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Experts warn on ‘raw material cost’ of powering EVs

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 13:07 -- John Shepherd
Experts warn on ‘raw material cost’ of powering EVs

Experts have warned that producing a new generation of electric vehicles— and supplying the electricity to keep their batteries charged— will add up to costly and “huge implications” for the world’s natural resources.

The UK alone would need just under twice the current annual world cobalt production to meet its EV targets for 2050, according to a letter to government climate change advisers co-authored by the head of earth sciences at the UK’s Natural History Museum, Prof Richard Herrington.

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Umicore tightens cobalt supply grip with Glencore deal

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 10:28 -- John Shepherd
Umicore tightens cobalt supply grip with Glencore deal

Swiss mining company Glencore has signed a deal to supply cobalt hydroxide for Umicore’s battery materials operations.

The long-term revolving agreement comes just days after Umicore announced it was expanding with its planned acquisition of Freeport Cobalt’s cobalt refining and cathode precursor activities in Finland.

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Umicore expands battery materials business with cobalt deal

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:45 -- John Shepherd
Umicore expands battery materials business with cobalt deal

Belgium’s Umicore is to acquire Freeport Cobalt’s cobalt refining and cathode precursor activities in Finland as an “important step” toward expanding the company’s battery materials business.

The deal, which is expected to be finalised by the end of 2019, is for a total consideration of US$150 million on a debt and cash free basis, plus the value of the working capital to be taken over at closing, which at the end of March was approximately $40m.

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Lawmakers push for US battery materials security

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 15:12 -- John Shepherd
Lawmakers push for US battery materials security

US lawmakers are backing draft legislation aimed at cutting the country’s “damaging” dependence on imports of materials, including those “critical”  to expanding battery storage and electric vehicle (EV) technology.

A bipartisan group of senators say the American Mineral Security Act is needed to help reduce reliance on countries such as China. 

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BMW signs ‘transparent’ battery cobalt supply deals

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 11:35 -- John Shepherd
BMW signs ‘transparent’ battery cobalt supply deals

BMW is to buy cobalt for its electric vehicle (EV) batteries directly from mines in Australia and Morocco to ensure “complete transparency” about the origin of the raw material.

A spokesperson for the German carmaker told BEST Battery Briefing today the move to obtain supplies outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) would “eliminate any residual risks of human rights violations in the mining of cobalt”.

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Finnish partners promote EV battery materials recycling

Wed, 03/27/2019 - 10:54 -- Hugh Finzel
Finnish partners promote EV battery materials recycling

Finnish companies Fortum and Crisolteq have teamed up to launch a materials recovery process claimed to make more than 80% of electric vehicle (EV) batteries recyclable.

Power company Fortum said the technology uses “a low-CO2 hydrometallurgical process”, developed by metal recycling services firm Crisolteq, to recover scarce battery metals such as cobalt, nickel, manganese and lithium.

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Amnesty issues ‘ethical batteries’ challenge for EVs

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 16:17 -- John Shepherd
Amnesty International is calling for “ethical batteries” to be produced for electric vehicles (EVs) within five years— and a crackdown to prevent human rights abuses in raw materials mining.  Amnesty secretary-general Kumi Naidoo said a “drastic overhaul”

Amnesty International is calling for “ethical batteries” to be produced for electric vehicles (EVs) within five years— and for a crackdown to prevent human rights abuses in raw materials mining.

Amnesty secretary-general Kumi Naidoo said a “drastic overhaul” of energy sources was needed “that prioritises protection of human rights and the environment”.

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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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Cheaper BESS systems 'to rival fossil-fired peaking plants'

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Cheaper battery storage systems are less than 20 years away from becoming a "competitive" alternative to oil and gas-fired peaking plants, according to a new International Energy Agency (IEA) study.

The cost of battery storage is projected to “decline fast” by 2040 and global BESS capacity could reach 220 giagwatts by 2040, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2018 said.

This would see batteries "increasingly compete with gas-fired peaking plants to manage short-run fluctuations in supply and demand"— with the scenario’s projected need for global peaking capacity set to increase by three-quarters compared to 2017.

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Korean-German partners launch ‘sustainable cobalt’ project in DRC

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

South Korean firms Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics are teaming up with German car giant BMW and chemicals group BASF for a joint pilot cobalt mining project to “enhance sustainable mining” for batteries production.

The companies have signed a contract with the German overseas development support agency— Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)— to launch the pilot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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