Saft has expanded its Zuhai battery cells plant in China to ramp up production for rail projects in Asia.
The French battery maker said on 20 May its new assembly line for MRX and MSX nickel-cadmium battery cells— which increases the plant's production capacity by up to 19 megampere-hours per year— is Saft’s “most important development in Asia” since it moved Zuhai to its existing 12,000m² site.
France’s Saft and Chinese lead-acid battery group Tianneng Energy Technology have formed a joint venture (JV) to expand lithium-ion manufacturing and “scale up its e-mobility and energy storage businesses”.
The JV will “primarily focus on the development, manufacturing and sales of advanced lithium-ion cells, modules and packs”. Production will be based at Tianneng’s Changxing factory, with a potential annual manufacturing capacity of 5.5GWh.
“This is a first strategic move driven by Total, following its acquisition of Saft in 2016,” said Patrick Poyanné, CEO of Total, the French battery manufacturer’s parent company. “The JV will allow Saft to join forces with a Chinese partner, a world leading lead-acid battery manufacturer, willing to develop its lithium-ion activities.
KULR Technology will supply French battery maker Saft with innovative ‘internal short circuit’ (ISC) battery-testing devices to aid ongoing research into safety and the prevention of battery fires.
The ISCs, which replicate latent defects in batteries that can be some of the most common, serious, and hardest cell failures to detect, will be delivered early in the second quarter of 2019.
Batteries should be included on a “breakthrough technology shortlist” in preparation for a much-needed overhaul of US energy policy, according to an expert report.
Increased federal funding and private investment is needed to support an expansion of battery storage and other technologies “deemed to have very high breakthrough potential”— such as hydrogen, ‘smart grids’ and advanced nuclear, the ‘Advancing the Landscape of Clean Energy Innovation’ report said.
The US is also recommended to establish an “impartial entity to closely monitor” supplies of lithium, cobalt, graphite and other critical materials, which are “becoming strategic resources for enabling a clean energy future”.
Europe has “lost its edge” to China in the battery stakes— even before the EU’s proposed Batteries Alliance starts making cells, the boss of the company that owns French batteries firm Saft has said.
Patrick Pouyanné (pictured), the chairman and CEO of oil and gas giant Total, which acquired Saft in 2016, told broadcaster CNBC: “Quite frankly, Europe’s lost its edge, in this area, hasn’t it? The Chinese are now the world leaders in renewable energy.”
Pouyanné said he had spoken to German economy minister Peter Altmaier, who had “talked a lot about batteries, and how he thinks it’s an important direction” in which Europe should go.
France’s government is throwing its weight behind a French-led consortium spearheading development of “third and fourth generation” lithium-ion battery technology.
The country’s powerful National Industrial Council (CNI)— headed by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe— said it is backing batteries research by Saft and others to the tune of “at least” EUR10 million ($11.5m).
French battery firm Saft is teaming up with European companies for a seven-year programme to develop next generation batteries— “focusing on advanced high-density lithium-ion and solid-state technology”.
Saft, which is owned by French oil and gas giant Total, said German technology group Siemens and Belgium-based chemicals firm Solvay have already committed to join the R&D initiative that will “develop and industrialise” next generation batteries for “all markets” including electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
So Elon Musk has won his bet to build a 100MW storage battery for South Australia in 100 days and he doesn’t have to give it away free. Switch-on was due last Friday. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, who was due to visit the installation, said the battery storage system will help support South Australia during the upcoming summer season, and reduce its reliance on other states for additional energy.
The editor reflects: In 2002, I was one of a number of guests of SAFT and ABB to celebrate the commissioning of a 40MW battery in Fairbanks, Alaska.