Regulators in California have been warned that new moves to increase pressure on producers of lead-acid batteries risk “hindering” state energy goals.
The warning came as the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) included lead batteries in its 2018-2020 draft priority product work plan.
EU leaders have been warned against ignoring lead-acid technology when selecting battery “winners” and bestowing alternative chemistries with millions of euros in fresh funding for advanced battery research.
The warning from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) came as the European Commission revealed plans to launch a EUR1bn ($1.1bn) “Future Emerging Technologies Flagship initiative”— to support long-term research in advanced battery technologies for a 10-year period from 2025.
One of China’s biggest lead battery manufacturers, the Chilwee Group, has said it expects to see first half-year profits “fall sharply” because of falling prices triggered by “overcapacity” in the domestic lead-acid sector.
Chilwee (also known as Chaowei) said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange announcement estimated profits would be down in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period a year ago— but the company did not give figures.
The growing impact of lithium-ion power in the traditional lead acid traction market could be seen last week at Modex in Atlanta— a major US supply chain trade fair.
Exide, one of the USA’s big four and predominantly lead-acid makes, launched a lithium-ion battery aimed the forklift and autonomous guided vehicle market while Navitas announced a lithium-ion deal with Hyster— one of the largest global players in materials handling equipment.
An independent report by Germany’s independent and non-profit Oeko-Institut has urged the European Union that, when it comes to lithium batteries, to follow the example set by the lead-acid industry in recycling batteries to create a “sustainable” system for conserving raw materials and reusing EV batteries for energy storage.
But the report— ‘Ensuring a Sustainable Supply of Raw Materials for Electric Vehicles’— shows EU leaders that China is already “well ahead” in having a “transparent” structure that efficiently regulates the use of materials in the electro-mobility sector, the Institute said.
The prestigious Japan Prize for science and technology has been awarded to Dr Akira Yoshino for his “significant contributions” to development of the lithium-ion battery, US-based separator firm Daramic has announced.
Dr Yoshino is a fellow of Japan’s Asahi Kasei, of which Daramic is a subsidiary.
Johnson Controls International (JCI), the biggest western player in the global battery market has fuelled speculation that it could be preparing to sell its Power Solutions division— essentially all of its lead-acid and lithium business.
And sources have told BBB the most likely buyer will be a Chinese player— perhaps Camel or Chilwee (also known as Chaowei) who both have the financial muscle to pull off such a deal.
A backdoor attempt to “choke off” supplies of key raw materials for Europe’s lead-acid battery industry could face a legal battle, BBB can reveal.
The move was sparked by proposals from the Swedish Chemicals Agency to have lead metal classified as “substances of very high concern” (SVHC) under EU health and environmental rules.
Battery industry leaders in Germany say there is currently “no business case” for “politically-inspired” plans by the European Union to build at least 10 Gigafactories across the bloc for lithium-based batteries.
EU energy chief Maroš Šefčovič said last week the Gigafactories would be needed to produce “green European batteries” for new electric vehicles produced in Europe— and to combat Asia’s increasing dominance in the EV batteries sector.