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Albemarle to buy lithium producer Rockwood for $6.2 billion

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:32 -- Laura Varriale
Rockwwod lithium asset in Nevada

Chemical maker Albemarle is to pay $6.2 billion in stock and shares for lithium producer Rockwood to tap into the increasing demand for lithium.

Rockwood is one of the four big lithium producers that control about 90% of the lithium production market. The purchase of Rockwood will give Albemarle access to the company’s assets in the Atacama desert in Chile, providing a low-cost base for lithium production. Rockwood also has a site in Nevada, US.

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Bolivia’s first lithium-ion battery plant opens

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:08 -- Ruth Williams
The Uyuni Salt Flats hold up to 100m tonnes of lithium

Bolivia’s first lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant has opened in La Placa, a town near the Uyuni Salt Flat— the world’s largest lithium reserve.

The factory has been built by Chinese battery manufacturing company LinYi Dake from Shandong. A small team from LinYi Dake will oversee the plant that will employ 21 Bolivian operators.

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Solith pilot line for lithium-ion entry

Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:41 -- Editor

Despite the lack of take-off in the EV market, there are still plenty of new players trying to get into the lithium-ion battery market with new chemistries. But potential customers will only take these newcomers seriously if they can readily supply working cells and batteries for evaluation.

According to Giuseppe Bernini of Solith, a new player can get a pilot line capable of making sufficient cell stacks in a year for the most discerning customers and for less than €1m ($1.4m)— and in the smallest of dry rooms.

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M+W develops dryroom for lithium-ion cell manufacturing

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 21:14 -- Editor

M+W Group has launched a dryroom for the manufacture of lithium-ion battery cells.

The German firm says the M+W Isolator Dryroom makes it possible for the customer to obtain considerable savings in investment and operating costs thanks to so-called ‘mini-environments’. M+W says there is no more need for workers to enter the dryroom area as the process machines can be operated externally.

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Saft primary lithium batteries to power emergency signals for ‘eCall’ units

Thu, 09/26/2013 - 10:37 -- Editor

Saft is to supply primary lithium metal oxide batteries to automotive electronics firm Actia for ‘eCall’ safety device.

The batteries will provide emergency power for Actia's ACU-II (Automotive Communications Unit), a device that will be installed in new vehicles for Actia's high-end European car manufacturer customers.

The ACU-II provides services that improve the connectivity of motor vehicles, with the main application being for eCall, the new safety system that will be mandatory for all new European Union vehicles from 2015.

eCall devices detect when a car has experienced a  serious accident. The device then automatically contacts the emergency services with the car's exact location, direction of travel and number of passengers. 

As well as eCall functionality, the ACU-II will also provide drivers with the ability to track their car and control aspects of their vehicle through a smartphone application, for example locking or unlocking doors, or turning on the heater.

The batteries selected will power the ACU-II in emergency situations and have been specially designed to cope with this demanding automotive application.

Ralf Sauer, European Sales and Marketing Manager for Saft's Tadiran, said: "Drivers and passengers will benefit from the ability of Saft's AA sized lithium metal oxide batteries to hold a charge for many years."

Second team announced for E-racing series

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

China Racing has announced it will be taking part in the Formula E Championship electric vehicle race series in 2014. China Racing is the second of ten teams to be confirmed for the zero-emission race after UK-based Drayson Racing Technologies.

The teams will race on street circuits in ten cities across the world in electric cars. The cars for the inaugural year are being designed by McClaren, Spark Racing Technology and Dallara. All teams have the opportunity to use the customer car for the first year and encouraged to build their own cars for races in the following years. With support from Chinese automotive makers China Racing hopes to build a team car within three years.

(L-R): CEO Team China Racing – Steven Lu, Chairman Team China Racing - Yu Liu, FIA President - Jean Todt, First Secretary of the Chinese Embassy - Mr. Liang JianSheng, CEO Formula E Holdings - Alejandro Agag.

Alejandro Agag, Chief Executive Officer of Formula E Holdings said: “China has enormous potential for the expansion of electric vehicles as a tool to fight pollution in cities. We think the FIA Formula E Championship can be a powerful tool to make electric cars popular with the Chinese public, particularly the younger generations. Having a Chinese team with us in the Championship will be key to succeeding in that challenge.”

Porous Power separator reduces risk of thermal runaway

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Porous Power Technologies (PPT) has launched a line of ceramic-filled battery separators designed to improve the thermal stability and safety of the large-format lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, flat-cell consumer electronics, and high-power applications.

Under heat, the ceramic-filled polymer separators fuse together, leaving a thin film of ceramic particles between the electrodes and reduce the likelihood of hard shorts that can lead to thermal runaway and cell failure.

The ceramic particles are evenly distributed throughout the PPT chemically inert PVDF polymer. The particles reside primarily in the pore walls, leaving a large and uniform open pore structure that enable ions to pass through with less resistance and less heat generation.

The separators will provide greater power in high-current applications as well as having increased thermal stability with less cell degradation. The design offers reduced separator shrinkage, extended cycle life, higher bake-out and operating temperatures, and improved puncture and abuse resistance.

Smart heating system could cut bills and increase use of renewables

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

An energy efficient heating system offering efficiency savings of up to 20% could be key in the transition to low-carbon energy systems in Europe. This is according to a report commissioned by SSE (UK energy generators and distributors) and Dimplex (a global heating solutions firm).

The smart electric thermal storage (SETS) system works by storing up renewably produced energy when production is high but demand is low. The report indicated SETS could provide up to 54GW of additional flexible storage capacity across Europe by 2050, enabling renewable electricity to be stored when demand is low and used to heat homes when needed.

The system, first brought to the market by SEE and Dimplex in a product called Quantum, is intended to replace out-dated night storage heaters with something more efficient and with better room temperature control as well as being designed for smart grid integration.

The report found that if all 27 EU countries replaced storage heaters with SETS, savings of 7.4TWh of electricity and three mega-tons of CO2 could be made each year. If used in all electrically heated homes as much as 148GW could be provided by 2050.

Stuart Mackenzie, Managing Director of Dimplex, added: “Quantum offers consumers with electric storage heaters the opportunity to reduce their running costs by up to 27%. It’s also a Green Deal approved measure, so the capital cost outlay can be substantially reduced.”

Advances in charging for smart devices mean longer run times

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Chinese portable power company Powerocks has an ever growing range of mobile phone power boosting accessories. The high capacity portable batteries provide additional power for mobile and tablet devices that are compatible with USB ports.

The lithium-ion batteries can be charged form a mains power supply and then provide several re-charges for smart phones and tablet devices. The slim-line design of iPhones and the like mean the battery cannot be swapped with a spare, it must be recharged, resulting in companies coming up with novel ways to help users re-charge when travelling or away from mains charging.

The range includes the Stone series of portable batteries that offer between 5800mAh and 7800mAh capacity, which provide an additional three times power for devices; The Magicstick is the size of an AA cell and offers 2600mAH power on the go for phone devices. 

The MagicstickThe ultimate in portable battery is built into the phone cover. The interestingly named Cheese Crystal is a protective case for the iPhone4 that has an 1800mAH lithium-ion battery incorporated in it to double potential battery life.

When charged, Powerocks range can power up to two devices, dependant on model, two or three times. The designs are complimentary to Apple style and show these chargers can be sleek and elegant but still pack a lot of power.


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