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Caterpillar invests in Fisker for solid-state battery tech.

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

The Caterpillar engineering group’s investment arm, Caterpillar Venture Capital (CVC), has invested an undisclosed sum in Fisker— a Californian electric vehicle start-up that is developing solid-state battery technology.

Fisker told BEST Battery Briefing details of the deal were being kept under wraps. However, a spokesperson said the investment, involving “fundamentally different industries”, demonstrated the “mutually recognised importance that electrification solutions will represent to multiple business segments in the future”.

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UK’s Moixa expands smart battery tech in Japan

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

UK-based residential energy storage firm Moixa has rolled out its GridShare smart battery technology platform to 3,500 homes in Japan.

The move comes just eight months after Moixa agreed to export its battery tech to Japan— under a signed a partnership agreement with the country’s Itochu trading house.

Moixa’s roll-out announcement was made at the British embassy in Tokyo, where the company also launched a GridShare off-peak ‘smart tariff’ for residential battery owners.

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Monbat drops plans to acquire control of Assad

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Assad battery

Bulgarian lead-acid battery manufacturer Monbat has dropped plans to buy a majority stake in Tunisian lead firm Assad.

The decision to scrap the deal, announced last year, came amid reports of an alleged pending legal case concerning the land on which Assad built its production plant— and concern that Monbat would be unable to retain control of an Assad subsidiary in Algeria because of proceedings in that country.

Monbat declined to comment in detail, but a spokesperson said: “In the course of the final stage of the due diligence of L’accumulateur Tunisiene Assad, there were subsequent matters disclosed which are challenging the originally expected value creation and are increasing Monbat’s level of enterprise risk.”

Other projects being financed by Monbat’s recent corporate bond issue are under way and an update will be issued to investors in due course, the Sofia-based company said in a filing with Bulgaria’s Financial Supervision Commission.

Monbat said it would “sustain its investment selectivity and focus on those business projects in the current pipeline, which provide the best match between return and operational risk”.

Assad, founded in 1974, designs, manufacturers, distributes and recycles lead-acid batteries for applications, including automotive, marine, solar, industry and telecoms.

Assad has reported a combined annual production capacity of 1.2 million batteries. The firm’s recycling arm was launched in 2002 to recycle around 10,000 tons of used batteries from the Tunisian market each year.

Monbat was founded in 1959, privatised in 1998 and is now a leading European battery producer. The company has production and recycling plants in three countries and exports worldwide.

The full story is only available in our FREE weekly industry newsletter, so sign-up to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Monbat drops plans to acquire control of Assad

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Bulgarian lead-acid battery manufacturer Monbat has dropped plans to buy a majority stake in Tunisian lead firm Assad.

The decision to scrap the deal, announced last year, came amid reports of an alleged pending legal case concerning the land on which Assad built its production plant— and concern that Monbat would be unable to retain control of an Assad subsidiary in Algeria because of proceedings in that country.

Monbat declined to comment in detail, but a spokesperson said: “In the course of the final stage of the due diligence of L’accumulateur Tunisiene Assad, there were subsequent matters disclosed which are challenging the originally expected value creation and are increasing Monbat’s level of enterprise risk.”

The full story is only available in our FREE weekly industry newsletter, so sign-up to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Lithium Werks in China giga-investment deal

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Dutch lithium-ion battery producer Lithium Werks BV has signed a framework agreement to build a 60-hectare battery gigafactory in China’s Yangtze River Delta.

The agreement for the €1.6 billion (US$1.85bn) factory to produce cells for lithium-ion batteries was signed with the Zhejiang Jiashan Economic Development Zone Industry Corporation.

“With our Chinese partners’ help, and as we continue to grow both organically and through acquisitions, we will deliver the energy storage solutions that our customers increasingly ask for as the world transitions to clean energy,” said Lithium Werks chairman Kees Koolen (pictured centre).

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Toshiba expands ‘ahead of demand’ for SCiB batteries

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Toshiba SCiB

The social infrastructure arm of the Toshiba Group is to invest JPY16.2 billion (US$144.5m) to ramp up production of its SCiB rechargeable lithium-ion batteries by building an additional production facility.

The three-storey 27,000 sq. m facility, to be built at Toshiba Infrastructure Systems and Solutions’ (TISS) Yokohama complex, will also serve as a ‘production technology development centre’.

Toshiba said this would allow the firm “to respond positively to potential future expansion of the lithium-ion battery unit”.

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Cabot Corp, Saft in US low-cobalt cathode research

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected speciality chemicals firm the Cabot Corporation as a technology partner to develop low-cobalt cathodes for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.

Cabot will work with researchers at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and French battery maker Saft for the project. Argonne will assist in the synthesis of low-cobalt cathode compositions, while Saft will assist in the manufacture of batteries to validate performance of novel low-cobalt cathode formulations.

The DOE said it is investing a total of US$80 million “to explore more sustainable, affordable options” than cobalt— and “ultimately improve access to electric vehicle technology”.

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SolarEdge to acquire majority stake in Korea’s Kokam

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

US energy tech firm SolarEdge Technologies is to acquire a majority stake in South Korea battery manufacturer Kokam, ahead of plans to take full control of the company.

The acquisition of around 75% of outstanding equity shares of Kokam reflects an aggregate investment of approximately US$88 million, including related transaction expenses, SolarEdge said. 

The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks and SolarEdge plans to buy the remaining outstanding equity shares of Kokam— with the aim of Kokam becoming a subsidiary.

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Work starts on Mercedes’ Alabama EV battery plant

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Daimler has broken ground for an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Alabama for its Mercedes-Benz subsidiary.

A ceremony marking the start of construction at Tuscaloosa, just seven miles from Mercedes existing vehicle production site, came just weeks after German auto firms indicated they could pull the plug on new investments in battery manufacturing in the US, if forced to pay increased tariffs under the Trump administration’s “national security” review.

The battery plant is part of a US$1 billion investment in the US that will cover two million square feet— twice the size of Mercedes’ nearby site. The US plant will form part of an eight-strong global battery production network including plants in Germany, China and Thailand.

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Johnson Controls, Amara Raja sign India battery tech deal

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Jayadev Galla

India’s Amara Raja Batteries and Johnson Controls (JCI) have signed a technology collaboration deal to introduce “a new wave” of advanced battery technologies” to India.

The companies said they will expand their 20-year partnership “to share and improve product design and manufacturing technologies enabling higher performance across starting, lighting and ignition, enhanced flooded batteries and absorbent glass mat batteries. 

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