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Digatron promotes Driesch as former CEO Campbell takes new global role

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 11:53 -- paul Crompton
Image: Driesch (left) is congratulated by Rolf Beckers

German headquartered Digatron Power Electronics has promoted Holger Driesch as the new managing director and chief executive officer. 

Driesch joined Digatron last December as a chief technical officer and will become a company managing director along with Stefan Rungen and Dieter Brockel. 

His new role will support steering the company products and solutions to achieve maximum growth and establish Digatron as a “globally dominant company” with a range of products.

Kevin Campbell, who was the company’s CEO since 2014, has taken on an executive role at group level to focus on developing the global strategy and market development of Digatron’s companies in Germany, US, China, India and the newly created Digatron Systems in Italy.

Driesch said: “Building further on our success is a challenge I accept with determination and fierce ambition for the firm. I am determined to continue Digatron’s momentum leading to greater heights.”

Read about Digatron’s pioneering work in lead-acid battery formation in the latest edition of BEST mag here

Image: Driesch (left) is congratulated by Rolf Beckers

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MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:54 -- paul Crompton
MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Primobius, a joint venture equally owned by Australia’s Neometals and German SMS group, has signed a deal to enter the North American lithium-ion battery recycling market.

Primobius has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Stelco—  a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based Stelco Holdings— to commercialise an environmentally friendly recycling solution.

The MoU aims to form a 50:50 incorporated joint venture (JV) to process battery cells from scrap and end-of-life vehicles in North America. 

Under the JV, Primobius will supply a 20,000 tons-per-year cell processing recycling facility adjacent to Stelco’s proposed vehicle recycling operation.

The Primobius pyrometallurgical recycling process recovers materials from consumer electronic batteries, and nickel‐rich electric vehicle and stationary storage battery chemistries.

Stelco will supply the battery cell feed to the plant. 

Both firms intend to share information, conduct due diligence, collaborate and build a business case for a long-term commercial relationship between the parties. 

Stelco is looking to establish a battery recycling business as part of its broader initiative with major automobile producers to recycle end-of-life automobiles to recover valuable materials for re-use or re-sale.

The facility will be modelled on Primobius’ proprietary refining process following the successful completion of demonstration trials at its plant, which is being built in a warehouse at the SMS group manufacturing center in Hilchenbach, Germany. 

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German researchers develop method for making cheaper redox flow batteries

Wed, 05/19/2021 - 19:58 -- paul Crompton
Researchers at a German research institute have completely redeveloped the stack in a redox flow battery in a bid to reduce material usage and costs.

Researchers at a German research institute have completely redeveloped the stack in a redox flow battery in a bid to reduce material usage and costs.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (Fraunhofer UMSICHT) developed a way to manufacture the central, electrically conductive plastic so it remains flexible and can be welded.

The team of researchers used similar base materials — graphite and carbon black — to conventional redox flow batteries but used plastic ground into powder and mixed with 80% graphite by weight. 

They then sent the powder through a system comprising rollers heated to different temperatures and moving at different speeds. 

The powder was briefly melted between the rollers at moderate temperatures and low pressures before being rolled into a sheet and finally rolled up. 

This gave the material thermoplastic properties, so it was flexible and could be welded.

Professor Christian Doetsch from Fraunhofer UMSICHT, said: “The stack that has been developed, the heart of any redox flow battery, is 40% more cost-effective in terms of material costs. 

“Production costs have also been significantly reduced. The stack weighs 80% less than a conventional stack and is only about half the size.”

The stack is being marketed by the Volterion, a spin-off of the Fraunhofer UMSICHT.

Bipolar plates up to several square meters in size can be manufactured without problems using the new method, with plate thickness between 0.1 and 0.4 millimeters. 

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Innovative battery chemistry revolutionises zinc-air battery

Wed, 01/13/2021 - 12:07 -- paul Crompton

Scientists at a German university have developed a new battery chemistry for zinc-air batteries based on an innovative, non-alkaline, aqueous electrolyte.

