Japanese chemicals company Mitsui is to pre-pay Sigma Lithium US$30 million under a strategic alliance agreement for the supply of battery-grade lithium concentrate.
Sigma will supply Mitsui with “up to 55,000 tonnes” of material annually for six years, with an option to extend for a further five years.
Sigma said the agreement provided for a significant portion of the funding required for capital expenditures and construction of Sigma’s commercial production plant at its Grota do Cirilo lithium project in Brazil.
“Key sources” of new lithium-ion for the battery materials market in 2019 will again come from Australia, say market analysts.
An additional 60 kilotonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) output will come from mines in the so-called ‘lucky country’, according to metal and materials research consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Australia has shown its ability to “fast-track spodumene operations in recent years through a combination of a benign investment environment, technical expertise and existing infrastructure”, Wood Mackenzie said.
A battery storage system is being installed off the coast of Brazil as part of an environmental R&D project to boost the use of solar power and reduce reliance on diesel.
NEC Energy Solutions (NEC ES) is supplying the lithium-ion distributed storage system for the project, which will be ready to launch from next month, to help preserve the natural environment of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago (pictured), off the country’s northeast coast.
UK lithium-sulfur cells maker OXIS Energy has secured a GBP3.7 million ($5.17m) capital boost to expand its battery business in Brazil.
Oxis said it plans to use funding from Brazilian private equity fund, Aerotec, to open a subsidiary and an R&D centre in southeast Brazil as it eyes increasing demand for batteries in the electric heavy vehicles market.
Battery maker Saft has been awarded the contract to supply its maintenance-free nickel cadmium backup battery systems to Brazil’s capital city.
The French firm will replace existing lead-acid batteries at all 34 of Brazilian power utility CEB (Companhia Energetica de Brasilia) distribution substations serving Brasilia.
A scientific and technological centre in Brazil has teamed up with an English EV research firm to develop new types of lithium batteries.
UK’s Mira has signed a letter of commitment with Fundação Parque Tecnológico Itaipu (FPTI) to develop a centre of excellence for energy storage in Brazil.
Aggreko has been selected to provide temporary power to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The deal will see the Scottish power provider supplying temporary power for the broadcasting of all the matches in 12 host cities across Brazil.
In addition, Aggreko will provide power and temperature control services for the International Broadcast Centre in Rio de Janeiro.
Aggreko has a strong presence in South America; having bought Brazil’s largest power rental business— PoitEnergia— in 2012 it is well positioned to provide the necessary power for the championship.
The media coverage of the 64 matches will be watched by three billion people around the world and require Aggreko to supply, install and operate more than 46MW of generating capacity, 1,000 distribution panels and 200 km of electric cables.
The Brazilian electricity grid has been named as the reason for high genset sales for prime and standby power in the country. The country’s electricity generation network includes a high share of hydropower, which can be unreliable during droughts. This has caused high usage of gensets for critical applications including data centres, healthcare and financial services.
According to figures from Frost & Sullivan’s ‘Analysis of the Brazilian Genset Market’ paper, the genset market will be worth US$1472m in 2017.
As the country’s economy continues to grow, power demands from the oil and gas, construction, manufacturing and entertainment industries are outstripping electricity supply, and in turn boosting genset sales.
Gustavo Stainoh, Frost & Sullivan energy and power research analyst said: "The need to handle blackouts spurs the uptake of gensets. During peak hours, however, companies find it more feasible to get electricity from the grid due to the recent reduction in industrial electricity tariffs."
The paper says cheaper products from Asian manufacturers has affected market profits and a lack of regulation and certification of equipment makes a challenging environment for manufacturers.