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Lead battery maker Exide Industries once again announces plans to diversify into lithium-ion

Wed, 12/22/2021 - 16:50 -- Paul Crompton

Indian lead battery maker Exide Industries could be a step closer to building a “multi-gigawatt” lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant in the country.

The firm’s board of directors agreed to set up a green field lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in India during a meeting on 21 December, according to an exchange filing report by The Economic Times newspaper.

The exact size and location of the plant has not been disclosed, however, as far back as August 2019 India’s biggest lead-acid battery maker said it would start producing lithium-ion cells from a new plant in Gujarat, India

Although those plans were supposed to come to fruition in 2019.

A company press release hinted that expected electric vehicle penetration in India and lithium-ion battery-based storage solutions for both automotive and industrial applications were a reason for the expansion from lead to lithium batteries.

Exide Industries plans to apply for and participate in the country’s Ministry of Heavy Industries' production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC), according to reports.

India’s government cleared the Rs 18,100-crore ($2,4 billion) PLI scheme in May, which is aimed at promoting domestic battery manufacturing. 

Exide Industries MD and CEO Subir Chakraborty said: "The government is pushing electric vehicle manufacturing through a supportive policy framework and by providing incentives to the manufacturers in this space. As a result, lithium-ion battery-based storage solutions will gain prominence, for both automotive and industrial applications.

Investing in lithium-ion

The move into lithium-ion comes after Exide Industries announced it was focusing on ‘cost control’ and ‘technology upgradation’ to improve the bottom-line after COVID-19 caused a distribution in the supply chain in 2020.

The company announced on 3 August that its net turnover for the second quarter of the year ending 30 June, was down Rs.1,232 crore ($16 million) compared to year-on-year figures (Rs. 2,779.25 crore or $37 million).

In 2019, the company announced a plant was going to be built in Gjurat to produce cells exclusively for the domestic market, with the plant’s capacity being scaled up as demand for the firm’s products pick up

The plant was to built through the joint venture with Switzerland-based Leclanché, with the goal of targeting India’s burgeoning electric vehicle market.

In 2020, Exide Industries, increased its stake in Nexcharge— the lithium-ion joint venture (JV) it formed with Leclanché in 2018.

Lithium battery plants in India

In 2019, BEST reported the following plans for India’s lithium-ion industry:

  • The Tata Group has reportedly pledged INR4,000 crore ($600 million) towards building a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Gujarat, India. A 126-acre parcel of land in the area has already been secured for the plant, which could boast up to 10GW of capacity, according the Times of India.
  • Car maker Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL)— a 56.21% owned subsidiary of the Japanese OEM Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC)— has said it will commission its battery manufacturing plant in Hansalpur, Gujarat by the end of next year.
  • A joint project by SMC (50%), Toshiba (40%) and Denso (10%) plans to build a lithium-ion battery plant in Hansalpur with a reported IND1,151 crore ($180m) investment.
  • Suzuki Motor Gujarat— a 100% subsidiary of SMC—completed construction of its second Gujarat plant, bringing its combined EV production capabilities to 500,000 units a year.
  • Talks are under way for the Indian government’s first lithium-ion plant— a 1GWh factory to be built by state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and LIBCOIN consortium made up of Magnis Energy, Duggal Family Trust and Charge CCCV (C4V). It is part of the “Make in India, for India” programme and could be scaled up to 30GWh if the plans come to fruition. Incidentally, US-based C4V and Australian firm Magnis are part of the Imperium3 consortium planning to build a gigafactory in New York, US.
  • Billionaire Gautam Adani announced in January he would invest in a lithium battery manufacturing complex in Gujarat. 
  • The state of Telangana aims to establish a lithium-ion gigafactory, according to NITI Aayog. The state wants to build a 5GWh plant, and has set aside a 200-acre parcel of land near Hybrabad for the factory.


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New VP to drive ABC’s goal of commercialisation of bipolar lead battery energy storage

Wed, 12/22/2021 - 09:19 -- Paul Crompton

Bipolar lead battery developer Advanced Battery Concepts (ABC) has appointed Michael Armstrong as its vice president, energy storage.

Armstrong will help commercialise the US firm’s residential storage system ‘Home Emergency Energy Storage’ (HEES), which relies on its GreenSeal bipolar batteries.

ABC has identified several markets for its proprietary storage technology, including: wind farms, solar farms and conventional power generation stations. 

Economics and chemistry graduate Armstrong brings knowledge of market development, sales, project strategy and development to his new role.

His experience includes micro-grid project development, project-related technology financing, and managing business development activities for vertically integrated European and US manufacturers. 

Doctor Edward Shaffer, CEO of Advanced Battery Concepts, said: "We are very pleased to have Michael join the team, as he brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge about global energy storage markets.”

The company changed its business model to include energy storage technology and products following an extensive assessment and analysis of the energy marketplace, with the assistance of members of the University of Michigan's Ross Business School Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) program.

MAP, that provided perspectives on the US long-duration stationary energy storage market, also revealed global opportunities within the scope of ABC's portfolio.

