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SK Innovations to invest $1B in new China plant to meet forecast demand of lithium-ion batteries

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 15:17 -- paul Crompton

South Korea's SK Innovation is set to invest 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion) in a new battery factory in China, as it looks to ramp up lithium-ion battery production to 200GWh in the next four years.

Detailed plans for the new factory were not revealed, but in July the firm said it was to up production to 200GWh from a previously announced goal of 125GWh. 

The company’s production capacity is 40GWh.

The South Korean battery maker supplies electric vehicle (EV) batteries to Ford Motor, Volkswagen and Hyundai Motor among others, and has battery production sites in the US, Hungary, China and South Korea.

In July, SK announced it would spinoff its battery division to allow it to concentrate on meeting demand for batteries as global EV sales are set to increase from last year’s 2.5 million, according to IHS Markit.

SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun said in July: “We haven't decided how to split the battery business ... it takes quite a lot of resources to further grow our growing battery business, so we are considering the spinoff as one of the ways to secure resources.”

The South Korean battery maker told news outlet Reuters that it had more than 130 trillion won ($115 billion) worth of battery orders, which is more than 1TWh worth of batteries, enough to power around 14 million electric vehicles.

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Chinese battery manufacturing giant CATL joins EU battery association Eurobat

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 15:39 -- paul Crompton
Chinese battery manufacturing giant CATL cells

China lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) has joined Eurobat— the association for European automotive and industrial battery manufacturers.

Eurobat covers all battery technologies, and has more than 50 members working with policy-makers, industry stakeholders, and non-governmental organisations to highlight the role batteries play for decarbonised mobility and energy systems.

Headquartered in Ningde, China, CATL had more than 5,000 staff engaged in R&D at of the end of 2020 and is in the process of developing its first European production base in Arnstadt, Germany. 

Matthias Zentgraf, CATL EU-Region co-president, said: “With the European Commissions’ vision for a climate-neutral EU by 2050, we are proud to bring our EV battery technologies and manufacturing to Europe, contributing to a more sustainable Europe powered by E-mobility. 

“Joining Eurobat will bring more exposure to conversations with the local automotive ecosystem and regulatory bodies, facilitate CATL to better integrate with local automotive industry and introduce more advanced solutions and services in the region.” 

Eurobat executive-director Rene Schroeder said: “Europe’s battery industry is currently at a pivotal moment.

“Investments into Europe’s automotive and industrial battery industry are needed if we want Europe to reach its decarbonisation ambition, as recently announced in the European Commission’s Fit for 55 package. 

“At the same time, policy-makers and stakeholders are in the process of shaping the future policy framework for batteries, notably through the new Batteries Regulation.”

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Svolt closes $1.5B funding round two months after cobalt-free lithium-ion battery announcement

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 11:13 -- paul Crompton

China cobalt-free lithium-ion battery firm Svolt Energy Technology has closed a B-financing round of 10.28 billion Yuan ($1.5 billion) as it moves to its goal of 200GWh production capacity by 2025.

The financing round will be used for the research and development of new technologies, and the construction of new production facilities in the Chinese cities of Changzhou, Suining, Huzhou, Ma’anshan and Nanjing, as well as in Europe.

This financing round was led by Bank of China Group Investment (BOCGI). 

Other investors include the National Fund for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, Country Garden Venture Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group (SCGC), CCB Investment, IDG Capital, Sany, Xiaomi Corporation, Oceanpine Capital and China Renaissance. 

Original shareholders, including SDIC and JZ Capital, significantly increased their holdings.

The firm closed a 3.5 billion Yuan ($540 million) A-financing round at the end of February.

Svolt has announced orders from Chinese and international automobile manufacturers, including: Great Wall Motors, Geely Automobile, Dongfeng Motor, Stellantis, SF Motors, ENnovate, Leap Motor and Hozon Auto. 

Cobalt-free batteries

In July, Svolt announced the start of series production of its cobalt-free nickel-manganese (NMX) battery cells at a ceremony in Jintan, China.

The firm is initially producing two sizes of its NMX batteries (115 Ah and 226 Ah), which are 75% nickel and 25% manganese. 

Series production of the new NMX batteries followed the successful production of ten tons of cobalt-free cathode material at the battery cell factory in Jintan during January.

Svolt has been mass-producing the cobalt-free cathode material since April.

The batteries can achieve more than 2,500 charging cycles, says the firm.

From the end of 2023, the novel batteries can also be produced at the planned plant in Saarland for the European market.

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China's Lomon Billions to enter lithium-ion battery market with new material plants

Mon, 08/23/2021 - 12:09 -- paul Crompton

China materials firm Lomon Billions plans to enter the battery industry by building three lithium-ion cathode and anode material production facilities. 

The proposed plants in China will cover lithium iron phosphate and titanium dioxide production. 

A 200,000 tonnes-per-year (t/yr) facility for battery-grade iron phosphate will be built in Qinyang city, in the Henan province, over three phases: two 50,000 t/yr stages and a 100,000 t/yr stage.

Another 200,000 t/yr facility is proposed for Henan's Jiaozuo city to ensure feedstock supplies for the lithium iron phosphate project. 

Lomon Billions is planning to construct a 100,000 t/yr plant for artificial lithium-ion battery anode material in Jiaozuo developed in two phases, with 25,000 t/yr and 75,000 t/yr capacity respectively. 

It will also invest 700mn yuan ($108 million) to expand titanium dioxide production in Jiaozuo by 100,000 t/yr. Its total titanium dioxide capacity is 1 million t/yr. 

