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BASF’s cathode expansion accelerates with German lithium-ion recycling plant

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 14:44 -- Paul Crompton
BASF flags

Chemicals giant BASF is set to build a battery recycling prototype plant in Germany to extract key materials from end-of-life lithium-ion cells and production scrap.

The plant at BASF’s cathode active materials (CAM) plant site in Schwarzheide is scheduled to be commissioned by 2023.

The prototype plant will allow for the “development of operational procedures and optimisation” of technology to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese from used batteries as well as off spec material from cell producers and battery material producers.

The recovered metals will be used to manufacturer cathode active materials.

Dr. Matthias Dohrn, senior vice president, precious and base metal services at BASF, said: “With this battery recycling, plus leading process technology for manufacturing of cathode active materials, we aim to ‘close the loop’ while reducing the CO2 footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60% in total compared to industry standards.”

The plant’s location was announced in February.

Aggressive cathode expansion

In June, BASF is set to form a joint venture (JV) with Hunan Shanshan Energy to produce lithium-ion battery cathode active materials (CAM) and precursors (PCAM) in China.

German firm BASF will have a 51% share of the JV when it closes later this summer following the approval of the relevant authorities.

In May, materials firm Umicore and BASF entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a range of lithium-ion cathode materials and their precursors.

 
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Scientists increase lithium metal battery’s cycle life into the hundreds

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 11:51 -- Paul Crompton
battery seperator using carbon

An international team of scientists has developed a method of boosting the lifetime of lithium metal batteries to “hundreds” of cycles by preventing dendritic growth.

The researchers used a separator made of an extremely thin, two-dimensional membrane made of carbon to reach more than 300 cycles of their battery.

At less than one nanometer, the separator pores are smaller than the critical nucleus size and, as such, prevent the nucleation that leads to the formation of dendrites.

Instead of forming dendritic structures, the lithium is deposited on the anode as a smooth film, which prevents the separator membrane being damaged and affecting the functionality of the battery.

The team included scientists from Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany, and Boston University (BU) and Wayne State University (WSU) in the US. 

The researchers report on their method in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.

Dr Antony George from the University of Jena, said: “To test our method, we recharged test batteries fitted with our Hybrid Separator Membrane over and over again.

“Even after hundreds of charging and discharging cycles, we couldn’t detect any dendritic growth.”

Associate professor Leela Mohana Reddy Arava from the WSU, said the key innovation was stabilising electrode/electrolyte interface with an ultra-thin membrane that did not alter current battery manufacturing process.

Sathish Rajendran, a graduate student at WSU, said: “The separator gets the least amount of attention when compared to the other components of the battery.

“The extent to which a nanometer thick two-dimensional membrane on the separator could make a difference in the lifetime of a battery is fascinating.”

As a result, the research team is confident their findings have the potential to bring about a new generation of lithium batteries. 

They have applied for a patent for their method.

The next step is to see how the application of the two-dimensional membrane can be integrated into the manufacturing process. 

The researchers also want to apply the idea to other types of batteries.

Image (Turchanin et al./Wiley): a) Regular battery separators with microscale porosity cause non-uniform lithium transport during the battery charge-discharge cycles resulting in needle-like growth of metallic lithium. This leads to short circuits and premature failure of lithium metal batteries. b) By introducing a carbon nanomembrane on the regular battery separator, the growth of lithium needles can be suppressed. The sub-nanometer-sized pores in carbon nanomembranes regulate the transport of lithium ions during the battery charge-discharge cycles, resulting in the deposition of a smooth film and the battery life can be increased significantly. 

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BASF’s cathode expansion accelerates with German lithium-ion recycling plant

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 10:21 -- Paul Crompton
BASF's planned recycling plant in Germany

Chemicals firm BASF is set to build a prototype battery recycling plant in Germany to develop a method of recovering key lithium-ion materials from end-of-life batteries.

The plant will be located at the site of its cathode active materials (CAM) plant in Schwarzheide, with commissioning planned for early 2023.

