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Saft to ‘expand lithium’ with Chinese lead group Tianneng

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 09:51 -- Hugh Finzel
Patrick Pouyanné

France’s Saft and Chinese lead-acid battery group Tianneng Energy Technology have formed a joint venture (JV) to expand lithium-ion manufacturing and “scale up its e-mobility and energy storage businesses”.

The JV will “primarily focus on the development, manufacturing and sales of advanced lithium-ion cells, modules and packs”. Production will be based at Tianneng’s Changxing factory, with a potential annual manufacturing capacity of 5.5GWh.

“This is a first strategic move driven by Total, following its acquisition of Saft in 2016,” said Patrick Poyanné, CEO of Total, the French battery manufacturer’s parent company. “The JV will allow Saft to join forces with a Chinese partner, a world leading lead-acid battery manufacturer, willing to develop its lithium-ion activities.

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EU ‘lagging behind competitors’ on battery cells

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 14:23 -- John Shepherd
Photo: EU's Robert Meerding

The EU is “lagging behind international competitors” in its quest to build a world-beating battery cells production industry, a report has warned.

The briefing paper by the European Court of Auditors— the EU’s independent external auditor— said Europe needs to “ensure a coherent strategy” for developing energy storage technologies and “reduce the complexity of EU research funding”.

Without a change in policies, ambitious manufacturing, energy saving and climate goals set by the European Battery Alliance could fail to materialise, the paper warned.

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SK Innovation building Polish battery plant

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 10:42 -- Hugh Finzel

SK Innovation is to start work on a factory in Poland to manufacture lithium-ion battery separators (LiBS) and ceramic coated separators (CCS) for electric vehicle batteries in Europe.

The South Korean group will break ground on the plant site in Województwo Śląskie in southern Poland in the third quarter of 2019— and expects to begin mass production in the third quarter of 2021.

SK Innovation intends to invest €335 million (US$378m) to realise four LiBS production units and three CCS production units on the 270,000 square metre site.

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UK and China launch virtual energy research centre

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 15:31 -- John Shepherd
Professor Nigel Brandon, Dean of Engineering at ICL (left) & Qikun Xue, VP for Research at Tsinghua

Imperial College London (ICL) and Tsinghua University are launching a virtual centre to collaborate on pioneering research into advanced energy systems.

The universities have agreed to jointly study “next-generation technologies and intelligent control strategies” towards low-carbon power and energy systems.

The centre will be the latest collaboration between the two universities, which have previously worked together on research projects including ‘the role of energy storage in enhancing operation and stability performance of sustainable power systems’.

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Leoch sets sights on Europe as new Asian battery plants start up

Wed, 03/27/2019 - 09:53 -- John Shepherd

Leoch International Technology is to bring two new lead-acid battery plants on stream this year in Vietnam— and has revealed plans to expand in Europe including through acquisitions.

The Hong Kong-listed firm said one of its Vietnam plants will start delivering reserve power batteries by mid-2019, while the other will be delivering SLI batteries by the end of the third quarter.

Construction of both plants is “in full gear”, Leoch said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange announcement. “The design production capacity of these two factories will be more than double the current total overseas production capacity with opportunity for future expansion.”

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Joint venture plans liquid air energy storage projects

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 12:56 -- Hugh Finzel
Highview LAES system

A new joint venture company involving UK liquid air energy storage (LAES) system pioneer Highview Power is to develop “multiple projects” in Spain, the Middle East and South Africa.

Highview has entered into a joint venture agreement with Spain-based global engineering, procurement and construction group, TSK, to co-develop a series of “large-scale long-duration energy systems”.

The projects will use Highview’s cryogenic LAES technology, which the company said “can deliver anywhere from 20MW/80MWh to more than 200MW/1.2GWh of energy” at facilities with a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.

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Leclanché to contribute ‘breakthough’ tech to German battery consortium

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Leclanché to contribute ‘breakthough’ tech to German battery consortium

Leclanché is working on a “breakthrough technology” that could be rolled out as part of its contribution to a government-backed battery cell consortium in Gemany, BEST Battery Briefing (BBB) can reveal.

Leclanché CEO Anil Srivastava (pictured) told BBB research and development work was already under way, but he said details could not yet be revealed, other than to say the technology was “within lithium”.

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ESS flow batteries first taker of Munich Re’s ‘performance insurance’

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
ESS flow batteries first taker of Munich Re’s ‘performance insurance’

Munich Re has launched an insurance policy for battery manufacturers to insure against the risk of their products not delivering as promised.

The Germany-based insurance group said the move would allow manufacturers to offer long-term performance guarantees, “whose value is backed by the insurance coverage”.

And US-based all-iron flow battery maker Energy Storage Systems confirmed it was including 10-year insurance coverage on its long-duration energy storage products through Munich Re.

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Monbat eyes expansion to make bipolar batteries in Bulgaria

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Alan Bobokov

Bulgarian lead-acid company Monbat has confirmed proposals for a major expansion of its manufacturing operations in the country to produce bipolar batteries under licence from US-based Advanced Battery Concepts (ABC).

Monbat’s licensing deal for ABC’s GreenSeal bipolar lead technology was announced earlier this year— but neither company would say where the batteries might be made.

However, BEST Battery Briefing has now confirmed Monbat has taken the first steps towards building a 2.4 gigawatt-hour plant in Vratsa, Bulgaria, especially for the production of bipolar batteries.

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UK battery tech firm added to Shell collection

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Fossil-fuel giant Shell has further extended its reach into the energy storage sector with the acquisition of virtual battery systems operating firm, Limejump.

The purchase by Shell’s New Energies division comes hot on the heels of the multinational’s acquisition of all of the shares in German battery storage firm Sonnen, as reported in last week’s BEST Battery Briefing.

Limejump is a UK-based energy storage management company that describes itself as “the first energy company to trade an aggregated unit and the first to trade batteries in the UK balancing mechanism market”.

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