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Lithium-ion

Graphene boosted aluminium-ion cell show lithium-ion battery beating potential

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 12:25 -- paul Crompton
Graphene boosted aluminium-ion cell show lithium-ion battery beating potential

Initial tests on aluminium-ion coin cells can out perform lithium-ion, according to Australia’s Graphene Manufacturing Group and the University of Queensland.  

Performance tests were conducted on 1.7 volt coin cells using Graphene Manufacturing Group’s (GMG) patent-pending surface perforation of graphene. 

The tests were performed at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at University of Queensland (UQ). 

Results showed the cells reached 150-160Wh/kg and up to 7,000W/kg with the ability to charge an average phone battery in less than five minutes.

GMG aims to deliver commercial coin-cell prototypes for customer testing in six months and a commercial pouch-pack prototype—for consumer applications— for customer testing in 18 months. 

The technology works by making atomic size holes in the graphene, which allows the aluminium ions to penetrate and be held in the graphene to make a higher energy density.

The graphene is then placed on the battery’s cathode, while the anode is plain aluminium foil.

Dr Ashok Nanjundan (pictured, left), GMG’s chief scientific officer, said: “This is a real game-changing technology which can offer a real alternative with an interchangeable battery technology for the existing lithium-ion batteries in almost every application with GMG’s graphene and UQ’s patent-pending aluminium ion battery technology. 

“The current nominal voltage of our batteries is 1.7 volts, and work is being carried out to increase the voltage to directly replace existing batteries and which lead to higher energy densities.

“Furthermore, graphene aluminium-ion batteries provide major benefits in terms of longer battery life (over 2000 charge/discharge cycles testing so far with no deterioration in performance), battery safety (very low fire potential) and lower environmental impact (more recyclable).” 

In April, GMG and UQ signed a research agreement with AIBN to develop graphene aluminium-ion batteries.

Under the agreement, GMG will manufacture commercial battery prototypes for watches, phones, laptops, electric vehicles and grid storage with technology developed at the University of Queensland.

GMG has also signed a license agreement with Uniquest, the University of Queensland commercialisation company, for an exclusive license of the technology for battery cathodes.      

GMG’s CEO and managing director, Craig Nicol said the goal was to build a viable graphene and coin cell battery production facility in Australia. 

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Northvolt’s billion-dollar ‘milestone’ as it eyes German gigafactory

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:22 -- paul Crompton
Northvolt’s billion-dollar ‘milestone’ as it eyes German gigafactory

Battery firm Northvolt has raised a further $2.75 billion in private placement to drive its lithium-ion production capacity and R&D efforts.

The latest round of funding brings Northvolt’s combined financing to more than $6.5 billion in equity and debt as it plans at least 150GWh of deployed annual production capacity in Europe by 2030.

In order to meet its 2030 capacity target, Northvolt anticipates building at least two more gigafactories in Europe, and is actively exploring the opportunity of building the next in Germany.

The latest private placement was co-led by new investors AP funds 1-4, via the co-owned company 4 to 1 Investments, and Canada’s defined benefit pension plan OMERS.

Existing investors included Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Volkswagen Group. 

Also participating in the equity raise were owners AMF, ATP, Baillie Gifford, Baron Capital Group, Bridford Investments Limited, Compagnia di San Paolo through Fondaco Growth, Cristina Stenbeck, Daniel Ek, IMAS Foundation, EIT InnoEnergy, Norrsken VC, PCS Holding, Scania and Stena Metall Finans. 

Alexander Hartman, CFO of Northvolt said: “This is a new European industry in the making and it will require significant investments over the coming decade.”

Northvolt says it has secured more than $27 billion worth of contracts from customers, including: BMW, Fluence, Scania and Volkswagen.

Northvolt’s first gigafactory, Northvolt Ett, in Skellefteå, Sweden, is being expanded from 40GWh to 60GWh, and is due to begin production later this year.

 

Key Green milestone

The Northvolt plant is a key milestone in Europe’s industrial ramp up to achieve the European Green Deal objectives, according to EIT InnoEnergy.    

Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy, welcomed Northvolt’s new finacing round.

