UK-based chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JM) has signed a long-term agreement to supply battery cathode material to Dutch lithium-ion producer, Lithium Werks (LW).
Under the agreement— which will run for five years, commencing 1 April 2019— JM will supply lithium iron phosphate (LFP) material manufactured at its Changzhou, China facility.
In September 2018, JM sold its automotive battery business to US-based Cummins, allowing the company to focus on “developing commercial battery materials for the full range of transport applications”.
Planning permission has been granted for a compound of “up to 25 battery storage units along with ancillary structures” in the English city of York.
According to documents filed with the City of York Council, the site “will have the potential to supply up to 50 megawatts of electrical power into the National Grid for a period of up to an hour”.
The council has granted permission for UK Battery Storage Ltd to operate the units for a 20-year period, after which “the site would be decommissioned and restored to its current state”.
The cost of recycling used electric vehicle batteries should be covered “at least in part” by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), according to proposals by Europe’s energy storage industry.
Such a move should form part of measures to “address the barriers that hamper the uptake of storage”, the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) has said in a new position paper.
The paper recommends EV batteries be used in the stationary energy storage market once they are no longer suitable for their initial purpose, describing it as “a significant opportunity for car and battery manufacturers, but also EV owners who would be able to replace a part of their initial investment in the EV battery”.
Europe is being urged to overhaul regulations to ensure more lithium-ion batteries are kept in the bloc for recycling— instead of being ‘lost’ when end-of-life electric vehicles are exported to be scrapped.
The Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, Eurobat, has warned the “relative scarcity of these batteries entering the recycling stream is currently preventing the development of a business case for recyclers”.
This makes lithium-based EV batteries a net ‘taker’ of raw materials, Eurobat said.
The Department of Energy (DoE) marked ‘National Battery Day’ in the US with the launch of the country’s first lithium-ion battery recycling centre.
The ‘ReCell Center’ has been set up at the Argonne National Laboratory to “help the United States grow a globally competitive recycling industry and reduce [its] reliance on foreign sources of battery materials”, the DoE said.
Lithium-ion batteries in the US are currently collected and recycled at a rate of less than 5%. The DoE aims to eventually “profitably capture 90% of all lithium based battery technologies”, and subsequently “recover 90% of the key materials” from lithium batteries.
Battery industry leaders have launched a campaign to combat the “serious threat” to lead-acid recycling operations from the disposal of lithium-ion batteries.
Lead battery trade industry body Battery Council International (BCI) said potential explosions caused by lithium batteries entering the recycling stream puts workers and equipment in recycling centres at risk.
But according to a BCI survey of 123 battery sorting and handling companies, 21% of respondents did not provide or receive training for new employees, 19% of respondents “were not sure” what to do with lithium batteries received and 5% indicated they “did not know the difference” between lead-acid and lithium batteries.
Fossil fuel giant Shell has acquired 100% of German battery storage firm Sonnen for an undisclosed sum.
The move comes less than a year after Sonnen raised €60 million (US$70.5m) in a financing round led by Shell.
Shell said the deal, which is subject to various regulatory approvals, aimed to “accelerate the building of a customer-focused energy system in support of Shell’s strategy to offer more and cleaner energy solutions to customers”.
German firms Triathlon Batteries and Jungheinrich have formed a joint venture company “focused on the production and recycling of lithium-ion battery systems”.
Jungheinrich, known as a forklift truck manufacturer, will have a 70% majority stake in the new company— JT Energy Systems— which is set to start operations in Glauchau in August 2019.
The partners, who both produce a range of lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, are staying tight-lipped about details of the new business and did not respond to BEST Battery Briefing’s requests for interviews.
US-based lead-acid battery maker Enersys has continued its push into the lithium sector by expanding its range of ‘NexSys’ motive power batteries.
Enersys said it is set to introduce advanced lithium-ion technology to the Nexsys line of high-performance motive power batteries with the launch of Nexsys ion this year.
The company said its expanded range will encompass superior thin plate pure lead (TPPL) and lithium-ion batteries “to offer a full spectrum of intelligent and flexible power options’ FOR electric material handling vehicles.