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German firm to open $44 million EV lithium-ion battery testing facility in US

Mon, 01/10/2022 - 10:13 -- Paul Crompton

German testing firm TÜV SÜD is set to invest $44 million in a state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) lithium-ion battery testing facility in Michigan, US.

The 80,000-square foot facility will provide EV battery, environmental, EMC/wireless, electrical safety testing and homologation services to the automotive and transportation market.

The new facility is scheduled for completion in Q1 2023.

The firm’s electric vehicle lithium-ion battery testing and certification services ensures batteries, cells, chargers and electrical components for use in automotive applications meet global safety requirements for all major manufacturer and industry certifications quickly.

Testing includes: full environmental capabilities; altitude simulation; shock and vibration; vibration with environmental (including humidity), battery abuse testing; life cycle testing; calendar life testing, and more.

 
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Excellent slurries and electrode dry mixes for lithium-ion battery manufacturing

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 14:03 -- Paul Crompton

German mixer firm Eirich will be showcasing its flexible, efficient and sustainable lithium-ion electrode mix processing technologies during this week’s Battery Show Europe. 

By delivering high flexibility in terms of raw materials and processing methods, Eirich’s process technology lets battery makers— from laboratory to gigafactory scale— adjust quickly and smoothly to all raw materials, recipes and processing methods in battery production. 

The firm’s MixSolver technology is an intensive mixer optimised for the processing of electrode mixes for lithium-ion batteries for throughputs of just a few hundred millilitres-per-hour up to 1,000 l/h.

Unlike conventional planetary mixing systems, the MixSolver features a rotating mixing pan with an eccentrically arranged mixing tool, with its geometry and speed adjustable to the processing application. 

The system enables a process that creates a perfectly dispersed electrode slurry in 15-20 minutes. 

Doctor Stefan Gerl, head of process engineering at Eirich, said: “With energy consumption of around 16Wh per litre on production machines and incredibly high solids contents, we achieve excellent performance when producing electrode slurries compared to other processes.” 

ContiFeeder technology

Downstream from electrode slurry processing in the MixSolver is the ContiFeeder process that ensures a continuous feed of high-quality electrode mix and a continuous coater supply. 

The process is the company’s response to the need for a high-performance system directly connected to the coater. 

As with processing in the extruder, the electrode mix is emptied in a slurry tank attached to the mixer after the mixing procedure. This enables additional degasification, temperature control and quality assurance though inline sensors or samples. 

Buffer tanks are used as intermediate storage on high-output systems. The last of these provides the coater with a continuous supply of slurry. 

Gerl said: “We are responding to increased inline process control and IoT with our QualiMaster LiB system for quality assurance and process optimisation.”  

Gerl believes that the next few years will see an increased trend towards dry-processed electrodes.

He said: “That is not a problem for us. The operating principle of the Eirich intensive mixer is perfectly suited to processing structured electrode dry mixes. All we have to do is adjust the operating method and a few parameters compared to electrode slurries.

“This means that Eirich customers no longer have to replace the mixer as and when processes or recipes change in future.”

Eirich will showcase its future-shaping solutions for lithium-ion batteries at the Battery Show Europe 2021 in hall 8, stand 126, which begins tomorrow (Tuesday).

For more information contact the Eirich Battery Experts at batteryexperts@eirich.de or visit www.eirich.com/en/industries/li-ion

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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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Digatron promotes Driesch as former CEO Campbell takes new global role

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 11:53 -- Paul Crompton
Image: Driesch (left) is congratulated by Rolf Beckers

German headquartered Digatron Power Electronics has promoted Holger Driesch as the new managing director and chief executive officer. 

Driesch joined Digatron last December as a chief technical officer and will become a company managing director along with Stefan Rungen and Dieter Brockel. 

His new role will support steering the company products and solutions to achieve maximum growth and establish Digatron as a “globally dominant company” with a range of products.

Kevin Campbell, who was the company’s CEO since 2014, has taken on an executive role at group level to focus on developing the global strategy and market development of Digatron’s companies in Germany, US, China, India and the newly created Digatron Systems in Italy.

Driesch said: “Building further on our success is a challenge I accept with determination and fierce ambition for the firm. I am determined to continue Digatron’s momentum leading to greater heights.”

Read about Digatron’s pioneering work in lead-acid battery formation in the latest edition of BEST mag here

Image: Driesch (left) is congratulated by Rolf Beckers

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MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:54 -- Paul Crompton
MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Primobius, a joint venture equally owned by Australia’s Neometals and German SMS group, has signed a deal to enter the North American lithium-ion battery recycling market.

Primobius has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Stelco—  a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based Stelco Holdings— to commercialise an environmentally friendly recycling solution.

The MoU aims to form a 50:50 incorporated joint venture (JV) to process battery cells from scrap and end-of-life vehicles in North America. 

Under the JV, Primobius will supply a 20,000 tons-per-year cell processing recycling facility adjacent to Stelco’s proposed vehicle recycling operation.