The full zinc-air batteries can reportedly operate stably for 320 cycles and 1,600 hours under ambient air atmosphere.

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Lead-acid battery formation firm Inbatec’s new global VP to boost presence in the Americas

Mon, 01/04/2021 - 11:57 -- paul Crompton

German lead-acid battery formation company Inbatec has appointed Nick Hennen as global vice-president of sales and business development to advance and increase business in North and South America.

Hennen, who will be located in Missouri, US, will focus on expanding the German firm’s reach as well as assisting its sister company Kustan in expanding its sales. 

Hennen has been in the battery industry for more than 25 years, initially as a sales engineer with Bitrode— specialising in non-automotive technologies such as lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride— and most recently as VP of Americas & global business development sales at Digatron.

Inbatec's managing director, Christian Papmahl, said: “I have known Nick for many years and understand his knowledge of battery production.

“More importantly though, he is well-respected with a large network and has a global understanding of all battery technologies. We are ready to take the next step and coordinate sales and growth on that level.

“We think Nick’s background across all types of battery production and end user applications brings a new perspective to our companies.

“In the short-term, we want to be more in touch with our customers in North America, but looking to a strategy of growing opportunities in India, Southeast Asia and China very quickly. 

“A lot of exciting things are going to happen with both Inbatec and Kustan over the next few years, and Nick will lead many of these efforts.”

Nick went to the University of Missouri and has a degree in Electrical Engineering. Later he achieved an executive level MBA from the Olin School at Washington University, St. Louis. 

Most of his career has been focused on battery formation including lead-acid, lithium and other technologies. He also has been involved in several stationary energy storage projects in the US and South America, primarily for electrical grid usage.

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JV sets goal of establishing commercial lithium-ion battery recycling in Europe

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:45 -- paul Crompton

Battery recycling firm Primobius, the German company owned by Neometals and SMS group, has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Slovakian lithium-ion cell maker InoBat. 

The MoU provides an evaluation framework for a Primobius-InoBat commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Central/Eastern Europe. 

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MOU paves way for sodium-sulfur battery use in green hydrogen projects in Korea

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 11:38 -- paul Crompton

A subsidiary of German chemical company BASF will supply sodium-sulfur batteries to Korean power-to-gas (P2G) company G-Philos after the pair signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 10 September.

Wholly owned subsidiary BASF New Business (BNB) will supply a total of 19.2MWh of sodium-sulfur(NaS) batteries to G-Philos for P2G projects in Korea. 

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Printed technology promises new production methods for solid-state lithium-iron batteries

Tue, 08/25/2020 - 13:55 -- paul Crompton

The market for flexible, thin and printed batteries will grow to $500 million within a decade due to the rise of Internet of Things, wearables and environmental sensors, IDTechEx’s report “Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2020-2030”.

That’s good news for Blackstone Technology— the German subsidiary of the Swiss firm Blackstone Resources— because it’s just passed crucial milestones for its printed next generation batteries.

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ZSW study to ensure Germany's lithium-ion battery materials supply is more robust

Mon, 08/24/2020 - 10:18 -- paul Crompton

The German research institute Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) has received a grant to continue its investigation into recycling lithium-ion battery electrodes.

ZSW was presented with the notice of award for a €870,000 ($1 million) grant as it looks to prevent Germany’s lithium-ion battery material supply becoming vulnerable to bottlenecks and price risks.

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VW Group signs $1.4B battery deal with Wanxinag Group to ensure security of supply in China

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 08:29 -- paul Crompton

China battery maker Wanxinag Group has secured a $1.4 billion deal to supply German vehicle OEM Volkswagen Group (VW) with lithium-ion batteries.

The deal, through the China firm’s subsidary Wanxiang A123 (Wanxiang bought battery maker A123 in 2012), gives VW a second China lithium-ion cell supplier alongside Contempoary Aperex Technology (CATL). 

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