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China’s LFP and ternary lithium-ion battery output show healthy growth during 2021

Tue, 12/21/2021 - 09:43 -- Paul Crompton

China’s output of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and ternary batteries rose 121% last month, according to the China Automotive Manufacturers Association (CAAM).

In November, China’s LFP and ternary—nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and nickel-cobalt-aluminium oxide (NCA)— battery output reached 28GWh (up by 12.4% the previous month).

Lithium iron phosphate battery production reached 17.8GWh—up 229% year-on-year (yoy), last month; with 10.4GWh of NCM and NCA batteries produced in November— up 42% from the previous year.

Total production of LFP batteries reached 188GWh between January and November this year (up 275.7% yoy), with NCM/NCA production reaching 105GWh (up 106% yoy) in the same time frame.

Cobalt sulphate and nickel sulphate— key materials in ternary lithium-ion batteries— cost as much as at Yn96,500/t ($15,154) and Yn36,000/t ($5,653) respectively, having risen by 68% and 16% since the start of this year, according to an assessment by Argus Media on 9 December.

The average price of an NMC (811) cell was $10/kWh higher in the fourth quarter of this year than it was in the first three months of 2021, with prices now closing in on $110/kWh, estimates industry analysts Bloomberg BNEF.

Newly installed volume

Total installed volume of batteries was 20.8GWh last month, and reached 128.3GWh for the year from January to November 

Of that total, LFP made up 11.6GWh— a rise of 145% yoy— and 64.8GWH between January to November— a rise of 270% yoy.

China's battery behemoths CATL (65.93GWh), BYD (21.34GWh) and China Aviation LB (7.5GWh) were the top three battery manufacturers for installed volumes between January-November, accounting for 51.4%, 16.6% and 5.8% of the overall total, respectively.

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CATL backed firm announces plans to manufacturer 480,000 t/yr of lithium-ion battery materials

Wed, 12/15/2021 - 13:03 -- Paul Crompton

Chinese battery materials firm Guangdong Brunp Recycling Technology has begun building a lithium-ion battery cathode active material (CAM) plant in central China's Hubei province.

The project aims to meet increased demand from the new energy vehicle (NEV) industry on battery makers including Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), which owns a 53% stake in Guangdong.

The 32-billion yuan ($4.9 billion) project will include production of 360,000 tonnes per year (t/yr) for iron phosphate; 220,000 t/yr for lithium iron phosphate (LFP); 180,000 t/yr for NCM precursor and NCM; 40,000 t/yr for lithium cobalt oxide (LCO); 40,000 t/yr for recycled graphite. 

The first phase is expected to start production in 2023 and be completed two years later, with its CAM output sufficient to equip more than four million NEVs.

Guangdong Brunp has an output capacity of 100,000 t/yr for NCM precursor and 20,000 t/yr for NCM material. 

It has previously invested in a high-pressure acid leaching project in Indonesia to produce mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate, in partnership with Chinese cobalt refinery and battery material producer Green Eco-Manufacture (GEM) and domestic steel producer Tsingshan. 

That project is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of next year with 50,000 t/yr capacity of nickel metal equivalent and 5,000 t/yr of cobalt metal equivalent. 

Brunp also recycles cobalt/nickel/lithium scrap into raw materials.

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CATL breaks ground on 50GWh battery plant in China

Thu, 11/11/2021 - 10:26 -- Paul Crompton

Battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has broken ground on a 50GWh lithium-ion battery production base in Yichun, east China’s Jiangxi Province. 

The first phase of the project involves an investment of 13.5 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) and is a cornerstone of the Yichun city’s plans to develop itself into a sustainable lithium-ion battery hub in Asia.

The plant is part of CATL’s wider plans for increasing its energy storage presence.

On 22 October, CATL signed a strategic cooperation agreement with state-controlled power generation company China Huadian to jointly develop energy storage, new energy, and integrated smart energy projects, reported Argus Media.

The firms had previously agreed to build a 100/200MWh lithium-ion energy storage project in Tengzhou in east China's Shandong province— however, further details have not yet been released.

In October, the firm also signed an agreement with state-owned mining and energy comany China Energy Investment Corporation (China Energy) to strengthen their partnership on new energy storage technology system and application scenarios.

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BASF and SVOLT partner to advance materials development and battery recycling

Fri, 11/05/2021 - 10:09 -- Paul Crompton

German chemicals firm BASF and lithium-ion battery maker SVOLT— a spin out from China’s vehicle OEM Great Wall Motors— have formed a cradle-to-grave partnership.

The agreement will see both parties, throughout their global operations, work together on cathode active materials (CAM) development, raw materials supply and battery recycling for SVOLT’s battery cells.

