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Nissan aiming for $65/kWh solid-state lithium-ion battery pack and cobalt free cells by 2028

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 13:26 -- Paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM Nissan is targeting a $75/kWh cobalt-free and solid-state lithium-ion battery for its electric vehicles by the close of the decade.

Nissan aims to develop its lithium-ion battery technologies and introduce cobalt-free technology to reach the figure by fiscal year 2028.

Nissan believes solid-state battery packs could be as cheap as $75/kWh by 2028, and aims to bring the cost down to $65/kWh in a bid to achieve cost parity between EV and gasoline vehicles.

These are high ambitions, as a BNEF report this month noted that real term lithium-ion battery pack prices had reached $132/kWh this year— but rising raw material prices could mean the mythologised $100/kWh price may not materialise until 2026.

Japanese firm Nissan plans to launch an EV fitted with its proprietary all-solid-state batteries and is preparing a pilot plant in Yokohama, Japan as early as 2024. 

Some of the price goal will depend on Nissan’s economy-of-scale, with the vehicle maker working with its partners to increase its global battery production capacity to 52GWh by 2026, and 130GWh four years later.

Nissan also intends to expand its battery refurbishing facilities beyond Japan with new locations in Europe next year, and in the US in 2025 to support its circular economy in energy management.

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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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Britishvolt and Glencore sign strategic partnership for long-term supply of cobalt

Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:06 -- Paul Crompton

Gigafactory firm Britishvolt has entered a cobalt supply agreement with Glencore as the UK company looks to secure a raw material supply chain for its lithium-ion ambitions.

Britishvolt will take a minimum of 30% of all its cobalt requirements from Switzerland-based Glencore, which has also made an undisclosed investment into the battery hopeful as part of the deal.

Ben Kilbey, chief communications officer at Britishvolt, told BEST there was no timeline on its deal, it was just a “long-term partnership”. 

Britishvolt announced in July it had been granted planning permission to construct its lithium-ion facility in Northumberland, UK.

The project will be built in three, 10GWh phases to a total capacity of 30GWh from 2027 onwards.

Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt CEO/founder said that by partnering with Glencore, the firm was able to “lock in supply” and “derisk the project”.

He said: “Cobalt is a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries and knowing that we are being supplied with responsibly produced cobalt is a signal to the market that we are living by our values.”

David Brocas, head cobalt trader, Glencore, said: “As the mobility and energy transition accelerates, so does future demand for battery metals such as cobalt, copper and nickel.”

Britishvolt is on target to manufacture some of the world’s most sustainable, low carbon battery cells on the site of the former Blyth Power Station coal stocking yard located in Cambois, Northumberland.

Britishvolt is part of a consortium of seven UK-based organisations that have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop prototype solid-state batteries for automotive applications. 

Britishvolt signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Welsh government in July, 2020, but within a month had announced it was planning to build its plant in Northumberland.

BEST interviewed the firm’s chief strategy officer Isobel Sheldon about the company’s plans to build the UK’s first gigafactory in the Autumn 2020 edition of the magazine. You can read the interview here

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Sumitomo pilot project delivers high purity nickel and cobalt from used lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 09:23 -- Paul Crompton

Sumitomo Metal Mining has recovered a high-purity nickel-cobalt mixture from used lithium-ion batteries.

The Japan firm has verified that nickel and cobalt recovered from secondary batteries can be reused as a raw material for lithium-ion cathodes. 

The materials produced at its pilot plant in Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture, performed as well as batteries using existing raw materials derived from natural resources, the company said. 

Additionally, Sumitomo was able to produce a soluble slag that enables lithium recovery by pyrometallurgical smelting processes. 

The company first developed a recycling process to recover cobalt at the pilot plant using a combination of pyrometallurgical smelting and hydrometallurgical refining processes in 2019.

Sumitomo is now able to recycle copper, nickel, cobalt and lithium from used batteries. 

In 2017, the existing smelting and refining processes at the Toyo Smelter & Refinery (Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture) and the Niihama Nickel Refinery (Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture) were used in the implementation of copper and nickel recycling.

A Sumitomo statement read: “The demand for the nickel and cobalt used in EVs is going to expand. 

