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Tests continue to prove spherodized vein graphite’s benefits to lithium-ion battery capabilities

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 13:43 -- Paul Crompton

Tests on cells have shown that Canadian mining firm Ceylon Graphite Corp’s vein graphite anode material can increase the specific discharge capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

Results showed cells using the vein graphite material reached 161 and 165 mAh/g for specific discharge capacity (SDC)— similar, commercially used synthetic graphite has a specific capacity of 153mAh/g.

Independent facility University College London (UCL) tested spherodized vein graphite materials in a lithium-ion cell.

Dan Brett, professor of electrochemical engineering at UCL, said: “These are very promising results and I’m excited at the prospect of Sri Lanka using this wonderful natural resource to play a major role in realising the ‘age of electrochemical power’ and achieving Net Zero.” 

Vein graphite from Sri Lanka does not require primary processing due to the high in situ grade—above 90%Cg— and could lower energy consumption of the end-to-end process of producing battery grade anode material relative to synthetic and flake graphite, said Ceylon CEO, Don Baxter 

Building on coin cell success

Earlier this year, the company received positive results from initial lithium-ion coin cell tests by UK organisation WMG, part of the University of Warwick’s Energy Innovation Centre.

Tests were conducted on commercial spherodized vein graphite material in a lithium-ion coin cell.

Results showed the cell had a 382mAh/g reversible capacity (RC), which is beyond that of commercially used synthetic graphite that has an RC of 363mAh/g. 

Data was collected from five separate coin cells using Ceylon’s graphite and material from commercial synthetic suppliers. 

Tests showed that at C/5 stable cycling gave an average reversible capacity of 353mAh/g with standard deviation 9mAh/g over 25 cycles compared to the Synthetic supplier 307mAh/g. 

The performance is due to the high crystallinity of Sri Lankan vein graphite, say the company.

The initial results show the suitability of the material for lithium-ion battery anodes for either stand alone or blending with synthetic graphite.

Graphite shortage

Last week, BEST reported how vehicle giant Tesla and battery behemoth SK Innovations were calling for a waiver on tariffs for graphite imported into the US from China.

Tesla is asking the US Government to waive tariffs on graphite coming from China – claiming it can’t get it elsewhere, reported US news outlet CNNC.

The firms are calling for the lifting of tariffs of 25% that were first introduced by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in September 2018.

The tariffs of graphite were made in response to China’s “unfair trade practices” conclusion in the Donald Trump administration’s Section 301 investigation.

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Tesla opens Canadian factory as it ups plans for commercial use of its 4680 lithium-ion cells

Tue, 11/16/2021 - 14:24 -- Paul Crompton

Electric vehicle pioneer Tesla has opened a factory in Canada to produce battery manufacturing equipment.

The facility in the city of Markham, Ontario will produce battery manufacturing equipment for use in the company’s gigafactories.

Tesla has not responded to BEST’s questions.

However, on social media platform Twitter, Markham’s city mayor Frank Scarpitti wrote on 4 November: “Welcome tesla look forward to official launch. You are a great edition the “future car” cluster of companies in City of Markham.”

The post included a image that read: "The facility will be the first branded Tesla Canada manufacturing facility in Canada and will produce state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment to be used at the Gigafactories located around the world in the production of batteries."

Markham City official Bryan Frois told news outlet Reuters that the Markham facility opened this summer, marking an expansion of another site in neighbouring Richmond Hill.

In 2019, Tesla bought Canada-based Hibar Systems, which offered advanced automated vacuum filling systems for lithium-ion battery applications for use in hybrid electric vehicles.

In September, 2020, Tesla senior vice president Andrew Baglino said at the firm’s Battery Day event that its "vertical integration" with Hibar and others would allow them to build batteries faster and scale up production of its 4680 battery cells, reported news outlet Reuters.

Tesla has been making the 4680 (80mm X 46mm) cells at its Kato facility in California, US.

The 4680 cells increase EV range by 16% and deliver six times more power over its existing 2170 batteries, which have an energy density of 247Wh/kg and a 4.8Ah/17.3Wh capacity, claim Tesla.

Last month, Tesla’s long-term battery partner Panasonic revealed a 4680 cell, which it plans to begin test production of next year.

Tesla signs material deal

Chinese lithium company Ganfeng Lithium, and its unit GFL International, have signed a contract to supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide to Tesla. 

Ganfeng supplies battery-grade lithium to EV producers including Tesla, with the latest deal to supply products to the OEM for three years starting from 2022.

The sales amount and value of the contract are still pending Tesla's purchase orders, according to the filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The deal comes following a 91% increase in lithium hydroxide CIF Asia prices this year to $19,250 a tonne, according to Benchmark’s Lithium Price Assessment. 

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Li-Cycle ups US lithium-ion battery recycling capacity to meet growing demand

Tue, 09/21/2021 - 13:46 -- Paul Crompton

Canadian firm Li-Cycle has confirmed it will build a fourth commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in North America.

The plant— called a spoke by the firm— in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will provide an initial processing capacity increase of up to 5,000 tonnes of manufacturing scrap and end-of-life batteries per year.

The Tuscaloosa site is also being developed to accommodate a future, second 5,000 tonne processing line, which would double capacity at the site.

The Alabama Spoke is due to start operations by mid-2022.

Spoke 4 will initially bring Li-cycle’s North American recycling capacity to 25,000 tonnes per year, and adds to the firm’s facilities in Ontario, Canada, New York, and a plant in Arizona, US, that is in advanced stage of construction.