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Gridtential’s latest deal will see its bipolar lead batteries made in India

Tue, 12/14/2021 - 13:19 -- Paul Crompton

Bipolar lead battery developer Gridtential Energy has signed a formal evaluation agreement with Luminous Power Technologies — a subsidiary of Schneider Electric.

Under the agreement, India-headquartered Luminous will evaluate a combination of Gridential’s 6V and 24V Silicon Joule reference batteries, and build prototype batteries using the latter’s development kits. 

By producing Silicon Joule batteries, Luminous aims to manufacture batteries by leveraging its existing production lines and expertise in solar materials.

Gridtential’s Silicon Joule battery technology substitutes treated silicon wafers, like those found in solar panels, for conventional lead grids to create a silicon-lead battery.

The US-based firm says the battery delivers up to 5X the power density, 2X the discharge rate at a 75% lower levelised cost of electricity than conventional lead batteries— although the firm is tight-lipped on the actual numbers to back up the claims. 

The International Energy Agency estimated that India could double its renewables capacity to 900GW by 2040 in its ‘India Energy Outlook 2021’ report.

Luminous managing director Vipul Sabharwal, said: "Advanced lead acid batteries like bipolar are an exciting breakthrough in lead battery technology, and Silicon Joule's innovation in this space provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to bring more added value to the customer in energy storage in Indian homes. 

“Energy storage is also going to be key for scaling up solar energy and this promises to be a suitable technology for our product development endeavours toward our customers in the future.”

Luminous brings decades of experience to the validation process as it evaluates impact on cycle life, energy density, battery efficiency, charging rates and manufacturability. 

Luminous sells batteries in 35 countries outside of India, spanning South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Gridtential has development agreements with 14 battery makers, including US manufacturer East Penn, which is currently making Silicon Joule reference batteries on a prototype line.

Series of lead battery deals

In June, Taiwan AGM battery technology firm Pilot Battery and Gridtential signed a formal evaluation agreement to target the energy storage systems market using the bipolar technology.

Much like the Luminous deal, Pilot is evaluating a combination of 6V and 24V Silicon Joule reference batteries, and will produce prototype batteries using Gridtential’s development kits in preparation for potential future production. 

In July, 2020, Gridtential Energy entered into a formal agreement to collaborate with flooded lead-acid battery firm US Battery on its bipolar battery technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, the firms will industrialise bipolar plate pasting and curing processes.

The previous month Gridtential had announced two other deals.

The first was a technology evaluation agreement with LOLC Advanced Technologies to develop bipolar lead batteries using technology from both firms.

Under the agreement, the companies are collaborating on prototyping lead batteries using Gridtential’s bipolar silicon plates and LOLC’s graphene additive AltaLABGX, which is applied to active material.

The second deal was with Indian battery maker Amara Raja Batteries.

The two companies entered into a formal technology evaluation agreement, with Amara and Gridtential assembling and testing Silicon Joule bipolar reference batteries

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Daramic doubles lead-acid battery separator production capacity at its India plant

Thu, 12/02/2021 - 13:48 -- Paul Crompton

Lead battery separator firm Daramic is set to double the capacity of its polyethylene (PE) separator manufacturing plant in India— just four years after opening the facility.

Daramic, an Asahi Kasei Group company, is expanding capacity at the plant in Dahej, Gujarat to meet the evolving needs of the lead-acid battery industry.

The expansion will enable the company to meet the full demand of Indian customers, as well as helping the firm ease the global supply chain challenges. 

The expansion will open export possibilities to adjacent geographies for its lead-acid battery separators in automotive, industrial and specialty applications. 

Chad Schuchmann, president of Daramic, said: “We are delighted to expand the operating footprint of our state-of-the-art Dahej plant, which will be leveraged to enhance our output and market presence in India. 

“The new production lines enable us to further strengthen our offerings, keep pace with anticipated market demand, and support the growth of the lead-acid battery industry that is set to grow substantially in the coming years. 

“With the current tightening of the global supply chain, Daramic is positioned to meet demand of all major customers in India, with the ability to export to adjoining geographies if needed. 

“Our Dahej plant is equipped to develop separators for batteries that meet modern requirements and create separator solutions that drive innovative market opportunities.” 

India's exciting market

Ahila Krishnamoorthy, managing director, Daramic, said: “India continues to be a very exciting market for us as we have witnessed significant growth in the country. 

“Today, we see a very strong future for lead-acid batteries in India, largely for innovative automotive solutions, industrial applications, and a growing demand for enhanced energy solutions from smaller cities. 

“These factors are expected to drive the lead-acid battery market at a rapid pace in the coming decade. Our investment reaffirms our confidence in the country’s future and we are committed to cater to the country’s growing energy demands. We are creating optimal conditions to meet the increasing market demand and we are well poised to support India’s growth.”

Daramic was established over 90 years ago, and today makes PE separators as well as phenolic resin- based separators for automotive, industrial and specialty applications in the lead-acid battery industry. 

The company has eight strategically located manufacturing facilities in the US, France, Germany, India, China and Thailand. 