The Primobius pyrometallurgical recycling process recovers materials from consumer electronic batteries, and nickel‐rich electric vehicle and stationary storage battery chemistries.

Stelco will supply the battery cell feed to the plant. 

Both firms intend to share information, conduct due diligence, collaborate and build a business case for a long-term commercial relationship between the parties. 

Stelco is looking to establish a battery recycling business as part of its broader initiative with major automobile producers to recycle end-of-life automobiles to recover valuable materials for re-use or re-sale.

The facility will be modelled on Primobius’ proprietary refining process following the successful completion of demonstration trials at its plant, which is being built in a warehouse at the SMS group manufacturing center in Hilchenbach, Germany. 

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German researchers develop method for making cheaper redox flow batteries

Wed, 05/19/2021 - 19:58 -- Paul Crompton
Researchers at a German research institute have completely redeveloped the stack in a redox flow battery in a bid to reduce material usage and costs.

Researchers at a German research institute have completely redeveloped the stack in a redox flow battery in a bid to reduce material usage and costs.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (Fraunhofer UMSICHT) developed a way to manufacture the central, electrically conductive plastic so it remains flexible and can be welded.

The team of researchers used similar base materials — graphite and carbon black — to conventional redox flow batteries but used plastic ground into powder and mixed with 80% graphite by weight. 

They then sent the powder through a system comprising rollers heated to different temperatures and moving at different speeds. 

The powder was briefly melted between the rollers at moderate temperatures and low pressures before being rolled into a sheet and finally rolled up. 

This gave the material thermoplastic properties, so it was flexible and could be welded.

Professor Christian Doetsch from Fraunhofer UMSICHT, said: “The stack that has been developed, the heart of any redox flow battery, is 40% more cost-effective in terms of material costs. 

“Production costs have also been significantly reduced. The stack weighs 80% less than a conventional stack and is only about half the size.”

The stack is being marketed by the Volterion, a spin-off of the Fraunhofer UMSICHT.

Bipolar plates up to several square meters in size can be manufactured without problems using the new method, with plate thickness between 0.1 and 0.4 millimeters. 

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Innovative battery chemistry revolutionises zinc-air battery

Wed, 01/13/2021 - 12:07 -- Paul Crompton

Scientists at a German university have developed a new battery chemistry for zinc-air batteries based on an innovative, non-alkaline, aqueous electrolyte.

The full zinc-air batteries can reportedly operate stably for 320 cycles and 1,600 hours under ambient air atmosphere.

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Lead-acid battery formation firm Inbatec’s new global VP to boost presence in the Americas

Mon, 01/04/2021 - 11:57 -- Paul Crompton

German lead-acid battery formation company Inbatec has appointed Nick Hennen as global vice-president of sales and business development to advance and increase business in North and South America.

Hennen, who will be located in Missouri, US, will focus on expanding the German firm’s reach as well as assisting its sister company Kustan in expanding its sales. 

Hennen has been in the battery industry for more than 25 years, initially as a sales engineer with Bitrode— specialising in non-automotive technologies such as lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride— and most recently as VP of Americas & global business development sales at Digatron.

Inbatec's managing director, Christian Papmahl, said: “I have known Nick for many years and understand his knowledge of battery production.

“More importantly though, he is well-respected with a large network and has a global understanding of all battery technologies. We are ready to take the next step and coordinate sales and growth on that level.

“We think Nick’s background across all types of battery production and end user applications brings a new perspective to our companies.

“In the short-term, we want to be more in touch with our customers in North America, but looking to a strategy of growing opportunities in India, Southeast Asia and China very quickly. 

“A lot of exciting things are going to happen with both Inbatec and Kustan over the next few years, and Nick will lead many of these efforts.”

Nick went to the University of Missouri and has a degree in Electrical Engineering. Later he achieved an executive level MBA from the Olin School at Washington University, St. Louis. 

Most of his career has been focused on battery formation including lead-acid, lithium and other technologies. He also has been involved in several stationary energy storage projects in the US and South America, primarily for electrical grid usage.

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JV sets goal of establishing commercial lithium-ion battery recycling in Europe

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:45 -- Paul Crompton

Battery recycling firm Primobius, the German company owned by Neometals and SMS group, has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Slovakian lithium-ion cell maker InoBat. 

The MoU provides an evaluation framework for a Primobius-InoBat commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Central/Eastern Europe. 

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MOU paves way for sodium-sulfur battery use in green hydrogen projects in Korea

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 11:38 -- Paul Crompton

A subsidiary of German chemical company BASF will supply sodium-sulfur batteries to Korean power-to-gas (P2G) company G-Philos after the pair signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 10 September.

Wholly owned subsidiary BASF New Business (BNB) will supply a total of 19.2MWh of sodium-sulfur(NaS) batteries to G-Philos for P2G projects in Korea. 

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