The Arizona, Spoke 3, facility will process 10,000 tonnes of batteries per year when complete, effectively doubling the firm’s total recycling capacity in North America.

Tim Johnston, co-founder, and executive chairman of Li-Cycle, said: "Originally, we had planned on rolling out three commercial Spoke facilities in North America over the next five years, with a total recycling capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year. 

“However, demand for lithium-ion battery recycling has continued to outperform our forecasts and we are now forecasting total recycling capacity of 30,000 tonnes per year. 

“This Alabama facility is essential in filling a recycling gap in the southeastern United States. Like our Arizona Spoke, we expect the new facility to have the capability to process entire vehicle battery packs, without dismantling.”

Univar Solutions will be an anchor battery feed supply customer for the new facility, following on Li-Cycle’s previously announced on-site partnership with Univar Solutions to provide waste management solutions for electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery manufacturing.

Mercedes-Benz, US International (MBUSI) is working with Univar Solutions on end-of-life solutions for lithium-ion batteries.

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Pilot plant pushes NEO closer to lithium-ion silicon anode material commercialisation

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 09:23 -- Paul Crompton
me-metals schematic of silicon process

Canadian lithium-ion battery material firm NEO Battery Materials is on the verge of developing a first prototype of its silicon anode material.

NEO is in the scale-up phase of commercialisation following the successful integration of its silicon (Si) technology in commercial graphite anodes.

In phase one, NEO will provide graphite/Si mixture anode materials with different levels of Si content for controllable anode specific capacity. 

NEO reports it has achieved ~500 mAh/g, at a 70% capacity enhancement.

Spencer Huh, president and CEO of NEO, said: “The development of our prototype is part of our research to increase the specific capacity of our high silicon content anodes with graphite, and we are also onto a new strategic move into integrating NEO’s silicon with solid-state electrolytes. 

“We are in discussion with parties in the industry to explore and discover potential synergies and mutual benefit for NEO’s silicon anode technology.”

The firm has also announced the initiation of a pilot plant project where it intends to use in-house resources to design and test equipment that will use its single-step Si nanocoating process.

Sung Rock Hwang, chief operating officer and senior vice president of NEO, said the goal of the project was to establish a basic pilot-scale coating process design and to check the feasibility of NEO’s nanocoating technology for metallurgical-grade silicon.

He added: “Moreover, we are further focusing on a cost-effective separation method since it will capture the largest portion of energy consumption during our nanocoating pilot process. 

“The pilot plant project aims to prove the capacity of the Company to produce various sized Si materials ranging from ~50 nanometers to several micron-sized Si materials that are strategically important to conventional liquid-based Li-ion batteries and next generation all-solid-state batteries (ASSBs).”

The company’s directors, scientific advisors, and engineers are in the process of working on the conceptual design of the pilot plant, which marks the first step towards realising wide-scale production. 

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Mining firm buys rights to patented vanadium recovery process

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 09:17 -- Paul Crompton

Mining firm VanadiumCorp Resource has become the sole owner of a vanadium recovery process following a patent purchase agreement (PPA) with fellow Canada based Electrochem Technologies and Materials. 

The PPA sees VanadiumCorp take control of all patent rights for the VanadiumCorp-Electrochem Processing Technology (VEPT), including the entire intellectual property portfolio.

Call for lithium-ion battery transport loophole to be closed after battery blaze

Tue, 06/09/2020 - 15:06 -- Paul Crompton

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for a safety loophole to be closed after a fire destroyed a truck transporting large format lithium-ion batteries.

Recommendations by the independent US government agency responsible for investigating civil transportation have been made to address “gaps in the existing regulations” uncovered during the inquiry into the fire in Canada.

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Making a CAES for compressed air storage as Canada deploys first commercial system

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 15:03 -- Paul Crompton

The world’s first commercial compressed air energy storage (CAES) project has been completed in Canada by developers Hydrostor in partnership with NRStor Incorporated.

The 1.75MW/10+MWh Goderich A-CAES facility is contracted to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). 

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Battery materials firm hires lithium-ion expert to drive EV market penetration

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 14:54 -- Paul Crompton

Graphite One has appointed a lithium-ion battery expert as its new chief technology officer to lead the Canadian battery materials firm’s move into the electric vehicle market.

Dr. Shane Beattie will be responsible for leading the company’s plan to process and manufacture high grade coated spherical graphite products for electric vehicle batteries and energy storage systems.

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Hydrostor to deliver compressed air energy storage projects after funding round

Tue, 09/24/2019 - 15:32 -- Paul Crompton
Hydrostor to deliver compressed air energy storage projects after funding round

Hydrostor announced on 19 September that it had closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in its latest funding round as it aims to drive forward plans to commercialise its advanced compressed air energy storage (A-CAES) technology. 

The financing included a combination of equity, debt, project development and cash commitments, and an asset acquisition.

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Flow battery firm headed for Canadian stock market

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 10:17 -- Hugh Finzel

Vancouver-based flow battery manufacturer MGX Renewables expects to list its shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) after receiving conditional approval to do so.

MGX Minerals’ (MGXM) subsidiary ZincNyx was renamed MGX Renewables (MGXR) in 2018 and a plan of arrangement was unveiled to spin out 40% of the common shares of MGXR.

MGXR’s modular zinc-air flow batteries are targeted for long-duration energy storage and deliver power ranging from 20kW to 50MW, with scalable capacity of 120kWh to 1GW.

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