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lithium

Canadian firm hires lithium battery expert to drive market acceptance and licensing

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 15:13 -- Paul Crompton
Canadian firm hires lithium battery expert to drive market acceptance and licensing

It seems any battery company worth its salt these days must have a lithium expert on its books, and Canadian materials firm Nano One Materials Corp is no different.

The Vancouver based start-up hired Joe Lowry as the company’s strategic advisor, CEO Dan Blondal announced last month.

Lowry was chosen for his knowledge of the entire lithium supply chain, including cathode manufacturers, products and regulatory agencies, said a Nano One spokesman.

Lowry said he believed the company’s innovative process had the potential to be a game changer in the lithium battery market.

“The technology has been shown to improve cost and performance across the spectrum of lithium ion battery cathode technologies and may enable the use of lower cost lithium raw materials,” he said.

Lowry had been in talks with the firm since January and made his decision to join the firm after a visit to its laboratory facility in Burnaby.

Nano One’s President John Lando said: “This visit solidified strong interest from both sides to form an advisory arrangement.

“I am confident that Joe will be instrumental in working with our executive in attracting strategic partners as we move forward with commercialising and licensing our patented technology.”

Lowry formed Global Lithium LLC as an advisory firm in 2012 after 20 years in the industry, including more than 15 years in the Japan and China markets.

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Don’t die… just get bought!

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:49 -- Paul Crompton

Now is a great time to sell your battery manufacturing business— to an oil company.

The age of oil isn’t over yet but those in fossil fuels know it’s coming, so now is the time to diversify. Some have been doing it for years— BP for example— an early entrant into solar energy.

So it’s hardly any surprise to see that SAFT, the French battery specialist,  just got snapped up by Total, the multinational but French rooted oil and gas corporation.

It only seems like yesterday that SAFT was trying to wriggle free from Alcatel, the French telecom player, back in the late 90s. The SAFT management were frustrated, merely being just a division in a business which was expanding in all directions— internet, cellular and the term ‘energy storage’ wasn’t really in executive vernacular. It is now.

SAFTs specialist lithium products have proven too costly for the hybrid and EV market but acceptable for the military and aerospace markets.

And while the company had at least one interesting liason with Johnson Controls, it seems to have been a little lack lustre of late— and maybe a little rudderless following the unexpected death of John Searle, its former chairman and highly energetic commercial manager, in 2014.

Maybe there’s a lesson here— that if battery companies are really going to reap the rewards of the energy storage market, they are going to have be part of bigger energy businesses with access to capital and management resources they sorely lack.

If you look east, the big players in batteries, LG Samsung and Panasonic are all part of much larger concerns in the electrical and electronics field.

Small is beautiful up to a point. But if energy storage is really going to change the world it needs to be part of something bigger. That might be one way that lead acid industry gets itself away from the abyss it could be heading for.

Consortium buys SPG mill to produce anode-ready materials for Li-ion batteries

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 13:04 -- Paul Crompton
Consortium buys SPG mill to produce anode-ready materials for Li-ion batteries

A new consortium has announced it will buy a mill that will produce anode-ready spherical graphite (SPG) for lithium batteries in the US.

The group has announced it will buy a micronising and spheronising mill to produce the material, which is critical for lithium-ion battery anode materials.

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Chinese lead-acid firms embrace lithium with a vengeance

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:00 -- Paul Crompton
Chinese lead-acid firms embrace lithium with a vengeance

Demand for electric vehicles has prompted Chinese lead-acid battery producers to embrace lithium— including two of the country’s biggest firms.

A plethora of lead-acid firms are adjusting their business model to include lithium-ion, with firms doubling lithium-ion output or building lithium battery plants in China, the Shanghai Metal Markets reports.

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Lithium battery at heart of UK project to harness offshore wind

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 11:49 -- Paul Crompton
Lithium battery at heart of UK project to harness offshore wind

The name might sound silly, but the project to install a 1MWh lithium battery storage system to harness wind power off the Scottish coast is anything but.

The ‘Batwind’ pilot system will see the battery connected to wind turbines located 25 km offshore in the North Sea to improve efficiency and lower costs for offshore wind.

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US regulators agree grid-scale lithium battery storage tests

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 16:00 -- Paul Crompton
US regulators agree grid-scale lithium battery storage tests

US State regulators have given utility-holding company Xcel Energy permission to test the use of large lithium batteries to store solar power.

The testing will take place at two sites in the Stapleton neighbourhood in Denver, Colorado.

On one site, Xcel will install a utility-scale power system at a car park at Denver International Airport.

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Europe’s biggest battery innovation centre opens to develop emerging chemistries

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 10:25 -- Paul Crompton
Europe’s biggest battery innovation centre opens to develop emerging chemistries

Amid a plethora of grants and developments boosting the UK’s battery industry this year, England has now been chosen as the home of Europe’s largest battery innovation centre.

The £50m Energy Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick (Warwick Manufacturing Group) opened this month to provide development space for new battery chemistries from concept to market ready technology.

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Japanese lithium battery maker moves into motorbikes

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 13:02 -- Paul Crompton
Japanese lithium battery maker moves into motorbikes

Japanese lithium-ion battery and energy storage systems manufacturer Eliiy has expanded its portfolio to include motorbike batteries.

Eliiy plans to complete a dedicated production line at its plant in Kawasaki to produce the batteries as an alternative to the traditional lead-acid starter batterie

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Philippines to get first battery-based storage system

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 09:52 -- Paul Crompton
Philippines to get first battery-based storage system

The first lithium battery-based energy storage facility in the Philippines is to be built by US-based firm AES.

The 10MW facility will be installed by the power technology developer next door to its 600MW Masinloc coal plant in Zambales.

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Korean firms fight for slice of Chinese EV market

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 15:15 -- Paul Crompton
Korean firms fight for slice of Chinese EV market

Just as Korean battery maker Samsung SDI claimed to be the first ‘top’ battery manufacturer to open an EV battery plant in China, competitor LG Chem says it has finished building a plant of its own.

Samsung says it has kicked off operations at its plant in Xi’an, central China, where it aims to produce 40,000 batteries a year. Further east, in Nanjing, LG Chem’s factory will churn out 50,000, the manufacturer claims.

Where LG Chem says it already has 16 local customers, including China’s top three automakers—Shanghai Automotive Group, Dongfeng Motor Group and the FAW Group—Samsung has only confirmed bus manufacturer Yutong and vehicle maker Foton.

In August, undisputed EV battery market leader Panasonic shut down a lithium-ion battery factory in Beijing, saying it wanted to concentrate on EV batteries—but the Japanese company has not reported any plans to do this in China.

The latest forecast by market research firm B3 showed that sales of electric vehicles in China grew more than five times to about 80,000 units in 2014, with the number projected to surge to 240,000 units next year.

The firm says the global market for EVs is forecast to reach 7.7 million vehicles by 2020, compared with 2.1 million in 2014.

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