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South African Pb start-up awarded bipolar development grant

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 15:37 -- Paul Crompton
South African Pb start-up awarded bipolar development grant

Elektron Energy, the South African lead-acid battery start-up, has been awarded around €250,000 (US$282,000) from the EU and national funding authority (DST)-backed Eureka Eurostars initiative to develop its next generation bipolar batteries.

The manufacturer plans to begin initial pilot production of its bipolar batteries— using intellectual property from UK-based Mega Amps and nano-structured leady oxide from Aurelius Environmental— in its facility in Strand, Western Cape. The project is due to begin commercialisation by mid-2022.

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Germany could back three battery cells consortia, says minister

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 12:19 -- John Shepherd
Germany could back three battery cells consortia, says minister

Germany could help finance three separate corporate alliances for the domestic production of battery cells for Europe’s growing electric vehicle market, according to the country’s economy minister.

Peter Altmaier (pictured) told Reuters: “We’ve now reached a point where we can say that there is likely to be not only one battery cell consortium, but probably three.”

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Call for EU to rethink competition laws to aid battery makers

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 17:39 -- John Shepherd
Call for EU to rethink competition laws to aid battery makers

The European Union needs to rethink competition laws to better compete in the batteries market with Asian players, a German ministerial aide has told European battery manufacturers.

But Thomas Bareiss (pictured), parliamentary state secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, admitted that while Germany wanted to be “agnostic” in terms of its support for battery technologies, lithium-ion is currently favoured over lead-acid to build a European battery cells industry to cater for electric vehicles.

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Northvolt clinches gigafactory EU loan deal

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:45 -- John Shepherd
Northvolt clinches gigafactory EU loan deal

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has confirmed its approval in principle of a €350 million (US$391m) loan for Swedish battery maker Northvolt to build a 16GWh capacity lithium-ion battery cell plant— as revealed by BEST Battery Briefing last week.

EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell (pictured) said the loan is the largest ever direct financing approved by the bank for battery technology. The financing will be through the EIB-managed European Fund for Strategic Investments.

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Northvolt set for €400m Swedish gigafactory loan

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 17:10 -- John Shepherd
Northvolt set for €400m Swedish gigafactory loan

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is set to approve a €400 million (US$450m) loan to help start-up Northvolt build a 16GWh capacity lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing plant in Sweden.

The loan to design, build and start operations at the gigafactory, which Northvolt estimates will cost a total of around €1.5 billion, is likely to get the green light when the EIB board meets on 15 May.

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EU to launch battery raw materials investment fund

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 13:38 -- John Shepherd
Maros Sefcovic

Two of Europe’s leading institutional banks are set to back the launch of a raw materials investment facility to support future batteries production in the EU.

The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will underpin the facility which could be launched by the end of this year, EU energy chief and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has revealed.

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Pb is missing link in EU battery strategy

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 14:01 -- John Shepherd

EU leaders have released a long-awaited ‘strategic action plan’ that says batteries should be at the heart of future industrial strategy.

But lead-acid was not even mentioned (unlike lithium) in the document— published as part of the outgoing European Commission’s ‘State of the Energy Union’ report: ‘Implementation of the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries: Building a Strategic Battery Value Chain in Europe.’

For a full report, see the latest— Spring 2019— edition of Batteries and Energy Storage Technology magazine, out now! If you’re not a subscriber, click here to subscribe.

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Exide invests in VRLA storage plus solar at Portugal plant

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:14 -- Hugh Finzel

US battery manufacturer Exide Technologies is investing in a solar power facility coupled with VRLA battery storage at its production plant in Castanheira do Ribatejo in Portugal.

Another solar facility will be installed at Exide’s recycling plant in Azambuja, Portugal.

The solar-plus-storage system will pair 500kWh worth of Sonnenschein A600 VRLA from GNB— a division of Exide Technologies— with solar. The two sites will have a combined total of around 10,000 solar photovoltaic panels, with a total generating capacity of 3.8MWp. The company said this was equivalent to the power requirements of more than 2,000 homes.

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ILA calls for new EU strategy on batteries

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 11:45 -- John Shepherd

Europe has been urged to develop a new industrial strategy to “champion” all batteries, including lead-acid.

The managing director of the International Lead Association (ILA), Dr Andy Bush (pictured), said the creation of a Batteries Alliance and a ‘batteries action plan’ for the EU, has been “one of the successes of the European Commission”.

However, Bush said it was a “weakness” for EU policymakers to “focus predominantly on one battery technology, omitting to support Europe’s existing strengths in this area and the jobs it generates in our societies”.

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Sunlight takes a shine to lithium with new ‘smart battery’

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 11:33 -- John Shepherd
Sunlight Li.On Force batteries

Greek lead-acid battery maker Sunlight is entering the electrical industrial vehicles (eIVs) market with the launch of a “smart lithium batteries” line.

Sunlight said the debut of its ‘Li.On Force’ follows “a multi-year intensive research plan” to produce batteries “that combine the advantages of batteries featuring lithium technology” with applications of Internet of Things technology.

A battery management system relays performance and other data in real time to a Sunlight control centre via the Cloud.

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