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Microvast reveals plans for US lithium-ion battery plant to meet EV demand

Fri, 03/05/2021 - 10:29 -- Vic

Electric vehicle battery developer Microvast has announced plans to establish a new manufacturing lithium-ion facility in Tennessee, US.

The US-based firm plans to invest $220 million to renovate and expand a facility in Clarksville to manufacture battery cells, modules and packs. 

The announcement comes two years after it entered into consultation with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a lithium-ion battery facility in the US. 

On 2 February, Microvast signed a definitive merger agreement with Tuscan Holdings to allow it to become a publicly listed company. The merger is expected to provide up to $822 million in gross cash proceeds, to fund capacity expansion and to position the company to take advantage of signed contracts worth more than $1.5 billion.

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New SVP at NanoGraf to lead development of its silicon material for lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 03/04/2021 - 10:35 -- Vic
Dr In Kim NanoGraf

Lithium-ion battery material company NanoGraf has appointed Doctor In Kim as senior vice-president of its silicon anode technology development. 

Dr. Kim will oversee the research and development arm of NanoGraf and lead the company’s team of scientists, technologists and engineers.

Dr. Kim said: “I’m excited to join a team disrupting and redefining silicon-anode battery technology as NanoGraf continues to enable and accelerate main-stream adoption of cleaner, higher performing, and more sustainable lithium-ion batteries.”

Prior to joining the NanoGraf team, Dr. Kim served as vice president of Samsung SDI in 2020, and served as vice president of Samsung SDI Korea for the Next Generation Battery Innovation Group. 

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded NanoGraf a $1.65 million grant to develop longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries to power US military equipment. 

In 2019, the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium awarded the company $7.5 million to advance EV battery research and development. 

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Northvolt invests $200 million to build lithium-ion Gigafactory in Poland

Thu, 03/04/2021 - 10:27 -- Vic
Peter Carlsson, CEO Northvolt

Swedish battery developer and manufacturer Northvolt has laid out plans to build a new 50,000m2 factory in Gdańsk, Poland. 

Following their start up of a battery systems industrialisation plant in Gdańsk in 2019, Northvolt aim to deliver a project that will facilitate expansion in the manufacturing capacity of the sustainable battery solutions.

The initial phase of construction will begin in autumn, with commisioning due next year.

The first phase aims to establish an annual output of 5GWh of module packs. The second phase will potentially ramp it up to 12GWh.

The project will create 500 new jobs in the Gdańsk area across the factory expansion and an engineering R&D centre of excellence.

The new factory will receive its supply of lithium-ion cells from Northvolt Ett in Skellefteå, Sweden. In keeping with the Swedish platform, the new factory will be powered with renewable energy, including onsite renewable energy generation.

Peter Carlsson, co-founder and CEO of Northvolt, said: “Securing battery cell manufacturing capacity in Europe is key for its industrial future, but what is equally critical is the industrial capacity for integrating cells into real-world solutions. It is this that the new factory will deliver— sophisticated, sustainable energy storage systems to support the transformation of Europe’s electricity grid and its industry.”

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MoU signals intent to build a lithium-ion plant in India

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 10:16 -- Vic

Battery makers Barrel Energy and India-based Roshan Energy Technologies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop and produce lithium-ion batteries in India and North America.

US firm Barrel aims to expand into the Indian and international markets after becoming a majority stakeholder in Hyderabad-headquartered Roshan. 

Under the plans, the firms will build a lithium-ion battery plant in India before establishing a US-based manufacturing unit and a joint R&D division in conjunction with Barrels’ Nevada tech center. 

Ashok Shukla, a professor emeritus with 40 years research experience of specialised batteries and more than 350 published technical papers, is leading the Nevada team to design solutions for battery development, improvement, and recycling.

The Nevada research and technology centre was opened on 8 February, to increase Barrel’s efforts into lithium-ion battery metal recycling and potential battery development and direct metal ion extraction.

In the same week as the MoU, Barrel announced the appointment of Stuart Philip Hensman to the company’s board of directors.

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Amara Raja sets up lithium-ion cells technical hub at Tirupati

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 10:13 -- Vic
Amara Raja Tirupati

Lead battery firm Amara Raja Batteries has opened India’s first technology hub to develop lithium-ion cells, at its Tirupati facility in Andhra Pradesh. Most of India’s electric vehicle (EV) makers import cells from China.

The advanced lithium-ion technology research hub— the pilot project located at its headquarters in Tirupati— will become the country's first lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in the private sector over the next few years, Amara Raja Batteries CEO, Samudrala Vijayanand, told Press Trust of India.

Despite pushing lithium-ion cell development, Vijayanand feels lead-acid batteries will continue to grow for at least a few more decades and that lithium cells used in electric vehicles will take time to get commercial traction. 

Electric mobility will be led by two- and three-wheelers to begin with in India, primarily because of the higher cost of ownership for four-wheeler EVs, he said.

Vijayanand expects that by 2025, the penetration of two-and three-wheelers will touch 20-25% in the country. The numbers are skewed towards three-wheelers as they are commercially more viable and such a level of penetration can give the critical mass for EV adoption.

