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China promotes ‘eco’ lead batteries plan with illegal recycling crackdown

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

China is to crack down on illegal lead recycling and launch a “traceability system” to promote advances in lead battery development as a “backbone” national industry.

The environment ministry said the government wants to “promote the standardised and orderly development of lead storage battery production and lead recycling”.

The ministry’s ‘action plan’— which has been seen by BEST Battery Briefing— said lead battery manufacturers will be encouraged to develop “ecological designs” for new batteries and to “increase the proportion of recycled raw materials” used in production.

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‘Lead to power ahead for years to come’, say analysts

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Automotive lead battery demand is in a “state of flux”, but market analysts have warned: “Don’t be too hasty in writing off the humble lead car battery”.

Lead-acid is “increasingly under threat from new battery technologies”, according to metal and materials research consultancy Wood Mackenzie in its 2019 lead outlook.

But the world is yet to see the peak production of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, “and there are new developments in this old technology intended to keep it competitive and relevant for many more years”, the outlook said.

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Toyota and Panasonic agree batteries joint venture

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Shigeki Terashi

Japanese compatriots Panasonic and Toshiba have concluded contracts toward setting up a joint venture (JV) company related to the automotive prismatic battery business.

The JV— which is subject to approval by anti-trust chiefs— will cover “research, development, production, engineering, manufacturing, procurement, order receipt, and management”.

Toyota will contribute equipment and personnel in the areas of development and production engineering related to battery cells, while Panasonic will contribute equipment and personnel to support activities including production, development, engineering and manufacturing (at its plants in Japan and Dalian, China).

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US-Chinese lithium cell supply agreement

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
SimpliPhi logo

A three-year supply agreement for “no less than 19 million lithium batteries” has been signed between SimpliPhi Power and CBAK Energy Technology.

California-based SimpliPhi will buy the industry-standard 26650 lithium batteries for the period starting this year.

SimpliPhi said its storage system components “are UL certified and have been rigorously tested and deployed by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps".

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Nano One signs LFP deal with China’s Pulead Technology

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Canadian lithium battery cathode materials producer Nano One has signed a joint development agreement with Chinese cathode company Pulead Technology Industry.

Nano One said the partners planned to scale up production of Pulead’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode materials, using Nano One’s technology, for use in lithium-ion batteries.

The companies will also consider “licensing and commercialisation opportunities”.

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LG Chem, Ford in blockchain pilot to trace ‘ethical’ battery materials

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Tech giant IBM has teamed up with battery maker LG Chem, the Ford Motor Company and others to use blockchain technology “to trace and validate ethically-sourced materials” for batteries and other products.

The group, which includes Chinese mining firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and auditing specialist RCS Global, is starting with a pilot focused on cobalt sourced in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The move comes amid increasing pressure on electric vehicle producers and their battery suppliers to ensure an ethical approach for procuring raw materials— and hot on the heels of another ‘sustainable cobalt’ initiative launched by South Korea’s Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics, Germany’s BMW and chemicals group BASF.

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Commissioning starts on ‘China’s largest vanadium flow battery’

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Electrolyte tanks installed for the 3MW 12MWh VRB-ESS at the Hubei Zaoyang project

Chinese vanadium redox battery manufacturer VRB Energy has begun commissioning a 3MW/12MWH vanadium redox battery, phase one of its Hubei Zaoyang 10MW/40MWh project, which will be the “largest vanadium flow battery installed in China”.

The system is being installed to integrate a large solar photovoltaic system into the grid at Zaoyang.

VRB’s chief technical officer Dr Mianyan Huang said: “We are delighted to have successfully integrated the first module of a 1MW/4MWh VRB-ESS into the grid, allowing our customer, Hubei Pingfan, to immediately benefit from cost-savings on peak-hour electricity tariffs through energy arbitrage at its industrial park.”

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Leoch breaks ground on China lithium plant

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Leoch ground breaking ceremony

Hong Kong-listed lead batteries firm Leoch International Technology has broken ground for a major lithium-ion battery plant in China’s northern Anhui Province.

Leoch is investing CNY1.2 billion (US$177.5 million) in the project to build a factory in the Huaibei Development Zone with an annual production capacity of four gigawatt-hours.

The ‘Leoch International Anhui New Energy Battery Project’ will manufacture batteries for energy storage systems as well as to power electrical devices, Leoch said.

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LG Chem expands battery investment in China

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

South Korean battery giant LG Chem has confirmed plans to invest the equivalent of more than US$1 billion to expand its battery manufacturing capacity in eastern China.

LG Chem signed a 1.1 trillion Korean won (KRW) investment contract with municipal and city leaders to include building a third plant in Nanjing, which will produce electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

According to the agreement, LG Chem will invest KRW600bn in the new plant and an existing EV and small battery plant by 2020 respectively— all in the Nanjing Xinjiang Economic Development Zone.

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Pilbara secures funding to expand Pilganoora lithium deposit

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Pilganoora lithium-tantalum project

Australian mining company Pilbara Minerals has secured funding from two of its key customers, in order to expand its Pilganoora lithium ore deposit.

The funding is comprised of a US$25 million offtake pre-payment facility provided by Chinese automotive manufacturer, Great Wall Motor Company, a $50m equity placement to Ganfeng Lithium, and a proposed new $50m Nordic bond to be implemented in the current quarter, with bondholder consent.

The funding package will be combined with Pilbara’s existing cash reserves and future cash flow from stage 1 operations of the Pilganoora resource to fully fund the second stage of operations. Pilbara is targeting commissioning of stage 2 from the March quarter 2020.

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