The cooperation will also enhance the research and development (R&D) capabilities for both companies in sustainable battery materials and strengthen both parties’ core competitiveness in the Chinese battery market and globally.

Both companies will also assess joint upstream resourcing to strengthen the security of raw material supply.

Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, president, catalysts division at BASF, said the strategic partnership would boost his firm’s position in the battery materials market.

BASF has established a position in the CAM market including a global manufacturing and R&D footprint, and a portfolio of mid- to high-nickel, manganese-rich, cobalt-free CAM.

SVOLT has seven global R&D centres in: China (Wuxi, Baoding, Shanghai and Shenzhen) Japan, Korea and India.

It manufactures cobalt-free batteries, solid-state batteries, with automotive-grade AI intelligent manufacturing, using its high-speed stacking technology.

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Chinese firm plans to build out 160,000tpa of lithium-ion materials capability by 2024

Wed, 10/06/2021 - 09:56 -- Paul Crompton

China-based cathode research and development firm XTC New Energy Materials is planning to invest at least $1.55 billion (CNY10 billion) in a lithium battery materials project in Sichuan province.

The project includes a plant to manufacture 100,000tpa of lithium iron phosphate and 60,000tpa of ternary materials, according to news outlet Reuters.

A letter of intent has been signed by XTC and Yaan Economic and Technological Development Zone in Sichuan, south-west China, according to reports.

The company is principally engaged in the research and development, production and sales of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries; with its main products being lithium cobalt oxide and nickel-cobalt-manganese ternary materials, including nickel, cobalt and manganese.

The plant is due to be built in stages, with Phase I having 20,000tpa manufacturing capacity for lithium iron phosphate and 20,000tpa for ternary materials.

The lithium iron phosphate component of the project is due to be commissioned in 2023 at an estimated cost of $190 million (CNY1.2 billion), 

The ternary materials component is expected to cost $340 million (CNY2.2 billion), and is scheduled for commissioning in 2024.

The project will also include a 10,000tpa nickel and cobalt smelter for battery recycling. 

XTC, a unit of metals and rare earths producer Xiamen Tungsten, is due to submit a feasibility study to its board and plans to fund the project from bank loans.

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SK Innovations to invest $1B in new China plant to meet forecast demand of lithium-ion batteries

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 15:17 -- Paul Crompton

South Korea's SK Innovation is set to invest 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion) in a new battery factory in China, as it looks to ramp up lithium-ion battery production to 200GWh in the next four years.

Detailed plans for the new factory were not revealed, but in July the firm said it was to up production to 200GWh from a previously announced goal of 125GWh. 

The company’s production capacity is 40GWh.

The South Korean battery maker supplies electric vehicle (EV) batteries to Ford Motor, Volkswagen and Hyundai Motor among others, and has battery production sites in the US, Hungary, China and South Korea.

In July, SK announced it would spinoff its battery division to allow it to concentrate on meeting demand for batteries as global EV sales are set to increase from last year’s 2.5 million, according to IHS Markit.

SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun said in July: “We haven't decided how to split the battery business ... it takes quite a lot of resources to further grow our growing battery business, so we are considering the spinoff as one of the ways to secure resources.”

The South Korean battery maker told news outlet Reuters that it had more than 130 trillion won ($115 billion) worth of battery orders, which is more than 1TWh worth of batteries, enough to power around 14 million electric vehicles.

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Chinese battery manufacturing giant CATL joins EU battery association Eurobat

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 15:39 -- Paul Crompton
Chinese battery manufacturing giant CATL cells

China lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) has joined Eurobat— the association for European automotive and industrial battery manufacturers.

Eurobat covers all battery technologies, and has more than 50 members working with policy-makers, industry stakeholders, and non-governmental organisations to highlight the role batteries play for decarbonised mobility and energy systems.

Headquartered in Ningde, China, CATL had more than 5,000 staff engaged in R&D at of the end of 2020 and is in the process of developing its first European production base in Arnstadt, Germany. 

Matthias Zentgraf, CATL EU-Region co-president, said: “With the European Commissions’ vision for a climate-neutral EU by 2050, we are proud to bring our EV battery technologies and manufacturing to Europe, contributing to a more sustainable Europe powered by E-mobility. 

“Joining Eurobat will bring more exposure to conversations with the local automotive ecosystem and regulatory bodies, facilitate CATL to better integrate with local automotive industry and introduce more advanced solutions and services in the region.” 

Eurobat executive-director Rene Schroeder said: “Europe’s battery industry is currently at a pivotal moment.