The second phase will see the EV industry and its attendant ecosystem maturing, with passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles going electric, and this should happen during 2025-30. "As I see it, private four-wheeler adoption should begin by 2025-27," said Vijayanand.

In January 2019, Amara Raja entered into a technology transfer agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 

Under the technology transfer, ISRO will help these companies set up lithium-ion cell manufacturing units and train their staff.

Subsidies to boost development

Vijayanand also said EV development in general, and lithium-ion batteries in particular, should get a boost with government subsidies under the local production-linked incentive scheme announced last November.

The PLI scheme has earmarked Rs 18,000 crore ($2.5 billion) towards the advanced cell chemistry, which aims to bring at least 50GW of lithium-ion batteries to the market.

On the raw material availability to enable local manufacturing of lithium cells, Vijayanand said more than two-thirds of them are domestically available, only critical minerals have to be imported. For the supply of these minerals, the government is already in talks with Latin American countries and Australia.

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Recycler signs deal to produce black mass from used lithium-ion e-bus batteries

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 08:56 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion battery recycling company Li-Cycle Corp has completed its battery recycling pilot plant where the Canadian produced black mass— a mixture of lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper— from used lithium-ion batteries.

The Canadian firm received 45 end-of-life lithium-ion battery modules from e-busses totalling 3,200 pounds from New Flyer Industries Canada and New Flyer of America— subsidiaries of bus manufacturer NFI Group— in Q4 of 2020.

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Start-ups secure funding to drive lithium-ion battery market in India

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 15:06 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion electric vehicle battery manufacturing and recycling start-up Lohum Cleantech has raised $7 million to expand its manufacturing and recycling capabilities and expand its presence to the US in the coming months.

The New Delhi, India, firm secured the cash during a round of funding from institutional investors led by Baring Private Equity Partners (BPEP). 

Lohum aims to increase its combined manufacturing and recycling capacity to 700MWh, from 150MWh for the former and 150MWh for the latter. 

Its manufacturing plant in Greater Noida has the capacity to produce battery packs for 75,000 electric two-wheelers, according to Lohum CEO Rajat Verma.

Verma told the Indian English language newspaper The Economic Times the company was looking to raise an additional $20 million in funding (INR 150 Crore) over the next year. 

Lohum assembles lithium-ion batteries from cells imported from other countries, including China and Taiwan.

It follows Mumbai-based electric vehicle and energy storage company Gegadyne raising $5 million in strategic investment from electrical appliances giant V-Guard. 

This investment will enable Gegadyne Energy to scale up its operations and further enhance research and development.

Founded in 2015, Gegadyne says its battery consists of proprietary nano-material composites and ‘advanced battery architectures’ that enable quick charging batteries with high energy density similar to lithium-ion batteries.

However, it is not clear what chemistry its battery uses but it claims to be able to charge in 15 minutes.

JAC Motors partners with CBAK to design lithium-ion batteries for China’s EV market

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 10:55 -- Paul Crompton

China-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer CBAK Energy Technology has signed a three-year strategic agreement with state-owned vehicle OEM Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motors).

The strategic agreement will combine the former's battery knowledge in the research, development, and manufacturing of battery cells with the latter's technology capabilities in the electric vehicle industry. 


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Norwegian gigafactory firm signs lithium-ion battery technology deal

Thu, 01/14/2021 - 15:25 -- Paul Crompton

Norwegian gigafactory firm Freyr has signed a definitive license and services agreement to use 24M’s SemiSolid lithium-ion battery platform technology at its planned facilities in Mo i Rana, Norway.

24M has drastically reduced the number of steps required to manufacture traditional battery cells, while still using conventional lithium-ion raw materials. 

Freyr expects this will reduce the capital expenditures and enable ‘substantial operational cost saving’ while increasing production throughput through a highly flexible production platform that works across all chemistries and can be re-tooled for various sized batteries and cathode and anode chemistries.

Tom Jensen, the CEO of Freyr, said: “24M has fundamentally redesigned the traditional lithium-ion cell technology and production platform, delivering higher energy density per battery while enabling substantial reduction in capex, operating costs, CO2 emissions and physical footprint of the manufacturing facility as compared to conventional solutions.”

In June 2019, Japan firm Kyocera began pilot production of 24M’s SemiSolid battery technology to validate its use in residential energy storage systems in the Japanese market.

Freyr is targeting the development of more than 40GWh of scalable, modular battery cell production capacity via a phased development approach using deep partnership-based strategies, including in-licensing of next generation technologies. 

In December, Freyr signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with mining company Glencore International for the potential supply of ethically sourced and traceable raw materials.  



Record breaking lithium-ion ESS commissioned in US

Thu, 01/07/2021 - 10:26 -- Paul Crompton

The world’s largest lithium-ion energy storage system has come online in the US, Vistra Energy announced on 6 January.

The300MW/1.2GWh system, at Vistra's Moss Landing Power Plant in Monterey County, California, was connected to the power grid and began operating on 11 December.

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