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Entek MoU signals lithium-ion battery seperator partnership with UK gigafactory

Thu, 06/24/2021 - 16:27 -- paul Crompton
Entek MoU signals lithium-ion battery sepertor partnership with UK gigafactory

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand a UK battery separator manufacturing supply chain has been signed between UK lithium-ion gigafactory developer Britishvolt and battery separator firm Entek.

Firming their ongoing collaboration, the MoU sets out a roadmap to use Entek’s separators in Britishvolt’s batteries with the goal of creating a scalable production of lithium battery separators in the UK.

The MoU also sets out potential investment in facilities at Entek’s battery separator plant in Newcastle-upon-tyne and a co-located facility within Britishvolt’s Blyth campus in the UK.

The deal is the foundation for a long-term separator supply agreement that will allow Entek to invest in the UK’s first lithium battery separator plant.  

Larry Keith, Entek CEO said: “We are delighted to have been selected as Britishvolt’s preferred lithium-ion battery separator partner and eager to align our objectives and investments with their transformational plans to build a 30+ gigawatt hour factory in the UK”.

Britishvolt is delighted to be entering into this non-binding aagreement with ENTEK to supply lithium-ion battery separators.

Colocation at Britishvolt’s site aims to reduce the length of the supply chain and the carbon footprint of battery production.

Entek has a long history of investing in its UK operations and is a natural partner for Britishvolt as it establishes itself as the premier Lithium battery manufacturer in the UK.  Together, ENTEK and Britishvolt are committed to the future of electrification of vehicles with products made domestically.

Earlier this year, Battery separator firm Entek signed a deal to acquire the majority stake in Nippon Sheet Glass’ (NSG) lead-acid battery separator business.

You can read more about Entek in the forthcoming BEST magazine, published in mid-July. Subscribe here to make sure you receive your copy.

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Australia to make lithium-ion batteries within months

Tue, 06/22/2021 - 16:22 -- paul Crompton
Australia to make lithium-ion batteries within months

The first Australia produced batteries are due to roll off the production line within weeks as Energy Renaissance moves closer to its goal of a domestic lithium-ion gigafactory.

The company aims to make its first cells at the interim plant in Tomago, New South Wales, by August.

The company is manufacturing its superRack energy storage systems using a combination of Australian and imported materials, but aims to be making batteries using 100% domestically sourced materials from 2024.

The 4,000 square-meter purpose-built, 36MWh per year lithium-ion manufacturing plant in Tomago cost of AUS$28 million ($20 million).

The company expects to transition to its 1GWh purpose-built battery manufacturing facility— Renaissance One— by February 2022 with the aim of growing capacity to 5.3GWh. 

Renaissance One will have an initially capacity of 200MWh per year when it is commissioned next February, with plans to ramp up to 800MWh per year depending on the final level of automation.

A company spokesman told BEST: “We secured the lease for a temporary facility in Tomago, NSW, to allow us to commence production of batteries by August.

“This means we will have Australian batteries available sooner than we had originally planned last October.

“We have commenced planning for the manufacturing of battery cells at a dedicated facility called Renaissance Two that will supply cells to the Renaissance One battery manufacturing facility. 

“At this stage, we are currently in the preliminary planning stages and we hope that Renaissance Two will commence operations in mid-2023.”

Last year the company secured AUS$246,625 ($175,000) co-funded grant to push forward plans for its Renaissance One plant, which will manufacture batteries for Australia and export to Southeast Asia.

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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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JV aims to build Italian lithium-ion gigafactory for motive and stationary application markets

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:31 -- paul Crompton
JV aims to build Italian lithium-ion gigafactory for motive and stationary application markets

A joint venture (JV) aims to produce lithium-ion batteries in Italy with the end goal of reaching a production capacity of more than 2GWh within five years.

Electric propulsion maker Fincantieri SI and energy storage system developer Faist Electronics have formed the JV Power4Future company to build a manufacturing facility, followed by the design, assembly, marketing and after-sales services for modules and battery packs.

Plans also include control devices such as battery management systems (BMS) and ancillary systems (such as fire protection and air conditioning for complete battery stationary systems).

Power4Future will target a number of markets, including: automotive (with particular reference to commercial vehicles), telecommunication and industrial (i.e. material handling machines).

The JV will also target marine and land-based energy storage applications where Faist Electronics and Fincantieri SI are already established.

Gianfranco Natali, president and founder of Faist Group, said: “In a green energy setting, lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems will be the new fuel tank for the maritime and land mobility of the future.”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: “Future environmental protection regulations will drive ship owners to adopt new alternative solutions to those currently based on internal combustion engines, in order to produce and use energy. 

“Faced with the need for greater storage capacity, lithium-ion batteries today are the only solution that is both technically and economically sustainable for full electric vessels, which currently makes them one of the most important assets not only for the naval industry, but also for all the other sectors where we will be able to operate with this new company.”