Daramic began its India operations in Bangalore in 2008.

In addition to the manufacturing and finishing facility, Daramic has an R&D center in Dahej and a finishing plant in Himachal Pradesh. 

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ABC promotes COO to president to drive growth in its bipolar lead battery

Mon, 11/15/2021 - 13:48 -- Paul Crompton

Bipolar lead battery developer Advanced Battery Concepts has promoted its chief operating officer (COO) Michael Everett to president of the US firm.

Everett will lead industrialisation of the company’s processes and develop equipment required for OEMs to manufacture batteries using its patented GreenSeal technology at scale volumes.

The equipment will be for the continuous production of electrode assemblies including execution of novel and efficient transfer pasting methods.

Further development efforts include the architectural definition and the development of formation processes and equipment necessary to produce bipolar batteries. 

Everett said: "By industrialising and commercialising GreenSeal manufacturing equipment, the company has reached yet another significant milestone on its mission to make better batteries available to global energy storage markets.

"GreenSeal batteries unlock much higher value for the lead battery industry than historically achievable, as measured by the higher performance, longer lifetime and more efficient use of raw materials and resources in manufacturing, and there is more to come.”

Dr. Edward Shaffer, CEO and founder of ABC, said: "Michael has been a great addition and contributor to our team and its growth over the past two years. His ability to lead our industrialisation program and focus on process improvements has been a key to his promotion to president.” 

Everett, who joined ABC in 2019 as COO, has previously worked as CTO at ultracapacitor firm Maxwell Technologies and more recently senior vice president engineering at deep cycle lead battery firm Trojan Battery.

Residential storage system

ABC launched a residential storage system using lead batteries to address the growing need for emergency power in the US during September.

The system, called Home Emergency Energy Storage (HEES), relies on the firm’s patented GreenSeal bipolar batteries.

The HEES system can be situated in about eight-square feet of interior space preferably located near the main circuit box. 

The system can provide up to 6kW and draws upon a storage reserve of 18kWh to power critical loads. Run times can be up to two full days.

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Lead battery maker Clarios to raise capital with proposed initial public offering

Thu, 05/20/2021 - 08:35 -- Paul Crompton
Lead battery maker Clarios to raise capital with proposed initial public offering

Lead-acid and lithium-ion battery maker Clarios plans to go public after filing a draft registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed initial public offering(IPO) have not yet been determined. 

The IPO is expected to begin as soon as the commission finishes the review process, which is subject to market and other conditions. 

The initial public offering of its common stock comes two years after the US-based batteries business changed its name from Johnson Controls Power Solutions.

Johnson Controls’ battery business Power Solutions was sold for $13.2 billion in 2018 to Brookfield Business Partners (a publicly listed business services and industrials company of Brookfield Asset Management Inc.) and Canadian institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.


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US Battery partners with Gridtential Energy to mass market bipolar lead-acid batteries

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 15:57 -- Paul Crompton

Lead battery maker Gridtential Energy has entered into a formal agreement to collaborate on its Silicon Joule™ bipolar battery technology with flooded lead-acid battery firm US Battery.

Under the terms of the agreement, the firms will industrialise bipolar plate pasting and curing processes.

The partnership will also include assembling and testing Silicon Joule™ bipolar AGM batteries using US Battery’s active material.

The goal is to improve the batteries cycle life, energy density, battery efficiency, charging rates and manufacturability. 

Last month, Indian battery maker Amara Raja Batteries announced a partnership with Gridtential Energy to collaborate on bipolar lead-acid batteries— with the former assembling and testing the US-based firm’s Silicon Joule bipolar reference batteries. 

Read more about the reduced-cost and performance impvrovements that bipolar batteries offer in the latest edition of BESTmag by clicking HERE

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ABC begins bipolar lead battery tests to verify DCA capabilities in hybrid vehicles

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 10:43 -- Paul Crompton

US lead battery developer Advanced Battery Concepts (ABC) is set to begin a nine-month investigation into the performance capabilities of bipolar lead batteries in micro and mild-hybrid applications. 

ABC will submit its own batteries to automotive testing standards in a research project collaboration with the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI). 


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German lead battery maker Moll opens talks with investors following insolvency proceedings

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 09:59 -- Paul Crompton

German lead battery manufacturer, Akkumulatorenfabrik Moll has entered exploratory discussions with potential investors after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a fall in sales that led to the 75-year-old firm opening insolvency proceedings.

“Sensitive discussions” with potential investors are taking place with the goal of finding a rapid resolution in the interests of all parties involved, said the company on 18 June.

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COVID-19 forces lead battery recycler Recylex’s German subsidiaries to file for insolvency

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 11:42 -- Paul Crompton

The German operating units of French lead battery recycler Recylex have been forced by German law to request the opening of insolvency proceedings.

The management of the battery recycling subsidiaries Weser-Metall, Harz-Metall, Norzinco and PPM Pure Metals have applied to initiate a procedure known as "protective shield” in accordance to the German Insolvancy Code.

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