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Lithium-ion

Kore Power shortlists three sites for US lithium-ion manufacturing facility

Wed, 06/02/2021 - 10:35 -- paul Crompton
Kore Power shortlists three sites for US lithium-ion manufacturing facility

Battery maker Kore Power is a step closer this week to opening its US lithium-ion gigafactory.

Idaho-headquartered Kore has narrowed the site for its 12GWh plant down to either Arizona, Florida or Texas. 

The company plans to announce the site this summer. 

The decision comes just under two years after Kore first announced it would build a gigafactory in the US.

The planned one-million square-foot manufacturing facility will support up to 12GWh of battery cell production for the US’ lithium-ion battery supply chain for grid and electric vehicle applications. 

Kore’s executive team is looking at the quantitative monetary analysis of each location, as well as an in-depth qualitative evaluation of each state, region, and specific site before making a final decision.

The three sites were chosen for their energy storage, manufacturing and electric transportation opportunities. 

Other factors for selecting these states include: 

• Proximity to continental transportation arterials and international deep-water ports
• World-leading clean energy utilities
• Friendly tax, regulatory and strong pro-business environment 
• Established complimentary industries such as e-mobility, solar and semiconductor
• State and Local economic development incentivisation programs
• Available workforce capacity
• Local community support, cooperation, and commitment 

The project will operate with net-zero carbon emissions through strategic partnerships and solar-plus- and storage co-generation.

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Lithium-ion supply chain launches end-to-end cobalt traceability initiative

Fri, 05/28/2021 - 09:22 -- paul Crompton
Lithium-ion supply chain launches end-to-end cobalt traceability initiative

Companies from the lithium-ion industry will pilot a system for tracing responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the end product.

The Re|Source system will be piloted by metals and mining companies CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and Glencore in collaboration with battery material supplier Umicore.

An unnamed “global EV pioneer” and an unnamed “leading battery maker” are also part of the pilot. 

The pilot will run until the end of 2021, with the roll-out of the final solution expected next year.

The system will be tested in real operating conditions, from upstream cobalt production sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to downstream electric vehicle production sites.

Founded by CMOC, ERG and Glencore, and launched in 2019, Re|Source was later joined by Umicore, as well as the battery and EV company. 

The system uses various technologies, including: blockchain and Zero-Knowledge Proofs, to link digital flows with physical material flows on the ground. 

The system is supported by boutique technology studio Kryha, which is experienced in carbon footprint and metals traceability and known for projects with the World Economic Forum. 

Re|Source also has a direct link with the Battery Passport project of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), through ERG, Umicore, Glencore and other Re|Source pilot partners, members of the GBA. 

Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, said: “Blockchain technology offers us an unprecedented ability for traceability in the supply chain. 

"Through this pilot, we are supporting the development of this tool for our customers who seek to understand and demonstrate the origin of the cobalt units in their products. 

"But traceability is not enough on its own, it must be part of a wider industry effort to bring improvements to the entire cobalt supply chain. 

"This starts with responsible sourcing compliance, for example through RMI; the collective use of wider ESG standards such as CIRAF and ICMM; and supporting the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sector through multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA).”

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Systems Sunlight's assembly hub to reach US lithium-ion and lead battery market

Thu, 05/27/2021 - 09:15 -- paul Crompton
Sunlight systems’ assembly hub to reach US lithium-ion and lead battery market

Systems Sunlight, a member of Greece consortium Olympia Group, has launched a subsidiary to run a 2GWh assembly hub for lithium-ion and lead batteries within the US.

The new subsidiary, Sunlight Battery US, and assembly plant follow a $10 million investment.

Sunlight Battery US will run the hub in North Carolina, which will have a total floor plan of 105,000 square feet and an annual capacity of more than 2GWh in lithium and lead technologies. 

The US facility is the company’s largest assembly hub, and supplements its existing plant in Verona, Italy. 

Sunlight says the hub will help it serve existing and future customers and grow its US lead and lithium battery market. 

Systems Sunlight CEO, Lambros Bisalas said: “COVID-19 has highlighted the need and demand for green energy and the US requires innovation and battery production support to compete with the Asian market. 