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Graphene boosted aluminium-ion cell show lithium-ion battery beating potential

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:25 -- paul Crompton
Graphene boosted aluminium-ion cell show lithium-ion battery beating potential

Initial tests on aluminium-ion coin cells can out perform lithium-ion, according to Australia’s Graphene Manufacturing Group and the University of Queensland.  

Performance tests were conducted on 1.7 volt coin cells using Graphene Manufacturing Group’s (GMG) patent-pending surface perforation of graphene. 

The tests were performed at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at University of Queensland (UQ). 

Results showed the cells reached 150-160Wh/kg and up to 7,000W/kg with the ability to charge an average phone battery in less than five minutes.

GMG aims to deliver commercial coin-cell prototypes for customer testing in six months and a commercial pouch-pack prototype—for consumer applications— for customer testing in 18 months. 

The technology works by making atomic size holes in the graphene, which allows the aluminium ions to penetrate and be held in the graphene to make a higher energy density.

The graphene is then placed on the battery’s cathode, while the anode is plain aluminium foil.

Dr Ashok Nanjundan (pictured, left), GMG’s chief scientific officer, said: “This is a real game-changing technology which can offer a real alternative with an interchangeable battery technology for the existing lithium-ion batteries in almost every application with GMG’s graphene and UQ’s patent-pending aluminium ion battery technology. 

“The current nominal voltage of our batteries is 1.7 volts, and work is being carried out to increase the voltage to directly replace existing batteries and which lead to higher energy densities.

“Furthermore, graphene aluminium-ion batteries provide major benefits in terms of longer battery life (over 2000 charge/discharge cycles testing so far with no deterioration in performance), battery safety (very low fire potential) and lower environmental impact (more recyclable).” 

In April, GMG and UQ signed a research agreement with AIBN to develop graphene aluminium-ion batteries.

Under the agreement, GMG will manufacture commercial battery prototypes for watches, phones, laptops, electric vehicles and grid storage with technology developed at the University of Queensland.

GMG has also signed a license agreement with Uniquest, the University of Queensland commercialisation company, for an exclusive license of the technology for battery cathodes.      

GMG’s CEO and managing director, Craig Nicol said the goal was to build a viable graphene and coin cell battery production facility in Australia. 

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Northvolt’s billion-dollar ‘milestone’ as it eyes German gigafactory

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:22 -- paul Crompton
Northvolt’s billion-dollar ‘milestone’ as it eyes German gigafactory

Battery firm Northvolt has raised a further $2.75 billion in private placement to drive its lithium-ion production capacity and R&D efforts.

The latest round of funding brings Northvolt’s combined financing to more than $6.5 billion in equity and debt as it plans at least 150GWh of deployed annual production capacity in Europe by 2030.

In order to meet its 2030 capacity target, Northvolt anticipates building at least two more gigafactories in Europe, and is actively exploring the opportunity of building the next in Germany.

The latest private placement was co-led by new investors AP funds 1-4, via the co-owned company 4 to 1 Investments, and Canada’s defined benefit pension plan OMERS.

Existing investors included Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Volkswagen Group. 

Also participating in the equity raise were owners AMF, ATP, Baillie Gifford, Baron Capital Group, Bridford Investments Limited, Compagnia di San Paolo through Fondaco Growth, Cristina Stenbeck, Daniel Ek, IMAS Foundation, EIT InnoEnergy, Norrsken VC, PCS Holding, Scania and Stena Metall Finans. 

Alexander Hartman, CFO of Northvolt said: “This is a new European industry in the making and it will require significant investments over the coming decade.”

Northvolt says it has secured more than $27 billion worth of contracts from customers, including: BMW, Fluence, Scania and Volkswagen.

Northvolt’s first gigafactory, Northvolt Ett, in Skellefteå, Sweden, is being expanded from 40GWh to 60GWh, and is due to begin production later this year.


Key Green milestone

The Northvolt plant is a key milestone in Europe’s industrial ramp up to achieve the European Green Deal objectives, according to EIT InnoEnergy.    

Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy, welcomed Northvolt’s new finacing round.

He said: “Northvolt represents a cornerstone in Europe’s ambition to create an annual €250 billion battery value chain by 2025, as envisioned in 2017 when European Commission Vice President Šefčovič launched the European Battery Alliance and mandated EIT InnoEnergy to lead the industrial ecosystem. 

“It is also a leading example of how Europe can create new industrial value chains, which are at the core of growth, job creation and competitiveness.”

The European Battery Alliance brings together more than 600 industrial, financial and innovation actors with the objective to build a strong, sustainable and competitive European industrial battery value chain, from mining to recycling.

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First New York lithium-ion cells made as consortium eyes 45GWh global capacity

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:14 -- paul Crompton

A consortium has made its first lithium-ion cells as it moves toward plans for a commercially viable 15GWh gigafactory in New York, US.

Imperium3 New York (iM3NY) has produced its first full sized prismatic cells for limited testing and customer sampling in Q3 of this year.

