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Lithium-ion

Toyocolor to supply CNT to and SK Innovations European plants

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 15:18 -- paul Crompton
Lioaccum series of conductive carbon nanotube (CNT) dispersions

Functional materials firm Toyocolor is set to supply carbon nanotubes to Korea’s lithium-ion battery maker SK Innovations’ plants in the US and Europe.

Toyocolor, the colorants and functional materials division of Japan’s Toyo Ink Group, will supply its Lioaccum series of conductive carbon nanotube (CNT) dispersions. 

Lioaccum dispersions are used as the conductive additive in lithium-ion cathodes to expand battery capacity that enables electric vehicles to increase driving distances and charge faster. 

In this instance, the CNT’s will be used in lithium-ion batteries for Volkswagen Group and the Ford Motor Company.

Toyocolor said in a statement that its researchers in Japan had achieved high conductivity levels by replacing carbon black in the battery cathode with a small amount of Lioaccum CNT dispersions as the conductive additive.

At present, Toyocolor is providing SK Innovation with Lioaccum dispersions produced at its plant in Georgia, US.

Supply to SK Innovation’s European plants is due to move to Toyo Ink Hungary, in Hungary, in the first quarter of next year. 

Toyo Ink SC Holdings, the parent company of the Toyo Ink Group, plans to invest around 10 billion yen ($9990 million) up to 2026, to strengthen its global battery dispersions production network. 

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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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Lithium battery material deal marks Spanish mine’s commercialisation

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 10:17 -- paul Crompton

South Korean lithium-ion manufacturer LG Energy Solutions has secured a supply of battery grade lithium-hydroxide from a Spanish mine. 

The firm will receive the first rights to 10,000 tpa from the San Jose Industrial Lithium Project following the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Infinity Lithium Corporation.

The MoU refers to the potential supply of the material for an initial five-year period with the opportunity to extend that for a further five years.

Australia-listed firm Infinity owns the Spanish site with its joint venture partner Valoriza Mineria S.A.

The project treats and refines the ore into lithium hydroxide on site.

A binding offtake agreement is due to be signed within 12 months of the MoU.

Infinity Lithium first unveiled a scoping study for its San Jose project in 2018.

The company had previously released a lithium carbonate scoping study for San Jose, but said at the time it was shifting the project’s focus towards lithium hydroxide.

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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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Lithium-ion ESS to help Ukraine align its power markets with Europe

Tue, 07/13/2021 - 08:31 -- paul Crompton
world bank logo

A Ukrainian firm is set to build a 197MW lithium-ion energy storage system after securing a nine-figure loan from the World Bank.

Ukrainian private joint stock company Ukrhydroenergo (UHE) has borrowed a total of $212 million for the project to help link Ukraine’s power grid with the European power grid.

Power grid synchronisation is a Ukrainian strategic objective to create a competitive power market aligned with EU regulations and market practices. 

The project aims to enhance reliability and security of power supply through diversification of energy sources, and access to the EU’s market. 

The project will combine the energy storage systems with solar power plants within four hydropower plant sites (Kyiv, Kaniv, Kremenchuk and Seredniodniprovska) to allow for ancillary services to the national power grid. 

A long-duration battery with a solar power plant will also be installed within Dniester Hydro Power Plant.

The loan includes: a $177 million International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan; a $34 million Clean Technology Fund (CTF) concessional loan; and a $1 million CTF grant for a new project in Ukraine – Improving Power System Resilience for European Power Grid Integration (Installation of Hybrid Systems for Electricity Production in Ukrhydroenergo). 

Rup Banerji, World Bank regional country director for eastern Europe, said: “This will help Ukraine integrate its power system with the European power grid, reduce the influence of vested interests, and contribute to the achievement of a more energy independent Ukraine.”

The World Bank has already been working to prepare Ukraine’s power infrastructure for synchronisation with the EU power grid under the ongoing Second Power Transmission Project (PTP2). 

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Envision joins race to build UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 11:25 -- paul Crompton
Envision joins race to build UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory

Envision Group has joined the race to build the UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory that will form part of a £1 billion ($1.3 billion) electric vehicle hub.

The company will invest £450 million ($622 million) to build the gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

Formal planning for an initial 9GWh plant is about to begin, with Envision potentially investing up to £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) to reach to 25GWh capacity by 2030 with potential on site for up to 35GWh. 

Envision AESC, the battery arm of Envision Group, already owns and operates a battery plant in Sunderland, established in 2012 to supply batteries to Nissan.

Envision plans to manufacture batteries for up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year at the gigafactory that will sit opposite the Nissan plant.

Lei Zhang, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Envision Group, said: "His commitment builds on our long-term partnership with Nissan. It will put the North East at the heart of a new EV hub in the UK, collaborating on R&D around the whole battery lifecycle, from storage, to second life use, V2G smart charging and closed loop recycling." 

The gigafactory is part of the Nissan EV36Zero hub, which will bring together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production at one site. 

The billion-dollar project has been launched with investment by Nissan, Envision AESC, and Sunderland City Council.

Nissan will invest up to £423 million ($585 million) to produce a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK. 

Nissan started production in Sunderland in July 1986. 

Race to build a gigafactory

According to the Faraday Institution, the UK will need eight gigafactories to meet domestic demand from EV and energy storage system developers.

Joining the race for the UK’s first gigafactory is Britishvolt, which announced last December it was set to build its plant in the North East of England— five months after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Welsh government.

The company plans to begin construction of its plant in the Summer of 2021 after acquiring exclusive rights to a site in Blyth Northumberland. 