“We have invested €105 million in R&D for innovative lithium technologies that will usher in a clean energy future. We are keen to utilise and apply this research to our product offerings in the US.”

Brian Faust, vice president-general manager at Sunlight Batteries USA, said the subsidiary would focus on its existing products as well as new technologies like lithium.

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Commercially ready anode-free sodium-metal battery developed in US

Tue, 05/25/2021 - 11:01 -- paul Crompton
Commercially ready anode-free sodium-metal battery developed in US

A US team from the Washington University in St. Louis has developed a stable sodium-ion coin cell that could one day replace lithium-ion batteries.

The ‘cheaper and smaller’ technology uses a thin layer of copper foil on the anode side of the battery as the current collector.

Taking into account only the active materials, the energy density of the tested coin cells were in the range of 310-340 Wh/kg.

For the 100 cycles, the team tested at 2C-rate and 3C-rate with the cells showing a >99.9% capacity retention rate per cycle, which projects the cells can run for more than 200 cycles before reaching 80% of the initial capacity.

The technology is ready for commercial tests and optimisation, say the team.

In the anode-free battery the ions are transformed into a metal where they plate themselves onto the copper foil, before dissolving when returning to the cathode.

The research was published 3 May in the journal Advanced Science.

Previously, anode-free batteries were unstable, and grew dendrites that were attributed to the reactivity of the alkali metals involved, namely sodium.   

The technology was made in the laboratory of Peng Bai, assistant professor in the university’s Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering.

Bai told BEST: “Our focus here was the anode, which by itself (in a control cell) can run for more than 7,000 hours without degradation. 

“But we need a better cathode to make the anode-free full cell to achieve longer cycle life. 

“Once the optimised cathode material, either from us or from another research group or company, is identified the technology will be ready for commercialisation. It doesn't require any special facilities other than what people currently use for lithium-ion batteries.”

He added: “Our demonstration shows that in terms of energy density it is comparable to lithium-ion batteries. So wherever people want to lower the cost of their lithium-ion batteries, they can use this anode-free sodium battery. They would not notice performance differences, but save a lot of money.” 

The cost-saving for manufacturing the anode-free sodium (Na) battery comes from three aspects: the anode material (no need for anode materials like graphite); anode processing (no need to fabricate the graphite anode laminate); and the cathode material (Na-based materials are cheaper than lithium-based materials for synthesizing the cathode).

The concept of replacing lithium with sodium and removing the anode isn’t new, but the problem has been developing an anode-free battery with a reasonable lifetime, said Bai.

Bingyuan Ma, the paper’s first author and a doctoral student in Bai’s laboratory, said: “In our discovery, there are no dendrites; the deposit is smooth, with a metal luster. 

“This kind of growth mode has never been observed for this kind of alkali metal.”

Watching the battery in action, the researchers saw shiny, smooth deposits of sodium, which eliminates morphological irregularities that can lead to the growth of dendrites.

Image: Bingyuan Ma holding a transparent capillary cell. Bai’s Lab at the McKelvey School of Engineering is the only one in the world with such diagnostic cells. (Courtesy: Bai Lab)

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PNNL develops system to prevent lithium-ion ESS fires before they start

Tue, 05/25/2021 - 10:54 -- paul Crompton

A team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a sensor system that can prevent dangerous conditions developing in outdoor lithium-ion battery cabinets. 

Supported by DOE’s Office of Electricity, IntelliVent automatically opens cabinet doors to prevent buildup of flammable gases if it detects smoke, heat, or gas.

The system can be retrofitted into cabinet-style battery enclosures, such as those used in stationary grid energy storage applications. 

Due to limitations of the product standard, the system is not designed to NFPA-69 (Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems). 

Intellivent, which is available for nonexclusive licensing, was designed to work with a variety of sensors.

A 15-month investigation in the US found that dendritic growth had caused cascading thermal runaway, which in turn caused an explosion at a lithium-ion battery storage facility operated by the Arizona Public Service (APS) utility.

The explosion in Surprise, Arizona, on 19 April, 2019, seriously injured four fire fighters. 

