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Lithium-ion

Materials firm plans lithium-ion battery material plant in US

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 11:59 -- Paul Crompton
Specialty materials firm Unifrax plans today to build its first large-scale SiFAB

Specialty materials firm Unifrax plans today to build its first large-scale SiFAB (silicon fiber anode material) manufacturing line in the US.

The New York-headquartered manufacturer plans to build the facility in the state of Indiana by the end of 2023.

It is the first time Unifrax has taken a step into developing silicon fiber for the lithium-ion battery manufacturing market. 

SiFAB is being tested in multiple battery systems, with Unifrax expecting results to show the material delivers faster charges and longer battery life for applications including electric vehicles, and energy grid storage.

The Indiana plant will be the first to begin building SiFAB long-term manufacturing capacity. 

John Dandolph, Unifrax president and CEO, said the ability to leverage their existing facility and add new infrastructure to support manufacturing would “significantly accelerate” the timeline for supplying to material to its partners.

Chad Cannan, senior vice president R&D, said: “We designed SiFAB from its inception to be manufactured at large scale so that we could supply all market segments (EV’s, consumer electronics, power tools, and renewable storage), utilise our existing global manufacturing footprint, and deliver a product that has a high degree of quality and consistency.”

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China on verge of banning large-scale ESSs using second-life lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 10:19 -- Paul Crompton
China large-scale ESS lithium-ion batteries

Is China on the verge of banning the use of second-life lithium-ion batteries in large-scale energy storage systems (ESS) amid a spate of fires this year?

The halt will continue until a “breakthrough in battery consistency management technology and a sound power battery performance testing and evaluation system” is developed, according to reports from China media group Caixing.

The ceasing of secondary battery use follows the National Energy Administration issued a draft report ‘Regulations for the Management of New Energy Storage Projects’ on June 22.

What capacity constitutes “large-scale” is not clear.

The Caixing report stated: “According to industry sources, there are few energy storage projects that can be called cascade utilization of large-scale power batteries. In addition, the document does not specify the criteria for defining "large-scale" projects.”

The draft also proposes that completed and operating projects should be regularly evaluated and monitored, and supervision should be strengthened.

Cascade utilisation generally refers to using a battery with less than 80% capacity in EESs for commercial and residential, and telecom base station applications.

In January, an explosion at a China recycling plant owned by lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) killed one person and injured 19 more.

In April, two firefighters died when they were putting out a fire in an energy storage power station in Fengtai District of Beijing, according to the China Daily news outlet.

 
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Firms partner to collect and recycle EV lithium-ion batteries across the US

Tue, 06/29/2021 - 10:37 -- Paul Crompton
retriev EV lithium-ion batteries recycling plant in the  US

Retriev Technologies has solidified its position in the North American lithium-ion battery recycling market with two milestones this month.

Last week the firm announced its first volume shipment of recovered battery materials to Marubeni Corporation.

The shipment was made under the umbrella of their strategic partnership, which was formed in February to develop an business model for end-of-life Lithium-ion batteries.

The recycling program aims to take valuable metals recovered from used batteries to expand the circular business model for EV battery-to-battery closed loop recycling.

Earlier this month, the company teamed up with electronics recycler Hobi International to begin collecting and recycling large format EV batteries throughout North America.

The companies entered into a collaborative partnership to ensure lithium batteries used in EVs are collected and responsibly recycled to create value within the battery industry’s circular economy.

Rick Rose, vice president of Retriev Technologies’ Ohio Corporate Headquarters, said: “As more states adopt measures similar to California, which has implemented a ban on internal combustion engines sold in the state starting in 2030, the EV market will grow exponentially in the coming years. 

“The end-of-life management and recycling of these batteries is critical for environmental safety and sustainability, and it must be addressed now.” 

Last year, scientists at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in the US demonstrated a proof-of-principle electrochemical process for recycling lithium-ion batteries using material from Retriev.

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Solid-state lithium-ion company to go public after merger with blank cheque firm

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 16:36 -- Paul Crompton
Solid-state lithium-ion company to go public after merger with blank cheque firm

The battery industry’s gradual transition to solid-state lithium-ion technology continues this week with Solid Power signing a deal to become a publicly listed company.

The producer of all-solid-state batteries is due to trade on NASDAQ following a merger with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III (DRC), a blank cheque firm sponsored by an affiliate of energy-focused private investment firm Riverstone Holdings.

Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company’s common stock and warrants are expected to trade under the ticker symbol “SLDP”, and is expected to have a nine-person board composed of a majority of independent directors and will continue to be led by its existing management team.

Cash proceeds to Solid Power will be used to fund operations and support its growth.

The boards of directors of both Solid Power and DCRC have approved the proposed transaction, which is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

Robert Tichio, chairman of the board of DCRC and partner at Riverstone Holdings, said, “Solid-state batteries have long been the elusive technology breakthrough in the battery category for the better part of a decade. 

“Countless labs, scientists, ventures and corporates have claimed progress towards scalable solid-state batteries, with an emphasis on claims. No other known company has made the type of commercialisation achievements in all-solid-state batteries that Solid Power has.”

In May, Solid Power announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. 

Ford and the BMW Group also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all-solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles. 

Transaction Overview 

The business combination values Solid Power at an implied $1.2 billion pro forma enterprise value. Upon closing of the transaction and assuming no redemptions by DCRC public stockholders, Solid Power is expected to have approximately $600 million in cash, including a $165 million fully committed PIPE transaction anchored by investors Koch Strategic Platforms, Riverstone Energy Limited, Neuberger Berman funds and Van Eck Associates Corporation. 

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Environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery recycling method announced by ORNL

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 16:33 -- Paul Crompton
Environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery recycling method announced by ORNL

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a solvent that enables a “more environmentally friendly” process for recycling lithium-ion batteries.

The ORNL-developed wet chemical process uses triethyl phosphate to dissolve the binder material that adheres cathodes to metal foil current collectors in lithium-ion batteries.

The method can recover cobalt-based cathodes, graphite and other valuable materials like copper foils for reuse in new batteries.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher Yaocai Bai told BEST: "We are working with the battery industry and several companies are interested in this patented technology.

"The pyrometallurgical process involves the high energy cost of using high-temperature kilns and the detrimental generation of gaseous pollutants. The hydrometallurgical process involves caustic reagents and wastewater treatment. In contrast, our method utilises a green solvent that can be recycled and reused, making the process more environmentally friendly.

"The cost of this process is currently being evaluated. We are using the EverBatt model developed by the DOE ReCell Center to study both the cost and environmental aspects of our process. We believe the cost is low because of the reusability of the green solvent."

The use of, triethyl phosphate enabled the recovery of cobalt-containing cathodes, such as NMC622, by dissolving the polymeric binder of poly (vinylidene fluoride). 

Electrochemically active materials were separated from cathode scraps collected at the manufacturing step of electrodes through a solvent-based separation method without jeopardizing their physical characteristics, crystalline structure, and electrochemical performance. 

The team reported the recovered aluminum foils had no sign of corrosion and the polymeric binder could be recovered via a non-solvent-induced phase separation.

Additionally, recovery of cathode materials from spent cells was achieved using refined separation parameters based on the recycling of cathode scraps.

ORNL’s Ilias Belharouak said: “With this solvent, we’re able to create a process that reduces toxic exposure for workers and recovers valuable, undamaged, active NMC [nickel-manganese-cobalt] cathodes, clean metal foils and other materials that can be easily reused in new batteries.” 

To date, the tem has only tested the technology on a "few kilograms" of battery scrap.

 

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

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 08:47 -- Paul Crompton
MoU sets out plans to build North American lithium-ion battery recycling plant

Battery recycler Primobius 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 steel firm Stelco Holdings— to commercialise a 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, and recover valuable materials for re-use or re-sale.

Primobius is a joint venture equally owned by Australia’s Neometals and German SMS group.

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

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Entek MoU signals lithium-ion battery seperator partnership with UK gigafactory

Thu, 06/24/2021 - 16:27 -- Paul Crompton
Entek MoU signals lithium-ion battery sepertor partnership with UK gigafactory

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand a UK battery separator manufacturing supply chain has been signed between UK lithium-ion gigafactory developer Britishvolt and battery separator firm Entek.

Firming their ongoing collaboration, the MoU sets out a roadmap to use Entek’s separators in Britishvolt’s batteries with the goal of creating a scalable production of lithium battery separators in the UK.