The prototype recycling plant will allow for the development of operational procedures and optimisation of technology to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese as well as off-spec material from cell producers and battery material producers. 

The extracted metals will be used to produce new cathode active materials.

Dr. Matthias Dohrn, senior vice president, precious and base metal services at BASF, said: “With this investment in battery recycling, plus leading process technology for manufacturing of cathode active materials, we aim to ‘close the loop’ while reducing the CO2 footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60% in total compared to industry standards.”

BASF’s investment supports the European Commission’s agenda towards a European battery production value chain and is part of the ‘Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI)’ approved by the European Commission in 2019, under the European Union State aid rules. 

The plant’s location was announced in February.

Aggressive cathode expansion

In June, BASF is set to form a joint venture with Hunan Shanshan Energy to produce lithium-ion battery cathode active materials (CAM) and precursors (PCAM) in China.

German firm BASF will have a 51% share of the JV when it closes later this summer following the approval of the relevant authorities.

In May, materials firm Umicore and BASF entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a range of lithium-ion cathode materials and their precursors.

 

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World’s first test bench using CT surveillance on lithium-ion batteries is opened in Europe

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 17:15 -- Paul Crompton

Climatic chamber maker Weiss Technik has developed a test bench for lithium-ion batteries that aims to improve the safety, durability and performance of batteries as well as inform the development of EU-standards.

Developed at its German headquarters, the testing facility at the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Petten, the Netherlands, will enable researchers to use computer tomography (CT) images during battery operation. 

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BASF breaks ground on second plant as it positions itself as Europe’s key lithium-ion cathode supplier

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 11:02 -- Paul Crompton

Chemical firm BASF has broken ground on its cathode active materials production plant in Schwarzheide, Germany, less than a year after announcing the project.

The plant is scheduled to start making enough materials for 400,000 full electric vehicles per year in 2022 as part of BASF’s investment plan in the European battery materials market.

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German batteries act amendment

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 11:58 -- Paul Crompton

The German Bundestag is expected to pass a ‘batteries collection’ bill in September intended to level the playing field and includes new requirements from the Waste Framework Directive.

The German cabinet has drafted changes to the German Batteries Act and the German Federal Council has, with changes, approved the amendment. 

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VW and Northvolt JV plans for EU lithium-ion gigafactory gain momentum

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 15:42 -- Paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM Volkswagen is investing €450 ($487million) to construct the buildings and infrastructure of a European lithium-ion gigafactory it is developing with its joint venture partner Northvolt.

Construction of the Northvolt Zwei factory in Salzgitter, Germany— close to VW’s existing Center of Excellence for Battery Cells— is due to begin by the close of the year with cell production scheduled for early 2024.

 

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Tesvolt to supply 2MWh of energy storage capacity to Europe’s largest EV charging park

Thu, 04/23/2020 - 14:03 -- Paul Crompton

German manufacturer Tesvolt is supplying 2MWh of its lithium-ion energy storage systems to Europe’s largest electric car charging park in the German state of Hilden.

The ESSs at Kreuz Hilden junction park will deliver power to 114 charging stations, including 40 V3 Tesla Superchargers and 22 fast charging stations from Dutch supplier Fastned with a combined charging power of up to 350kW.

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Battery testing firm Arbin opens European office as it looks to reach new markets

Tue, 04/07/2020 - 16:05 -- Paul Crompton

Battery test equipment specialist Arbin Instruments has opened a dedicated European sales office in Germany to develop closer relationships with existing customers and reach new markets. 

The Munich office is the US firm’s second in the country and comes as Arbin looks to expand in the region and capitalise on the potential of the European market.

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Tesvolt begins first stage of its European lithium-ion ESS manufacturing plant despite Covid-19

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 09:24 -- Paul Crompton

Energy storage manufacturer Tesvolt began semi-automated production of its commercial lithium-ion systems in Wittenberg, Germany, on 1 April

The production process is semi-automated full-cycling, with every battery module fully charged and discharged and checked for anomalies in terms of temperature, voltage and internal resistance.

 

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