The first cells were produced using manual settings to refine the product design for future automated production. 

Imperium3 New York consortium consists of Magnis Energy, C4V LLC New York and Boston Energy and Innovation.

The consortium said the cells were the first stage of demonstration of its ability to synchronise material science, engineering and process knowledge to produce a commercially viable lithium-ion cell. 

A Magnis statement read: “While the volumes would increase with fully optimised and automated lines, the current phase works towards production grade design and de-risks design unknowns involved in the transition from pilot production to full scale production.”

The manufacturing plant will be located in the Huron Campus of Endicott, New York State, and will be the first of three global locations that Imperium3 will commence volume operations from. 

Plans also include a 15GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Townsville, Australia. 

In all, the consortium aims to build three 15GWh battery manufacturing plants servicing global markets such as Australasia, North America and the Middle East.

Australia’s abundance of raw battery materials has led another firm to launch plans for a 1.3GWh factory.

Energy Renaissance secured AUS$246,625 ($175,000) co-funded grant last year to push forward plans for its Renaissance One plant, which will manufacture batteries for Australia and export to Southeast Asia.

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18650 lithium-ion cell breakthrough announced by Nanograf

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 12:08 -- paul Crompton
18650 lithium-ion cell breakthrough announced by Nanograf

Advanced battery material company NanoGraf has developed a breakthrough silicon-anode based lithium-ion 18650 cylindrical cell.

The company claims its 3.8 Ah, 18650 cell can achieve 800 watt-hour per litre (Wh/L) and provides a 28% longer run time than traditional cell chemistries— although the cycle life was not disclosed. 

NanoGraf’s team of scientists, technologists, and engineers unveiled the cell they say could benefit any application from consumer electronics to electric vehicles thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.

NanoGraf president, Dr. Kurt Breitenkamp, said: “This is a breakthrough for the battery industry. Energy density has plateaued, only increasing eight percent or so over the last decade. 

“We just achieved a 10 percent increase in a little under a year. This is over a decade’s worth of innovation in one technology.” 

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

The funding required NanoGraf to develop a battery cell that can operate across a temperature range from -4°F to 131°F, and has a shelf life of more than two years.

In 2019, NanoGraf, formerly SiNode Systems, was awarded a $7.5 million grant to develop its graphite anode replacement product ahead of commercialisation plans.

The funding from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research, was awarded for a 36-month project.

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Sodium-ion trends as CATL announces plans to diversify into the technology

Fri, 06/11/2021 - 11:46 -- paul Crompton
Sodium-ion trends as CATL announces plans to diversify into the technology

UK battery maker Faradion has welcomed an announcement that lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) will begin making sodium-ion batteries from next month.

Faradion, which also makes sodium-ion batteries, said the decision underscores the importance of the technology as an integral part of a world beyond lithium.

Robin Zeng, the founder of Tesla's battery supplier CATL, reportedly made the announcement at a shareholder meeting.

A Faradion statement read: “This is a necessary transition: lithium-ion batteries used predominantly in EVs contain lithium, cobalt and copper, and in stationary energy storage lithium and copper. These are expensive raw materials and their mining leads to adverse environmental impacts. Lithium has also become constrained due to restricted availability and increased prices.

Faradion’s proprietary technology boasts performance of 150-160Wh/kg. 

In May, UK institute The Faraday Institution released its report ‘Sodium-ion Batteries: Inexpensive and Sustainable Energy Storage’.

The report outlined sodium-ion batteries promising cost, safety, sustainability and performance advantages over commercialised lithium-ion batteries. 

Key advantages include the use of widely available and inexpensive raw materials and a rapidly scalable technology based around existing lithium-ion production methods. 

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Recycling lithium-ion battery production waste into NMC cathode material

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 11:41 -- paul Crompton
Recycling lithium-ion battery production waste into NMC cathode material

Recycler American Manganese has reported the production of lithium-ion NMC (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide) cathode precursor material directly from recycled waste.

Through its independent R&D contractor Kemetco Research, the Canadian firm said the material had the same technical specification— particle morphology, size and distribution— found in conventional lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials.

The material was manufactured through the company’s RecycLiCo process.

American Manganese intends to enhance the processing flexibility of the RecycLiCo process by adjusting the ratio of leached metals before the end cathode precursor product is made. 

By adjusting the ratio of the leached metals, the company says it will be able to recycle older cathode chemistries, such as NMC-111, and transform the end product into cathode chemistries, such as NMC-622 or NMC-811, in a closed-loop process. 

The company will test this concept in its next production batch.

Larry Reaugh, president and CEO of American Manganese, said: “The feedstock material used in these recycling tests comes from lithium-ion battery production waste, which accounts for at least 10% of a gigafactory’s production capacity. 

“Therefore, by integrating the recycling process alongside gigafactories, we envision the recycling of battery production waste directly into cathode precursor material for use in battery re-manufacturing.”

Image: scanning electron microscopy scan of cathode precursor from recycled NMC cathode waste

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