He said: “Northvolt represents a cornerstone in Europe’s ambition to create an annual €250 billion battery value chain by 2025, as envisioned in 2017 when European Commission Vice President Šefčovič launched the European Battery Alliance and mandated EIT InnoEnergy to lead the industrial ecosystem. 

“It is also a leading example of how Europe can create new industrial value chains, which are at the core of growth, job creation and competitiveness.”

The European Battery Alliance brings together more than 600 industrial, financial and innovation actors with the objective to build a strong, sustainable and competitive European industrial battery value chain, from mining to recycling.

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First New York lithium-ion cells made as consortium eyes 45GWh global capacity

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:14 -- paul Crompton

A consortium has made its first lithium-ion cells as it moves toward plans for a commercially viable 15GWh gigafactory in New York, US.

Imperium3 New York (iM3NY) has produced its first full sized prismatic cells for limited testing and customer sampling in Q3 of this year.

The first cells were produced using manual settings to refine the product design for future automated production. 

Imperium3 New York consortium consists of Magnis Energy, C4V LLC New York and Boston Energy and Innovation.

The consortium said the cells were the first stage of demonstration of its ability to synchronise material science, engineering and process knowledge to produce a commercially viable lithium-ion cell. 

A Magnis statement read: “While the volumes would increase with fully optimised and automated lines, the current phase works towards production grade design and de-risks design unknowns involved in the transition from pilot production to full scale production.”

The manufacturing plant will be located in the Huron Campus of Endicott, New York State, and will be the first of three global locations that Imperium3 will commence volume operations from. 

Plans also include a 15GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Townsville, Australia. 

In all, the consortium aims to build three 15GWh battery manufacturing plants servicing global markets such as Australasia, North America and the Middle East.

Australia’s abundance of raw battery materials has led another firm to launch plans for a 1.3GWh factory.

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

 
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18650 lithium-ion cell breakthrough announced by Nanograf

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 12:08 -- paul Crompton
18650 lithium-ion cell breakthrough announced by Nanograf

Advanced battery material company NanoGraf has developed a breakthrough silicon-anode based lithium-ion 18650 cylindrical cell.

The company claims its 3.8 Ah, 18650 cell can achieve 800 watt-hour per litre (Wh/L) and provides a 28% longer run time than traditional cell chemistries— although the cycle life was not disclosed. 

NanoGraf’s team of scientists, technologists, and engineers unveiled the cell they say could benefit any application from consumer electronics to electric vehicles thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.

NanoGraf president, Dr. Kurt Breitenkamp, said: “This is a breakthrough for the battery industry. Energy density has plateaued, only increasing eight percent or so over the last decade. 

“We just achieved a 10 percent increase in a little under a year. This is over a decade’s worth of innovation in one technology.” 

Last year, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded NanoGraf a $1.65 million grant to develop longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries to power U.S. military equipment.

The funding required NanoGraf to develop a battery cell that can operate across a temperature range from -4°F to 131°F, and has a shelf life of more than two years.

In 2019, NanoGraf, formerly SiNode Systems, was awarded a $7.5 million grant to develop its graphite anode replacement product ahead of commercialisation plans.

The funding from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research, was awarded for a 36-month project.

 
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Sodium-ion trends as CATL announces plans to diversify into the technology

Fri, 06/11/2021 - 11:46 -- paul Crompton
Sodium-ion trends as CATL announces plans to diversify into the technology

UK battery maker Faradion has welcomed an announcement that lithium-ion battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) will begin making sodium-ion batteries from next month.

Faradion, which also makes sodium-ion batteries, said the decision underscores the importance of the technology as an integral part of a world beyond lithium.

Robin Zeng, the founder of Tesla's battery supplier CATL, reportedly made the announcement at a shareholder meeting.

A Faradion statement read: “This is a necessary transition: lithium-ion batteries used predominantly in EVs contain lithium, cobalt and copper, and in stationary energy storage lithium and copper. These are expensive raw materials and their mining leads to adverse environmental impacts. Lithium has also become constrained due to restricted availability and increased prices.

Faradion’s proprietary technology boasts performance of 150-160Wh/kg. 

In May, UK institute The Faraday Institution released its report ‘Sodium-ion Batteries: Inexpensive and Sustainable Energy Storage’.

The report outlined sodium-ion batteries promising cost, safety, sustainability and performance advantages over commercialised lithium-ion batteries. 