The MoU also sets out potential investment in facilities at Entek’s battery separator plant in Newcastle-upon-tyne and a co-located facility within Britishvolt’s Blyth campus in the UK.

The deal is the foundation for a long-term separator supply agreement that will allow Entek to invest in the UK’s first lithium battery separator plant.  

Larry Keith, Entek CEO said: “We are delighted to have been selected as Britishvolt’s preferred lithium-ion battery separator partner and eager to align our objectives and investments with their transformational plans to build a 30+ gigawatt hour factory in the UK”.

Britishvolt is delighted to be entering into this non-binding aagreement with ENTEK to supply lithium-ion battery separators.

Colocation at Britishvolt’s site aims to reduce the length of the supply chain and the carbon footprint of battery production.

Entek has a long history of investing in its UK operations and is a natural partner for Britishvolt as it establishes itself as the premier Lithium battery manufacturer in the UK.  Together, ENTEK and Britishvolt are committed to the future of electrification of vehicles with products made domestically.

Earlier this year, Battery separator firm Entek signed a deal to acquire the majority stake in Nippon Sheet Glass’ (NSG) lead-acid battery separator business.

You can read more about Entek in the forthcoming BEST magazine, published in mid-July. Subscribe here to make sure you receive your copy.

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Australia to make lithium-ion batteries within months

Tue, 06/22/2021 - 16:22 -- Paul Crompton
Australia to make lithium-ion batteries within months

The first Australia produced batteries are due to roll off the production line within weeks as Energy Renaissance moves closer to its goal of a domestic lithium-ion gigafactory.

The company aims to make its first cells at the interim plant in Tomago, New South Wales, by August.

The company is manufacturing its superRack energy storage systems using a combination of Australian and imported materials, but aims to be making batteries using 100% domestically sourced materials from 2024.

The 4,000 square-meter purpose-built, 36MWh per year lithium-ion manufacturing plant in Tomago cost of AUS$28 million ($20 million).

The company expects to transition to its 1GWh purpose-built battery manufacturing facility— Renaissance One— by February 2022 with the aim of growing capacity to 5.3GWh. 

Renaissance One will have an initially capacity of 200MWh per year when it is commissioned next February, with plans to ramp up to 800MWh per year depending on the final level of automation.

A company spokesman told BEST: “We secured the lease for a temporary facility in Tomago, NSW, to allow us to commence production of batteries by August.

“This means we will have Australian batteries available sooner than we had originally planned last October.

“We have commenced planning for the manufacturing of battery cells at a dedicated facility called Renaissance Two that will supply cells to the Renaissance One battery manufacturing facility. 

“At this stage, we are currently in the preliminary planning stages and we hope that Renaissance Two will commence operations in mid-2023.”

Last year the company secured AUS$246,625 ($175,000) co-funded grant to push forward plans for its Renaissance One plant, which will manufacture batteries for Australia and export to Southeast Asia.

 
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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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JV aims to build Italian lithium-ion gigafactory for motive and stationary application markets

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:31 -- Paul Crompton
JV aims to build Italian lithium-ion gigafactory for motive and stationary application markets

A joint venture (JV) aims to produce lithium-ion batteries in Italy with the end goal of reaching a production capacity of more than 2GWh within five years.

Electric propulsion maker Fincantieri SI and energy storage system developer Faist Electronics have formed the JV Power4Future company to build a manufacturing facility, followed by the design, assembly, marketing and after-sales services for modules and battery packs.

Plans also include control devices such as battery management systems (BMS) and ancillary systems (such as fire protection and air conditioning for complete battery stationary systems).

Power4Future will target a number of markets, including: automotive (with particular reference to commercial vehicles), telecommunication and industrial (i.e. material handling machines).

The JV will also target marine and land-based energy storage applications where Faist Electronics and Fincantieri SI are already established.

Gianfranco Natali, president and founder of Faist Group, said: “In a green energy setting, lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems will be the new fuel tank for the maritime and land mobility of the future.”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: “Future environmental protection regulations will drive ship owners to adopt new alternative solutions to those currently based on internal combustion engines, in order to produce and use energy. 

“Faced with the need for greater storage capacity, lithium-ion batteries today are the only solution that is both technically and economically sustainable for full electric vessels, which currently makes them one of the most important assets not only for the naval industry, but also for all the other sectors where we will be able to operate with this new company.”

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