“However, stable supply is a major issue, and there are unbalances in the regions producing these resources and the location of extraction technologies. Demand for recycling of these resources is growing greater than ever. 

“If we are able to commercialise this process, which has verified ‘battery to battery’ recycling, we expect to be able to take the domestic sustainable circular economy to the next level and to make contributions to resource recycling in response to global resource depletion.” 

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Lithium-ion supply chain launches end-to-end cobalt traceability initiative

Fri, 05/28/2021 - 09:22 -- Paul Crompton
Lithium-ion supply chain launches end-to-end cobalt traceability initiative

Companies from the lithium-ion industry will pilot a system for tracing responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the end product.

The Re|Source system will be piloted by metals and mining companies CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and Glencore in collaboration with battery material supplier Umicore.

An unnamed “global EV pioneer” and an unnamed “leading battery maker” are also part of the pilot. 

The pilot will run until the end of 2021, with the roll-out of the final solution expected next year.

The system will be tested in real operating conditions, from upstream cobalt production sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to downstream electric vehicle production sites.

Founded by CMOC, ERG and Glencore, and launched in 2019, Re|Source was later joined by Umicore, as well as the battery and EV company. 

The system uses various technologies, including: blockchain and Zero-Knowledge Proofs, to link digital flows with physical material flows on the ground. 

The system is supported by boutique technology studio Kryha, which is experienced in carbon footprint and metals traceability and known for projects with the World Economic Forum. 

Re|Source also has a direct link with the Battery Passport project of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), through ERG, Umicore, Glencore and other Re|Source pilot partners, members of the GBA. 

Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, said: “Blockchain technology offers us an unprecedented ability for traceability in the supply chain. 

"Through this pilot, we are supporting the development of this tool for our customers who seek to understand and demonstrate the origin of the cobalt units in their products. 

"But traceability is not enough on its own, it must be part of a wider industry effort to bring improvements to the entire cobalt supply chain. 

"This starts with responsible sourcing compliance, for example through RMI; the collective use of wider ESG standards such as CIRAF and ICMM; and supporting the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sector through multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA).”

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Nano One posts positive results on its cobalt-free lithium-ion battery

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 09:26 -- Paul Crompton

Test results for Canadian cathode powder maker Nano One have shown its high-voltage cobalt-free lithium-ion battery is stable at the elevated operating temperatures required for automotive, power tool and energy storage applications.

The results support ambient temperature results announced on 13 October, and further demonstrates the firm’s lithium nickel manganese (LNM) battery system.

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EV and lithium-ion battery OEMs launch artisanal cobalt mining project in DRC

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 10:07 -- Paul Crompton

Training of artisanal miners has begun in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as part of a cross-industry initiative to develop an independent, ethical and sustainable cobalt supply for the lithium-ion battery industry.

Training of twelve artisanal mining cooperatives involving more than 1,500 miners in Kolwezi, DRC, begun last month as part of the ‘Cobalt for Development’ initiative launched by vehicle OEM BMW and lithium-ion battery makers Samsung and BASF.

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Promising lithium-ion battery recycling results as research laboratory completes tests

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 10:37 -- Paul Crompton

Battery metals firm American Manganese (AMY) has reported its technology can extract 92% of lithium, nickel, and cobalt from NCA cathode scrap material.

The results were recorded by private sector research laboratory Kemetco Research after continuous operation of the leach stage of its AMY’s RecycLiCo process. 

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Key lithium-ion, lead-acid and VRFB materials placed on EU Critical Raw Materials list

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 10:34 -- Paul Crompton

Key lithium-ion, lead-acid and vanadium redox flow battery materials have been placed on the 2020 Battery Critical Raw Materials list by the European Commission.

Lithium, antimony, cobalt, natural graphite, and vanadium have all been placed on the list, which is composed every three years following a review of raw materials for their economic importance and concerns over supply risk.

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Japan discover cobalt supply that could feed its lithium-ion battery making demand for 88-years

Tue, 08/25/2020 - 14:31 -- Paul Crompton

Japan has announced the successful excavation of rare metals including battery critical materials cobalt and nickel from the seabed of its exclusive economic zone. 

The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), commissioned by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, excavated about 650kg of cobalt-rich crust in July, according to the country’s news outlet The Japan News.

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