Read more about the Britishvolt’s plans in the Autumn 2020 edition of BEST magazine HERE

France gigafactory

Envision AESC is partnering with Renault Group to develop a 9GWh gigafactory in Douai by 2024, with aim of reaching 24GWh six-years later. 

Envision will invest up to €2 billion ($2.3 billion) to produce batteries for electric models, including the future Renault R5, at the plant in Douai situated near to Renault ElectriCity production sites at Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz.

Lei Zhang, founder and chief executive officer of Envision Group, said: “This first phase development will unlock future large-scale investment to grow the local supply chain and develop the whole life cycle opportunities of batteries, including energy storage, battery reuse, smart charging and closed loop recycling.”

 

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Battery materials firm hopes new VP’s government contacts will boost business

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 10:02 -- paul Crompton
6K has appointed Mary Cronin as vice-president of government affairs

Lithium-ion battery materials firm 6K has appointed Mary Cronin as vice-president of government affairs on the US firm’s executive leadership team. 

6K hopes Cronin’s contribution will add to the growing number of Defence Logistics Agency programs the company has been awarded.

Those programs include the $1 million DLA phase II program to establish a domestic capability to recover and convert critical metals from defense scrap into premium additive manufacturing powder.

Cronin has links to Capital Hill, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and strategic defense primes.

6K CEO Aaron Bent said: “Issues like battery manufacturing in the US, of which there is near zero capability currently, and securing critical elements like titanium domestically, pose a national threat to the country. 

“Our production platform can be a key driving force in solving these issues. Having Mary leading these initiatives with the highest levels of government will give us a strong voice in DC and uncover more strategic program opportunities.”

Cronin said she was attracted to the company because of its potential to impact domestic [US] battery production and its commitment to a new Battery Center of Excellence.

In April, 6K announced plans for the $25 million, 33,000 square-foot, Center of Excellence facility in Massachusetts to develop sustainable battery materials for energy storage devices, with a focus on electric vehicles, grid storage, and consumer goods.

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Residents evacuated as 100-ton lithium-ion fire rages for three days

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 09:33 -- paul Crompton
Illinois factory burns containing lithium-ion batteries

Toxic fumes and smoke from a fire involving up to 100 tons of lithium-ion batteries prompted emergency services to set up an evacuation order for up to 4,000 people from the area.

Firefighters in Illinois, US, battled for more than three days to bring the fire involving around 180,000 to 200,000 pounds of lithium batteries under control.

The lithium-ion batteries, ranging from mobile phone to SLI sized, were reportedly around three feet deep, covering an area of about 30 feet by 40 feet.

Exploding lithium batteries inside the building prompted fire officials to let the blaze burn out because they feared that trying to extinguish it could trigger more explosions, reported the Star Tribune newspaper.

Crews initially used water on the blaze before realising the batteries were inside the building. They then used more than 1,000 pounds of dry chemical Purple-K cement powder, and pumped 28 tons of dry Portland cement to cover a "trouble spot" of burning batteries.

Two federal agencies were involved: the US Environmental Protection Agency and FEMA headquarters in Washington DC.

Speaking at the time, fire chief Tracey Steffes from the Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District, said: “We were advised that we're dealing with between 80 and 100 tons of lithium batteries- so around 180,000 pounds to 200,000 pounds of lithium batteries.

"These batteries range in size from your cell phone to a little bigger than a car battery and as these batteries get wet, they short out and they ignite and explode. And that's the problem we're having. So we started our initial attack with water, and then we learned very quickly that that was not going to be a good avenue for extinguishment for this fire."

"The biggest hazard we have is the smoke and fumes as well as the gas from the fire. Highly poisonous and very deadly."

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Recycling partnership aims to make lithium-ion battery-grade graphite

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 11:10 -- paul Crompton
Recycling partnership to make lithium-ion battery-grade graphite

Nouveau Monde Graphite and Lithion Recycling have signed a collaboration agreement for the recovery and recycling of graphite for reuse as lithium-ion battery anodes.

The agreement aims to define the most efficient and cost-effective way to turn recycled graphite into anode material for lithium-ion batteries.

The partnership aims to position both companies in the global market using Lithion's hydrometallurgical recycling process and Nouveau Monde’s expertise to promote a graphite circular economy. 

Both companies operate in Québec, with facilities in and around Montréal, Canada. 

The firms will target “western markets” for commercialisation of their products.

A Nouveau Monde spokesman told BEST: “Operational parameters haven’t been finalised just yet. The agreement is the first step toward developing this collaboration and expertise.”

Lithion says its recycling process allows up to 95% of battery components to be recovered and treated so they can be reused by battery manufacturers.

Between 2022-2023, Lithion is set to launch its first commercial recycling plant, drawing on operational data from an industrial-scale demonstration plant in Québec. 

Lithion’s business model includes worldwide deployment, through licensing agreements, aiming at 20 recycling plants. 

Nouveau Monde is working towards developing a fully-integrated source of green battery anode material in Québec, Canada. Targeting commercial operations by 2023.

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Envision Group has joined the race to build the UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 12:14 -- paul Crompton
Envision Group UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory

Envision Group has joined the race to build the UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory that will form part of a £1 billion ($1.3 billion) electric vehicle hub.

The company will invest £450 million ($622 million) to build the gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

Formal planning for an initial 9GWh plant is about to begin, with Envision potentially investing up to £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) to reach to 25GWh capacity by 2030 with potential on site for up to 35GWh. 

Envision AESC, the battery arm of Envision Group, already owns and operates a battery plant in Sunderland, established in 2012 to supply batteries to Nissan.

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