be world’s biggest battery materials firm

Thu, 08/12/2021 - 15:41 -- paul Crompton
LG CHem office building

LG Chem has bought the battery materials manufacturing arm of its subsidiary LG Electronics in a bid to become the “world’s largest general battery materials company”.

The Korean firm bought the operations of the Chemical Electronic Material (CEM) business sector under the LG Electronics’ Business Solution Division for 525 billion KRW ($456 million).

The purchase will bring the four key materials for batteries under LG Chem’s roof, in addition to its existing businesses in the anode materials, cathode binders, electrolyte additive, and CNT (carbon nanotube) sectors.

The announcement on 29 July includes all “tangible and intangible” assets such as production facilities and personnel in the business sector. 

The LG Electronics CEM Division manufactures battery materials such as separation membranes and display materials, and it has production facilities in Cheongju Korea, Hangzhou of China, and Wroclaw of Poland. 

Billion-dollar investment 

LG Chem plans to invest 6 trillion KRW ($5 billion), including this acquisition, to become the world’s top general battery materials company.

The firm plans to build a 60,000-ton capacity plant in Gumi, South Korea, this December for the cathode material business. 

Through this, the cathode production capacity of LG Chem will increase from 40,000 tons last year to 260,000 tons by 2026.

A joint venture is being prepared with an unnamed mining company for the supply of metals that will be used as the raw materials for anode materials. 

The company is also set to focus R&D on anode materials, separation membranes, cathode binders, and radiant adhesives to “differentiate its technologies and acquire market leadership”. 

It also plans to triple CNT production scale from 1,700 tons by 2025. 

In June 2020, LG Chem announced it would invest around KRW 65 billion ($53 million, at the time) to expand CNT manufacturing by 1,200 tons at its Yeosu plant from Q1 of this year.

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LGES signs 45mt off-take deal to secure lithium-ion battery supply from Vulcan

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 11:23 -- paul Crompton
lithium hydroxide

Battery maker LG Energy Solution, a subsidiary of LG Chem, has signed a lithium-ion battery materials off-take deal with Vulcan Energy.

The Australian firm will supply up to 45 metric tonnes of lithium hydroxide over the five-year term of the deal.

Pricing will be based on market prices for lithium hydroxide.

The five-year agreement could be extended by a further five years, with the start of commercial delivery set for 2025.

LG will purchase 5,000 metric tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide the first year, ramping up to 10,000 metric tonnes per year during the subsequent years of the deal.

Vulcan said conditions precedent to the start of commercial delivery include execution of a definitive formal offtake agreement on materially the same terms by the end of November 2021, successful start of commercial operation and full product qualification.

Vulcan managing director, Dr. Francis Wedin, said: “This is the first binding lithium off-take term sheet for the Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project, so it is fitting that it is with the largest EV battery producer in the world. LGES’s operations are of course global, but it is already producing batteries in Europe. 

“The agreement is in line with our strategy to work with Tier One battery and automotive companies in the European market.”

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Battery materials firm hopes new VP’s government contacts will boost business

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 10:02 -- paul Crompton
6K has appointed Mary Cronin as vice-president of government affairs

Lithium-ion battery materials firm 6K has appointed Mary Cronin as vice-president of government affairs on the US firm’s executive leadership team. 

6K hopes Cronin’s contribution will add to the growing number of Defence Logistics Agency programs the company has been awarded.

Those programs include the $1 million DLA phase II program to establish a domestic capability to recover and convert critical metals from defense scrap into premium additive manufacturing powder.

Cronin has links to Capital Hill, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and strategic defense primes.

6K CEO Aaron Bent said: “Issues like battery manufacturing in the US, of which there is near zero capability currently, and securing critical elements like titanium domestically, pose a national threat to the country. 

“Our production platform can be a key driving force in solving these issues. Having Mary leading these initiatives with the highest levels of government will give us a strong voice in DC and uncover more strategic program opportunities.”

Cronin said she was attracted to the company because of its potential to impact domestic [US] battery production and its commitment to a new Battery Center of Excellence.