“Investments into Europe’s automotive and industrial battery industry are needed if we want Europe to reach its decarbonisation ambition, as recently announced in the European Commission’s Fit for 55 package. 

“At the same time, policy-makers and stakeholders are in the process of shaping the future policy framework for batteries, notably through the new Batteries Regulation.”

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Svolt closes $1.5B funding round two months after cobalt-free lithium-ion battery announcement

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 11:13 -- Paul Crompton

China cobalt-free lithium-ion battery firm Svolt Energy Technology has closed a B-financing round of 10.28 billion Yuan ($1.5 billion) as it moves to its goal of 200GWh production capacity by 2025.

The financing round will be used for the research and development of new technologies, and the construction of new production facilities in the Chinese cities of Changzhou, Suining, Huzhou, Ma’anshan and Nanjing, as well as in Europe.

This financing round was led by Bank of China Group Investment (BOCGI). 

Other investors include the National Fund for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, Country Garden Venture Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group (SCGC), CCB Investment, IDG Capital, Sany, Xiaomi Corporation, Oceanpine Capital and China Renaissance. 

Original shareholders, including SDIC and JZ Capital, significantly increased their holdings.

The firm closed a 3.5 billion Yuan ($540 million) A-financing round at the end of February.

Svolt has announced orders from Chinese and international automobile manufacturers, including: Great Wall Motors, Geely Automobile, Dongfeng Motor, Stellantis, SF Motors, ENnovate, Leap Motor and Hozon Auto. 

Cobalt-free batteries

In July, Svolt announced the start of series production of its cobalt-free nickel-manganese (NMX) battery cells at a ceremony in Jintan, China.

The firm is initially producing two sizes of its NMX batteries (115 Ah and 226 Ah), which are 75% nickel and 25% manganese. 

Series production of the new NMX batteries followed the successful production of ten tons of cobalt-free cathode material at the battery cell factory in Jintan during January.

Svolt has been mass-producing the cobalt-free cathode material since April.

The batteries can achieve more than 2,500 charging cycles, says the firm.

From the end of 2023, the novel batteries can also be produced at the planned plant in Saarland for the European market.

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China's Lomon Billions to enter lithium-ion battery market with new material plants

Mon, 08/23/2021 - 12:09 -- Paul Crompton

China materials firm Lomon Billions plans to enter the battery industry by building three lithium-ion cathode and anode material production facilities. 

The proposed plants in China will cover lithium iron phosphate and titanium dioxide production. 

A 200,000 tonnes-per-year (t/yr) facility for battery-grade iron phosphate will be built in Qinyang city, in the Henan province, over three phases: two 50,000 t/yr stages and a 100,000 t/yr stage.

Another 200,000 t/yr facility is proposed for Henan's Jiaozuo city to ensure feedstock supplies for the lithium iron phosphate project. 

Lomon Billions is planning to construct a 100,000 t/yr plant for artificial lithium-ion battery anode material in Jiaozuo developed in two phases, with 25,000 t/yr and 75,000 t/yr capacity respectively. 

It will also invest 700mn yuan ($108 million) to expand titanium dioxide production in Jiaozuo by 100,000 t/yr. Its total titanium dioxide capacity is 1 million t/yr. 

Details including the construction schedules and launch dates were undisclosed. 

China upping materials production

Chinese companies, including cobalt refinery Jinchuan Group and diversified new energy firm Ningbo Shanshan, have expanded their battery cathode and anode materials production capacity for power.

Jinchuan is on track to raise its production capacity for nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) precursors by 100,000 t/yr in China's Gansu province. 

Shanshan is projected to build a 200,000 t/yr production facility for anode material in China's Sichuan province. 

Domestic power battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has unveiled plans to increase its lithium-ion battery capacity by 137GWh/yr through five production projects in the next three years.

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China deploys world’s first sodium-ion grid-scale battery ESS

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 09:01 -- Paul Crompton
China deploys world’s first sodium-ion grid-scale battery ESS

The world’s first grid–scale energy storage system has been deployed in China, according to domestic news outlets.

The system was officially put into operation in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, and is combined with municipal power, solar and charging facilities to form a micro-grid, reported English language newspaper The Global Times.

The system’s major developer was the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, which has worked on the technology for 10 years.

The institute first demonstrated a 100kWh sodium-ion battery in 2019.

China has proposed a target of carbon neutrality by 2060, and is expected to widely use sodium-ion in a variety of sectors including: electric vehicles, home or industrial energy storage, 5G communication base stations and renewable energy.

Last month, UK battery maker Faradion announced that lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) would begin making sodium-ion batteries from July.

Image: The 100kWh Na-ion battery-based power station deployed by the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science in 2019

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