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China’s lead-acid battery import market shows mixed fortunes

Mon, 06/06/2016 - 15:56 -- paul Crompton
China’s lead-acid battery import market shows mixed fortunes

A drop in non-ignition lead-acid battery imports into China meant month-on-month figures were down, based on information announced by Chinese customs.

And the story could have been a lot worse except for an increase of 18.7% month-on-month in ignition batteries as 452,700 units were imported in April.

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China receives 80% of industry investment as it triples lithium-ion production

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 11:46 -- paul Crompton
China receives 80% of industry investment as it triples lithium-ion production

Strong growth in China’s lithium-ion industry meant around 80% of global new investment was located in the country during 2014, a new report has highlighted.

As 25 lithium-ion battery projects sprang up in the country in 2014 more than RMB100 million ($15.25million) was invested in China’s lithium-ion industry, stated the report by CCM, a market intelligence provider for China.

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Single-wall nanotubes prove a breakthrough in lead-acid batteries

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 14:00 -- paul Crompton
Single-wall nanotubes prove a breakthrough in lead-acid batteries

Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) that can quadruple the cycle life of lead-acid batteries were showcased at the world’s largest battery show in China last week.

The Tuball™ nanotubes additive have also been shown to double capacity at high discharge rates and have an increase of capacity of 30%, claims the material’s producer, Israel-based OCSiAl.

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Chinese people’s choice of four wheels over two will drive E-bike demise

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 13:59 -- paul Crompton
Chinese people’s choice of four wheels over two will drive E-bike demise

China’s largest battery maker Chaowei has admitted the domestic lead-acid E bike battery market has stopped growing and will only remain stable for the next five years.

While lead-acid remains the main choice for consumers because of cost, the market for E bike batteries as a whole will slow down simply because lithium-ion E bikes won’t factor either.

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Chinese EV battery firms told to meet new rules or lose subsidies

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:09 -- paul Crompton
Chinese EV battery firms told to meet new rules or lose subsidies

China has announced it will only give state subsidies to Electric Vehicle battery makers who qualify for listing in a new directory.

Only firms that meet certain criteria will be included in the directory, which will go live in July 2017.

The criteria include agreeing to undergo extended inspections in which tests could be carried out on batteries and systems to ensure they and the facility are “consistent with the vehicle battery industry standard conditions... in addition to the scale of production and other aspects of the requirements” that were released in 2015.

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Umicore expands NMC materials production in Asia

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 13:59 -- paul Crompton
Umicore expands NMC materials production in Asia

Belgium-based materials technology giant Umicore will spend $181 million on expanding its nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) production facilities in China and South Korea.

The expansion, which will mean total capacity will triple within three years, is in answer to the surge in demand for materials used in hybrid and electric vehicles, the company says.

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US lead-acid firm pulls AGM production from China

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 15:31 -- paul Crompton
US lead-acid firm pulls AGM production from China

US lead-acid manufacturer Crown Battery Corp is moving its Absorbent Glass Matt battery production from China back to North America.

The company said an increase in demand, and a push to increase automation in the manufacturing process, has led to move at its Fremont, Ohio, headquarters.

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Saft ramps up lithium capacity in China to meet demand

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 16:35 -- paul Crompton
Saft ramps up lithium capacity in China to meet demand

French battery manufacturer Saft is set to double its primary lithium cell production in China to meet growing demand in the Asian markets.

Saft has invested €5million ($5.6million) in the new Zhuhai site in order to double production capacity to 60 million cells per year by Q3 2016.

 
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Futile rear guard action?

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 11:37 -- paul Crompton

The defending army is on the run. In a desperate attempt to help the troops escape, a rear guard is assembled, hoping beyond hope to delay the rapidly advancing attacking troops. They will run out of ammunition of course, or be overwhelmed.

This was the image that came to mind when I heard Alistair Davis at the Metals Bulletin 8th World congress last week, describing the latest ALABC programme to improve dynamic charge acceptance in lead-acid systems. It’s the weakest link, the achilles heel, the runt of the litter in arguments after you’ve bleated on about lead’s recyclability, low cost and “nice grey colour” of the ingots.

And when you’ve got a handful of researchers working on the problem and just a few millions to spend, the odds of success, when the enemy are throwing thousands of the best electrochemical minds at the problem are wafer thin (and that’s being over optimistic). Is this lead-acid’s Alamo, Rorke’s drift and Custer’s last stand? It looks like it.

Norbert Maleschitz can see the writing on the wall for lead-acid in automotive and we’ve been saying it for a lot longer. And as you can read in this week’s BEST Battery Briefing, the Chinese are already acting. Given their country’s propensity for wanting to smash the industries that  have brought both prosperity and pollution, the great Chinese lead-acid dynasties are moving into lithium-ion manufacture like it’s going out of fashion. If China is going to get electric vehicles off the ground big time, it needs to go this way.

Having said all that, there are one or two voices out there that still give lead a fighting chance. Dr Steve Clarke, of Aquametals pointed out the obvious. Lead-acid’s utilisation of active material has remained stagnant for decades while lithium’s has improved by leaps and bounds in 20 years. There’s a starting point. But it will need money and leadership, a little lacking in the current climate.

Fengfan chairman asks for Chinese lead-acid battery tax delay

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 10:26 -- paul Crompton
Fengfan chairman asks for Chinese lead-acid battery tax delay

A senior Chinese official has said the lead battery consumption tax levied at the beginning of this year should be delayed or even exempted.

National People’s Congress (NPC) representative Liu Baosheng, who is also the chairman of Chinese lead-acid battery manufacturer Fengfan, said an exemption of the 4% consumption tax would help to relieve downward pressure on the battery industry.

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