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Global patent activity shows growing interest in solid-state lithium-ion batteries

Mon, 11/29/2021 - 14:20 -- Paul Crompton

Japan is leading the world in solid-state lithium-ion battery development, at least according to the latest figures regarding patent filing from intellectual property firm Appleyard Lees.

Data-to-date research shows Japan filed the highest number of new patents in 2020, followed by China, the US and South Korea. 

European countries are lagging behind, with Germany having the highest number of filings but still underperforming when compared to the leading market players, according to Appleyards. 

The full dataset for 2020 is not yet available, however data from two years ago showed solid-state battery patent applications have grown exponentially since 2013, peaking at around 600 new applications in 2019.

The claims were made in Appleyard’s ‘Inside Green Innovation: Progress Report 2021’.

The report stated: “It’s important to note that although the number of yearly, new filings for solid-state batteries is still significantly lower than those for lithium-ion batteries, the former should soon surpass the latter. 

“Arguably, this may have already happened in jurisdictions outside China. This reflects its potential as a key innovation, particularly for EV markets.” 

Assignees of applications for solid state batteries include car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, which have filed new patent applications in recent years. 

Companies such as Japanese electronics manufacturers Murata MFG Japan, TDK and battery maker FDK are also filing solid-state applications. 

The most rapid growth in recent years has come from Chinese automotive supplier and battery cell manufacturer Svolt Energy Tech, which established its European production site in Germany in 2019. 

Overall, Svolt has filed over 550 patents worldwide, indicating its ambition to be a key player in the EV market. 

Lithium-ion battery applications

The report noted the recent top patent filers for lithium-ion batteries within China are major players in the automobile industry, with Hefei Guoxuan, Ningde Amperex Technology Ltd. and BYD subsidiaries manufacturing battery products suitable for vehicles and their electronic management systems.

Outside China, German engineering and technology firm Robert Bosch is a key assignee for lithium-ion technologies, consistently filing among the largest numbers of priority filings each year in the past ten years, according to the report.

As in China, car manufacturers are notable applicants, and include: General Motors (US), Toyota (Japan) and BMW (Germany). 

The report noted: “Even among the largest assignees, filing numbers have remained relatively low in recent years. It’s unclear whether the notable dip from 2020 onwards is due to an incomplete dataset or if R&D has been affected by supply chain and manufacturing issues.” 

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Lithium-ion battery recycler secures Japanese patent

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:22 -- Paul Crompton

Critical minerals company American Manganese (AMY) has secured a Japanese patent for its closed-loop lithium-ion battery recycling process.

The company’s RecycLiCo process was issued Patent No. 6906060 by the Japanese Patent Office.

The Japanese patent joins already issued patents in the US and South Korea (Patent No. 10-2246670). The Company has also filed National Phase Patent Applications for China, Europe, Australia, India, and Canada.

The patent provides coverage for AMY’s closed-loop method for achieving up to 100% extraction of cobalt, nickel, manganese, aluminium, and lithium from the treatment of cathode chemistries such as lithium-cobalt oxide (LCO), lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide (NMC), and lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminium oxide (NCA). 

Compared to traditional hydrometallurgical recycling processes, the company says its process offers advantages such as faster reaction rates, lower consumption of acids, improved water balance, and higher leaching efficiency.

Larry Reaugh, president and CEO of American Manganese, said: “As we move towards our goal of commercialisation, we are reminded by the foundation of patents that supported our growth in battery recycling and we are honoured to be issued another patent by a country that is one of the world leaders in battery innovation.

“Innovation is at the core of our company and as a pioneer in battery recycling we continue to monitor new lithium-ion battery technologies and opportunities.”

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Panasonic sells stake in long-term partner Tesla for $3.6 billion

Tue, 07/13/2021 - 08:53 -- Paul Crompton
Panasonic cells and Tesla car

Tesla’s lithium-ion battery maker Panasonic has sold its entire stake in the US electric vehicle OEM for almost $3.6 billion, reports Japanese business news outlet Nikkei.

Panasonic has said the sale will pay for its $7 billion acquisition of artificial intelligence software developer Blue Yonder, reported Nikkei.

Panasonic bought 1.4 million Tesla shares for about $30 million in 2010. Those stocks rose to $730 million at the end of March 2020, and by 24 June closed at $679.82 apiece.

Japanese firm Panasonic has been a long-term supplier of batteries to Tesla.

Last year, the pair signed a three-year pricing deal relating to the manufacture and supply of 2170 lithium-ion battery cells manufactured at its gigafactory in Nevada, US.

Panasonic said it would increase the energy density of its 2170 cells by 20% within five years and commercialise a cobalt-free version within three years.

The stock sell-off came in the same week China battery maker CATL extended a battery supply deal with Tesla to 2025.

Tesla entered into a partnership with South Korea’s LG Chem and China’s CATL in January 2020 as it looked to secure a lithium-ion battery supply for its electric cars at its Gigafactory 3 plant in Shanghai.

CATL signed a two-year battery supply agreement with Tesla, with the US firm determining the battery purchase volume, last July.

For more stories on Teslsa click here 

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BYD builds on its closed loop dream with second-life lithium-ion battery partnership

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 14:34 -- Paul Crompton

Chinese battery OEM and electric vehicle maker BYD will transform old batteries into energy storage systems through a partnership with Chinese lithium-ion recycling start-up Pandpower and Japanese trading house Itochu.

Old battery packs from buses, taxis and other vehicles manufactured by BYD will be collected from dealerships across China and turned into ship-container-sized power units for renewable energy and factories.

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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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CATL and Honda sign agreement to develop new energy vehicle batteries

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 09:24 -- Paul Crompton

Battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) is partnering with vehicle OEM Honda to develop new lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles as well as recycling. 

The agreement will strengthen the companies’ strategic partnership and allow both firms to conduct joint development on EV batteries and conduct joint R&D into fundamental technologies. 

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Japan utility aims to slash ESS cost by repurposing used EV battery lithium-ion packs

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 11:27 -- Paul Crompton

Japanese utility Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings (Tepco) is set to launch a storage business using used electric vehicle (EV) batteries from China, just weeks after establishing its wholly owned subsidiary Tepco Ventures to enter new business ventures.

The plan is to assemble up to 30 used EV battery packs into energy storage systems for use at renewable-energy plants, according to reports by news outlet Nikkei Asian review.

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EES firm NEC Energy Solutions to wind down operations as it sets to close

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 12:58 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion energy storage system provider NEC Energy Solutions— the US subsidiary of Japan’s NEC Corp— is set to wind down operations.

The Massachusetts-based company is set to ‘orderly wind down’ by not seeking new business, but will finish projects under development, according to reports by media company Bloomberg. 

NEC had not replied to BEST's questions at the time of publication.

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Tesla signs three-year pricing and purchase volume deal with battery cell maker Panasonic

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 11:17 -- Paul Crompton

Tesla has signed a three-year pricing deal with Japan’s Panasonic Corp relating to the manufacture and supply of 2170 lithium-ion battery cells manufactured at its gigafactory in Nevada, US.

The electric vehicle and energy storage system maker made the announcement on 10 June.

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Space battery market to see strong growth as firms like SpaceX exploit the final frontier

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 11:32 -- Paul Crompton

As Elon Musk’s SpaceX company was preparing to send its first manned flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Japan was sending its final shipment of lithium-ion batteries to the low orbit station.

The batteries, produced by GS Yuasa Technology, were aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kounotori 9 unmanned cargo vessel launched on May 21.

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