Details including the construction schedules and launch dates were undisclosed. 

China upping materials production

Chinese companies, including cobalt refinery Jinchuan Group and diversified new energy firm Ningbo Shanshan, have expanded their battery cathode and anode materials production capacity for power.

Jinchuan is on track to raise its production capacity for nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) precursors by 100,000 t/yr in China's Gansu province. 

Shanshan is projected to build a 200,000 t/yr production facility for anode material in China's Sichuan province. 

Domestic power battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has unveiled plans to increase its lithium-ion battery capacity by 137GWh/yr through five production projects in the next three years.

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China deploys world’s first sodium-ion grid-scale battery ESS

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 09:01 -- paul Crompton
China deploys world’s first sodium-ion grid-scale battery ESS

The world’s first grid–scale energy storage system has been deployed in China, according to domestic news outlets.

The system was officially put into operation in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, and is combined with municipal power, solar and charging facilities to form a micro-grid, reported English language newspaper The Global Times.

The system’s major developer was the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, which has worked on the technology for 10 years.

The institute first demonstrated a 100kWh sodium-ion battery in 2019.

China has proposed a target of carbon neutrality by 2060, and is expected to widely use sodium-ion in a variety of sectors including: electric vehicles, home or industrial energy storage, 5G communication base stations and renewable energy.

Last month, UK battery maker Faradion announced that lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) would begin making sodium-ion batteries from July.

Image: The 100kWh Na-ion battery-based power station deployed by the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science in 2019

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China on verge of banning large-scale ESSs using second-life lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 10:19 -- paul Crompton
China large-scale ESS lithium-ion batteries

Is China on the verge of banning the use of second-life lithium-ion batteries in large-scale energy storage systems (ESS) amid a spate of fires this year?

The halt will continue until a “breakthrough in battery consistency management technology and a sound power battery performance testing and evaluation system” is developed, according to reports from China media group Caixing.

The ceasing of secondary battery use follows the National Energy Administration issued a draft report ‘Regulations for the Management of New Energy Storage Projects’ on June 22.

What capacity constitutes “large-scale” is not clear.

The Caixing report stated: “According to industry sources, there are few energy storage projects that can be called cascade utilization of large-scale power batteries. In addition, the document does not specify the criteria for defining "large-scale" projects.”

The draft also proposes that completed and operating projects should be regularly evaluated and monitored, and supervision should be strengthened.

Cascade utilisation generally refers to using a battery with less than 80% capacity in EESs for commercial and residential, and telecom base station applications.

In January, an explosion at a China recycling plant owned by lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) killed one person and injured 19 more.

In April, two firefighters died when they were putting out a fire in an energy storage power station in Fengtai District of Beijing, according to the China Daily news outlet.

 
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JAC Motors partners with CBAK to design lithium-ion batteries for China’s EV market

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 10:55 -- paul Crompton

China-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer CBAK Energy Technology has signed a three-year strategic agreement with state-owned vehicle OEM Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motors).

The strategic agreement will combine the former's battery knowledge in the research, development, and manufacturing of battery cells with the latter's technology capabilities in the electric vehicle industry. 

 

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BYD builds on its closed loop dream with second-life lithium-ion battery partnership

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 14:34 -- paul Crompton

Chinese battery OEM and electric vehicle maker BYD will transform old batteries into energy storage systems through a partnership with Chinese lithium-ion recycling start-up Pandpower and Japanese trading house Itochu.

Old battery packs from buses, taxis and other vehicles manufactured by BYD will be collected from dealerships across China and turned into ship-container-sized power units for renewable energy and factories.

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Tesla secures five-year supply of lithium in deal with China’s Yahua

Mon, 01/04/2021 - 11:01 -- paul Crompton

US electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla has signed a five-year deal to receive battery-grade lithium hydroxide from China’s Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group. 

The total value of the contract, signed by Yahua's wholly-owned subsidiary Yaan Lithium, is $630-$880 million and lasts up to 2025, according to news outlet Reuters, which quoted a filing by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The cost value translated into a total lithium hydroxide procurement amount of 63,000-88,000 tonnes, or 12,600-17,600 tonnes per annum, according to analysts at Daiwa Capital Markets.

Last May, Yahua commissioned a 20,000 tonnes per year lithium hydroxide plant in Yaan city into operation, more than doubling its previous capacity.

It already sources lithium - an ingredient in EV batteries - from China’s Ganfeng Lithium, one of the world’s top lithium producers.

In 2018, Tesla signed a deal to receive a fifth of China's largest lithium compounds producer, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium’s production. Under the terms of the agreement, Tesla also designated its battery suppliers to buy lithium-hydroxide products from Ganfeng.

In 2019, Ganfeng Lithium finalised a $160 million investment deal to raise its stake in Argentina’s Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine project to 50%. Ganfeng Lithium now partners with Canada’s Lithium Americas in a 50-50 joint venture that will develop and operate the project.

LoI signals Turkey’s intent to create domestic lithium-ion dependence

Thu, 10/29/2020 - 13:24 -- paul Crompton

China lithium-ion battery maker Farasis Energy has signed a letter of intent to manufacturer battery modules in Turkey with a consortium aiming to bring domestic electric vehicles to the country.

Farasis will supply lithium-ion cells that will be jointly developed and produced into battery modules for EVs in partnership with Turkey’s automobile joint venture group TOGG. 

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