Key advantages include the use of widely available and inexpensive raw materials and a rapidly scalable technology based around existing lithium-ion production methods. 

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Recycling lithium-ion battery production waste into NMC cathode material

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 11:41 -- paul Crompton
Recycling lithium-ion battery production waste into NMC cathode material

Recycler American Manganese has reported the production of lithium-ion NMC (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide) cathode precursor material directly from recycled waste.

Through its independent R&D contractor Kemetco Research, the Canadian firm said the material had the same technical specification— particle morphology, size and distribution— found in conventional lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials.

The material was manufactured through the company’s RecycLiCo process.

American Manganese intends to enhance the processing flexibility of the RecycLiCo process by adjusting the ratio of leached metals before the end cathode precursor product is made. 

By adjusting the ratio of the leached metals, the company says it will be able to recycle older cathode chemistries, such as NMC-111, and transform the end product into cathode chemistries, such as NMC-622 or NMC-811, in a closed-loop process. 

The company will test this concept in its next production batch.

Larry Reaugh, president and CEO of American Manganese, said: “The feedstock material used in these recycling tests comes from lithium-ion battery production waste, which accounts for at least 10% of a gigafactory’s production capacity. 

“Therefore, by integrating the recycling process alongside gigafactories, we envision the recycling of battery production waste directly into cathode precursor material for use in battery re-manufacturing.”

Image: scanning electron microscopy scan of cathode precursor from recycled NMC cathode waste

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EPA grants permission for Australia 45,000 tpy lithium battery grade material refinery

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 10:24 -- paul Crompton
EPA grants permission for Australia 45,000 tpy lithium battery grade material refinery

A proposal to construct and operate a refinery to manufacture battery grade lithium hydroxide has been given the go ahead by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The 45,000 tonnes per annum Kwinana refinery, part of the Mt Holland project, has been recommended for environmental approval subject to strict conditions relating to greenhouse gas emissions and waste management.

Covalent Lithium aims to process spodumene ore concentrate to produce battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, primarily for use in lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries.

Covalent Lithium is a joint venture between Australia’s Wesfarmers and South America’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM) 

The spodumene ore concentrate will be sourced from the Mt Holland Mine, also known as the Earl Grey Lithium Project.

EPA chair Matthew Tonts said Covalent had identified several measures which would mitigate greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the project, including the use of efficient design and equipment technologies and the purchase of carbon offsets.

The EPA’s 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Guideline requires a proposal exceeding 100,000 tonnes of scope 1 emissions each year to demonstrate its contribution towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, in line with both the Paris Agreement and the IPCC’s 1.5 report.

The decision opens the doors to finalise the full funding of the project— Wesfarmers’ share of capital expenditure for the development of the project is estimated at AUS$950 million ($735 million). 

Following receipt of all relevant approvals, construction of the mine, concentrator and refinery are expected to begin in H1 next year.

The first production of lithium hydroxide is expected in the second half of 2024. 

An updated definitive feasibility study includes increased flexibility to provide for a second phase of the project to expand production capacity at Mt Holland and the Kwinana refinery. 

Preliminary work to evaluate expansion options will commence in parallel with the construction of the first phase of the project.

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Morrow Batteries’ ramps up plans for European lithium-ion gigafactory

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:21 -- paul Crompton
Battery materials firm Vianode, a subsidiary of Elkam, will supply anode materials for Morrow Batteries’ lithium-ion gigafactory.

Battery materials firm Vianode, a subsidiary of Elkam, will supply anode materials for Morrow Batteries’ lithium-ion gigafactory.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the firms covers the development and qualification of the large-scale supply of anode materials.

Morrow plans to build a 42GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Eyde Energy Park in Arendal municipality, Norway.

Vianode intends to supply the anode materials from its planned large-scale battery graphite plant at Herøya Industrial Park, Norway.

As part of the agreement, the companies will jointly develop tailored anode materials suited for Morrow lithium-ion cells, including both synthetic graphite and silicon-containing anode materials. 

Vianode has received NOK10 million ($1.1 million) in financial support from Norwegian government enterprise Enova to fund the initial planning of its materials plant. 

Vianode is aiming for a final investment decision this year to allow construction to begin before the end of 2021. 

