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Scrap lead prices creep up in US

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The price of scrap lead in the US is slowly creeping up. This is attributed to slightly higher demand, meaning the price of scrap is up by one cent per pound.

According to the American Metal Market the value of used lead-acid batteries is expected to continue to increase throughout February as smelters pay more for the scrap.

The closing price of lead on the London Metal Exchange at the end of January was $2386 per tonne, this is a continuation of the slowly rising price. Until now the scrap price has not risen but with demand growing the price is able to follow the primary trend.

Exide collaborate to change fortune

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Exide Industries is extending its relationship with Japanese automotive battery maker Shin-Kobe Electric to improve the quality of the batteries it makes.

Exide has been under pressure to boost sales following a slowdown in the automobile industry. Poor performances over two consecutive financial quarters saw Exide warned by credit rating agency Moody that its rating could slide.

TV Ramanathan, MD and CEO of Exide, said the collaboration will lead to the implementation of new manufacturing processes for higher productivity and quality. It is hoped more effiecient manufacturing will lower the company's production costs.

The company has an existing technical joint venture with Shin-Kobe that this deal is built upon. It is not the first push for the company to improve its manufacturing standards, in 2012 it asked East Penn to collaborate to review its lead-acid batteries production.

Exide announced that Shin-Kobe would provide technology and extensive technical support and assistance to Exide to manufacture automotive batteries to a higher quality at its various Indian plants.

Solid electrolyte for lithium-ion

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Scientists as Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a solid electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries that will provide greater energy density. The substance is made by manipulating lithium-thiophosphate so that it could conduct ions 1000 times faster than in its natural bulk form. The researchers used nanostructuring to alter the structure of the crystals that make up the material.

By altering it in this way, the solid electrolyte was not flammable as a liquid electrolyte would be. Chengdu Liang, who led the study, said: "Cycling highly reactive lithium metal in flammable organic electrolytes causes serious safety concerns," Liang said. "A solid electrolyte enables the lithium metal to cycle well, with highly enhanced safety."

The team developed the solid electrolyte by refining lithium-thiophosphate until it could conduct ions at a faster rate than in its natural state.

"We started with a conventional material that is highly stable in a battery system - in particular one that is compatible with a lithium metal anode," said Liang.

One of the research paper’s coauthors, Adam Rondinone, said the method can be scaled up to create large amounts of the material based on the same nanostructuring.

Lead surplus no more?

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Lead supplies could fall into deficit for the first time in five years.  Recycling of car batteries has stunted demand for raw resources but, with a growing market in Asia for electric bikes, industry demand for lead is rising.  

The 2012 global lead market is set to record a surplus of 144,000 metric tons. The price has declined in recent years due to this surplus, with value falling from US$2 700/t to $1 900/t from last year.

Demand for electric bikes should reduce the surplus and push prices up, lead producers would welcome this as prices have fallen steadily since 2007 when it was valued at US$3 890/t on the London Metal Exchange.

With lead producing factories closing in China and environmental concerns hindering expansion, the demand for lead is outstripping supply. 

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