South Korea’s SK Innovation (SKI) is reportedly in talks to establish two separate battery production joint ventures— one with Volkswagen and another with Chinese partners.
SKI confirmed talks with Volkswagen in an interview with Reuters, saying the two companies were discussing building a factory together. SKI also said I was “on the cusp” of agreeing plans to build a plant in China with “undisclosed partners”.
The president of SKI’s batteries business YS Yoon told Reuters: “Our strategy is to keep up with technological advancement by having relationships with some of our key customers. Compared with rivals, we’ve been matching or exceeding investment in the (EV batteries) area since last year.”
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.
Imperial College London (ICL) and Tsinghua University are launching a virtual centre to collaborate on pioneering research into advanced energy systems.
The universities have agreed to jointly study “next-generation technologies and intelligent control strategies” towards low-carbon power and energy systems.
The centre will be the latest collaboration between the two universities, which have previously worked together on research projects including ‘the role of energy storage in enhancing operation and stability performance of sustainable power systems’.
Leoch International Technology is to bring two new lead-acid battery plants on stream this year in Vietnam— and has revealed plans to expand in Europe including through acquisitions.
The Hong Kong-listed firm said one of its Vietnam plants will start delivering reserve power batteries by mid-2019, while the other will be delivering SLI batteries by the end of the third quarter.
Construction of both plants is “in full gear”, Leoch said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange announcement. “The design production capacity of these two factories will be more than double the current total overseas production capacity with opportunity for future expansion.”
A global battery consortium will pave the way for a “raft of new research” into developing next-generation lead battery technology at a workshop in China tomorrow.
The Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI), formerly the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, will hold its first workshop of the year in Shanghai on 5 March— ahead of unveiling a “new technical roadmap designed to extend both the performance and lifetime of the core battery technology”.
The CBI said the programme would fund projects designed to increase the cycle life of advanced lead batteries and further improve their ability to operate in applications such as start-stop and micro-hybrid applications.
US-based lead-acid separator manufacturer Daramic has announced the opening of new polyethylene battery separator production lines in China and Thailand, to “support the growing demand” of customers primarily in Asia.
The introduction of one additional manufacturing line in Tianjin, China will double the company’s capacity at the location, while the new manufacturing line in Prachinburi, Thailand will increase capacity at the location by 20%.
As well as meeting Asian demand, the expansions will enable Daramic to balance operations globally in order to supply customers regionally, meaning that capacity that was previously “utilised to meet Asia demand can now be diverted to support customers in other global regions”.
‘Supercell’ technology designed by US battery platform provider Cadenza Innovation is to be deployed in Australia under a deal with the country’s Energy Renaissance (ER).
The companies have entered into a technology agreement that will see Cadenza’s technology utilised in systems produced at ER’s planned 1.3GWh ‘Renaissance One’ lithium-ion facility in Darwin.
ER said Renaissance One will be “the only facility dedicated to providing commercial-scale energy storage systems specifically designed for hot and humid climates”, which have technical requirements that “far exceed the capabilities of typical lithium-ion batteries.”
Italian engineering firm Engitec Technologies has been contracted to expand a lead battery recycling facility in Spain.
The Metalurgica de Medina plant at Medina del Campo, in northwest Spain, will be expanded by some 600 square metres and increase processing capacity from more than 30,000 tonnes of batteries annually to around 120,000 tonnes a year.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. Engitec did not disclose the cost of the project.
Tesla is to acquire Maxwell Technologies, in a deal that values the California-based ultracapacitor firm at around US$218 million.
Maxwell said on 4 February the companies had entered into a definite merger agreement under which Tesla would buy the company's 45.9 million shares for $4.75 a share in an all-stock transaction. The deal represented a 55% premium to the share price, which closed at $3.07 on 1 February.
The merger is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2019 or shortly after, subject to the successful tender and exchange of shares, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.