Moving forward

On 4 June, Morrow and Siemens announced they would collaborate on sustainable digitalisation and automation of the gigafactory’s battery cell production value chain and the commercialisation of “low-cost products”.

Three days earlier, Morrow signed a letter of intent for support on automation, electrification, and digitisation of its planned facilities with ABB.

In addition, the companies intend to collaborate on a common go-to-market approach, with highly developed battery solutions as well as energy storage systems.

Last month, Morrow formalised the decision to build the 42GWH plant in Eyde Energy Park in Arendal municipality in the south of the country when it gained approval by Arendal City Council.

Morrow is due to start producing battery cells for electric vehicles starting in late 2024. 

All four modules will be completed in 2026.

Last month, Morrow appointed Juergen Lind as executive vice president (EVP) of Industrialization and Business Development. 

The former head of battery development at Audi will lead the build-up of Morrow's Industrialization Center (MIC) and drive “customer-centric battery cell development”.

Juergen will take up his post in August.

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LG Chem extends ESS recall after concerns with over-heating lithium-ion batteries

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:56 -- paul Crompton
LG Energy Solution— an LG Chem subsidiary— will extend its scheme to replace lithium-ion batteries used in its home energy storage systems (ESS) to include all geographical markets.

LG Energy Solution— an LG Chem subsidiary— will extend its scheme to replace lithium-ion batteries used in its home energy storage systems (ESS) to include all geographical markets.

ESSs manufactured between April 2017 and September 2018 are being recalled due to overheating concerns.

The latest scheme expands on similar programs in Australia and the US.

The Korean firm— launched last December by LG Chem— will replace batteries with others that “incorporate manufacturing process improvements that further enhance the safety of its ESS batteries” for free.

All proposed safety measures, including the replacement of the potentially affected ESS batteries, will take place after consultation with customers.

LG Energy Solution will implement remote modifications to the affected batteries, where possible, to reduce the potential for overheating while owners of the affected ESS units wait for their replacement units.

In addition, the firm will update its battery diagnostic and control software. 

Earlier this year, the Korean battery giant made a safety recall over concerns its Resu-branded residential ESSs installed in Australia could overheat and catch on fire.

These concerns came just months after a similar recall in the US, with the company working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) following reports of five fires with its battery systems.

The latest recall in the UK involves LG Chem’s RESU 10H lithium-ion storage battery that have been installed as part of a residential energy solar panel system.

The serial number of the recalled product begins with R15563P3SSEG and is located behind the access door of the RESU 10H (Type-R) home battery.

A newswire statement from LG Chem read: “LG Energy Solution conducted a review of its manufacturing and quality assurance processes in relation to reported incidents that occurred due to the overheating of the batteries subject to this program. 

“Based on its review, LG Energy Solution has determined that there were certain issues in the early production processes for electrodes used in these potentially affected ESS batteries. “ 

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GM to install diagnostic tools and software to recalled EVs at risk of lithium-ion battery fires

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:17 -- paul Crompton
GM to install diagnostic tools and software to recalled EVs at risk of lithium-ion battery fires

General Motors has issued a second recall on Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to fire risks with its lithium-ion batteries.

A number of the vehicles were built between 2017-2019 using high voltage cells produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, Korea, facility that may pose a risk of fire when charged to full, or close to full, capacity.

GM is notifying owners that it has developed a remedy to complete the previously announced global safety recall last November of 68,667 Bolt vehicles after a series of fires.

As part of the fix Bolt dealers will use GM-developed diagnostic tools to identify potential battery anomalies and replace battery module assemblies as necessary.  

The fix also includes the installation of diagnostic software into the vehicles that can detect issues related to changes in battery module performance before problems develop.

When the vehicle is updated with the new software, the 90% state of charge limitation— imposed by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—will be removed so the battery is returned to its previous maximum charging capacity.

Customers of 2019 model year Chevrolet Bolt EVs were able to have this fix performed from 29 April, and customers who own 2017 and 2018 model year Bolt EVs were eligible to have the fix performed from 26 May.

GM said it would also make advanced diagnostic software available to all other Bolt EV owners in the coming months.  

Additionally, they will be making this diagnostic software standard in the 2022 Bolt EV and EUV, as well as future GM electric vehicles.

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