Contributing factors into the explosion included no ventilation for flammable ‘off-gasses’.

Bobby Ruiz, the fire chief in Peoria, Arizona, whose firefighters were injured in the explosion, said: "This is absolutely in the right direction. Getting all doors open early before gas buildup will make the incident safer. 

“It will also increase situational awareness by being able to see if the batteries are smoking or are on fire. And, if extinguishment is needed, we can direct the water right at the modules from a safe distance." 

The Snohomish County Public Utility District’s new Arlington Microgrid and Clean Energy Center, in Everett, Washington, will be the first to install the safety technology when it retrofits a 1.2 MW battery with the IntelliVent system.

Image: First caption for “IntelliVent” image: (but feel free to edit and/or just simply give credit to PNNL or Allan Tuan/PNNL) 

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USABC awards battery recycling development contract to US polytechnic

Mon, 05/24/2021 - 11:09 -- paul Crompton
USABC awards battery recycling development contract to US polytechnic

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, US, will begin a 36-month project to develop lithium-ion battery recycling technology following a $2 million contract.

The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC)— a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR)— awarded the contract, which includes a 50% cost share, to fund the phase III project.

The program, which began in March, will focus on lowering the cost and improving the performance of recycled battery cathode materials relative to equivalent commercially sourced materials. 

The Phase III program will focus on a higher nickel content material (versus Phase II) while also increasing the recycled content of the recycled material. 

Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that enable widespread commercialisation in vehicle applications. 

Steve Zimmer, executive director of USCAR, said: “This battery recycling contract with WPI is part of USABC’s broad battery technology research and development program.

“Programs like this are critical to advancing the technology needed to meet both near- and long-term goals that will enable broader scale vehicle electrification.” 

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Li-Cycle boosts lithium-ion battery recycling leadership ahead of merger plans

Fri, 05/21/2021 - 09:10 -- paul Crompton
Lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Corp has appointed Carl DeLuca as general counsel and corporate secretary and Lauren Choate as VP of human resources.

Lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Corp has appointed Carl DeLuca as general counsel and corporate secretary and Lauren Choate as VP of human resources.

DeLuca (right) will lead the Canadian firm’s legal and regulatory functions in support of the company’s global expansion plans, while Choate (left) will lead human resources functions and oversee talent management and acquisition. 

Both executives will report directly to co-founder, president and chief executive officer, Ajay Kochhar.

Li-Cycle also announced that, on 30 April, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had issued a final order approving the plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) in connection with the business combination agreement with Peridot Acquisition Corp. 

The closing of the Business Combination is expected in the second quarter of 2021 and remains subject to the approval of the shareholders of Peridot and the satisfaction or waiver of other customary closing conditions. 

Upon the closing of the Business Combination, the combined company will be named Li-Cycle Holdings Corp and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol, “LICY.”

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EU association formed to drive the continent's lithium-ion battery industry

Fri, 05/21/2021 - 08:53 -- paul Crompton
An association dedicated to building the European Union’s (EU) position in the lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing market was formed on 7 May.

An association dedicated to building the European Union’s (EU) position in the lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing market was formed on 7 May.

The LiPLANET Network, which is running as an association in founding, aims to form a network of research pilot lines for the production of lithium battery cells.

The European Commission-funded project aims to lay the foundation for establishing the Network during the two-year Horizon 2020 program. 

LiPLANET plans to “exploit synergies between pilot line operators, identify knowledge and equipment gaps, organise joint trainings, as well collaborate with industry and academia”.

By facilitating the access to market for its stakeholders, the long-term goal is to establish Europe as an internationally competitive production site for batteries.

The association’s founding organisations are: ABEE – Avesta Battery & Energy Engineering (Belgium); AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria); Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (Germany); CEA Liten (France); CIC EnergiGUNE (Spain); CIDETEC Energy Storage (Spain); Fraunhofer ISIT (Germany); and ZSW.

The Network will organise awareness workshops this year to inform participants about the ambition of the project as well as create a network of experts in the field of lithium-ion technologies.

Any pilot line interested in joining the Network has to take the LiPLANET survey and then contact info@liplanet.eu for more information. 

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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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