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Exide Technologies say goodbye Texas hello India

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Exide Technologies' battery recycling plant in Frisco, Texas US, is to close by the end of this year after a battle by city residents over environmental issues.

The company is now being sued by two environmental groups concerned about the impact the plant has had on the health of the population. 

The groups feel regulators failed to take action on violations being committed at the plant as found on inspections.

"There are chronic contamination problems at Exide that still pose a hazard to Frisco residents and property. There's also a long history of law-breaking that the company must be held accountable for," said Colette McCadden, secretary of Frisco Unleaded.

Exide has been a target of critics in recent years because of lead emissions that exceed the US federal air-quality standard. That standard was tightened in 2008 because of mounting research into the dangers of exposure to the toxic metal at very low levels.

Exide are ceasing operation at the end of this year and the city is buying the land to re-generate.

Things are looking better for the company elsewhere however. In India Exide are planning to expand their manufacturing capacity. They will focus upon the invertor segment as opposed to automotive batteries.

New battery plant in South Korea

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

A plant to make components for lithium-ion batteries is to be built in South Korea by Belgian company Umicore. 

The high-tech recycler and specialist materials maker will double its capacity of the product as it expands into the market.  The plant should be operational in 2014 to make parts for rechargeable batteries.

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Lead surplus no more?

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Lead supplies could fall into deficit for the first time in five years.  Recycling of car batteries has stunted demand for raw resources but, with a growing market in Asia for electric bikes, industry demand for lead is rising.  

The 2012 global lead market is set to record a surplus of 144,000 metric tons. The price has declined in recent years due to this surplus, with value falling from US$2 700/t to $1 900/t from last year.

Demand for electric bikes should reduce the surplus and push prices up, lead producers would welcome this as prices have fallen steadily since 2007 when it was valued at US$3 890/t on the London Metal Exchange.

With lead producing factories closing in China and environmental concerns hindering expansion, the demand for lead is outstripping supply. 

SAFT go photovoltaic

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Saft is producing lithium-ion cells for Schuco’s photovoltaic energy storage system available this year. 
The system determines if energy is stored, consumed or sold back to the grid.  The system control unit detects how much self-generated electricity is available and combines this information with external data.  Electricity is only exported when production exceeds storage capacity.

New York battery plans to expand

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

General Electric Co said it will invest $70 million in its Schenectady battery plant in New York to double production and create 100 jobs there.  This will take the plant’s workforce 450 at full capacity.
The factory manufactures GE's Durathon batteries, which are half the size of conventional lead-acid batteries but last ten times longer.

Japan losing out in the supply chain game

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Japan is losing out to Chinese and South Korean competitors in supplying lithium-ion battery components around the world. In the 2011 financial year Japan supplied less than half of these key parts.

Global shipments of cathode and anode materials, separators and electrolytes are estimated to have grown 11.2% to US$70.2 million last fiscal year. Japanese firms' share fell 5.7% points to 46.6%, dipping below the 50% mark for the first time since 2008.

The Japanese Yano Research Institute believes Japan’s dominance was weakened following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that halted the supply of some essential parts around the country. This, combined with the strong yen cutting into Japan’s competitiveness, meant a demand for cheaper materials grew.  Another factor is the shift in South Korean battery manufacturers to use domestically made parts over imports.

 

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