In April, 6K announced plans for the $25 million, 33,000 square-foot, Center of Excellence facility in Massachusetts to develop sustainable battery materials for energy storage devices, with a focus on electric vehicles, grid storage, and consumer goods.

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Cathode joint development agreement to supply lithium-ion battery market

Mon, 06/21/2021 - 08:22 -- paul Crompton
Cathode joint development agreement to supply lithium-ion battery market

Battery materials firm Nano One Materials Corp and Johnson Matthey have signed a joint development agreement to co-develop next generation cathode products.

The agreement will focus on developing materials, methods of production and a detailed commercialisation study for pre-pilot, pilot and scaled up manufacturing. 

Johnson Matthey will use Nano One's patented one-pot process and coated nanocrystal technology in its eLNO® portfolio of nickel-rich advanced cathode materials.

The one-pot process is designed to form a cathode material known as ‘coated single crystal’, which enables the materials to be made directly from metal powders and lithium carbonate. 

The agreement is the culmination of successful technical reviews and preliminary evaluations of both Nano One's high-nickel cathode materials and IP conducted over the past year.

The deal represents a significant milestone in the business relationship between both companies.

Christian Gunther, chief executive, battery materials at Johnson Matthey said the firms’ technology has the potential advantages in terms of product performance, sustainability and manufacturing cost.

Johnson Matthey aims to make 10,000 million tonnes per annum of its eLNO at a plant scheduled to open next year in Konin, Poland.

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Alumina firm moves to next stage of commercialising its lithium-ion battery boosting material

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 10:48 -- paul Crompton

Battery materials firm Altech Chemicals is in the final development stage of its high purity alumina (HPA) grade material designed to increase performance of lithium-ion battery anodes. 

The Western Australian-based company is proceeding to an independent verification phase of its method for the alumina coating of graphite particles. 

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Key lithium-ion, lead-acid and VRFB materials placed on EU Critical Raw Materials list

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 10:34 -- paul Crompton

Key lithium-ion, lead-acid and vanadium redox flow battery materials have been placed on the 2020 Battery Critical Raw Materials list by the European Commission.

Lithium, antimony, cobalt, natural graphite, and vanadium have all been placed on the list, which is composed every three years following a review of raw materials for their economic importance and concerns over supply risk.

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Circular-economy consortium aims to make Europe a regenerated battery materials hub

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 11:44 -- paul Crompton

Battery materials firm Solvay and energy management firm Veolia are partnering on a circular-economy consortium to manage critical metals used in lithium-ion electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Belgian firm Solvay and French company Veolia , through its subsidiary SARP Industries, are engaged in discussions about the battery value chain— from access and spent battery feedstock to dismantling, metal extraction and purification— with a car manufacturers and battery cell producers.

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Battery materials manufacturer to idle portions of its US lithium production

Thu, 08/27/2020 - 16:57 -- paul Crompton

Battery materials firm Albemarle is due to idle portions of its lithium mine and production facility in the US due to short-term supply-demand imbalances and an excess stockpile of battery-grade lithium.

The North Carolina-headquartered firm’s Silver Peak lithium mine in Nevada and Kings Mountain lithium hydroxide production facility in North Carolina are due to partially close next month until the end of the year.

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EcoGraf tests show recovery of high purity battery anode material from lithium-ion battery materials.

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 15:39 -- paul Crompton

Australian firm EcoGraf has claimed its proprietary purification process has been successfully applied to recycling battery materials from ‘production scrap’ and ‘black mass’.

In testing undertaken in collaboration with potential customers, the firm’s proprietary purification process has returned results of 98.6-100% carbon from production scrap and 98-99.6% from black mass.

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LFP tests indicate lithium-ion cells can be made from waste material and recycled batteries

Tue, 08/18/2020 - 09:48 -- paul Crompton

Battery materials firm Lithium Australia has completed initial tests on its lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) battery cells made from waste material, including low-grade spodumene and spent lithium-ion batteries.

The Australian firm has said testing revealed the 2032 cells, with a lithium metal negative electrode, achieved capacities of up to 161mAh/g at a 0.1C discharge rate1. 

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