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Johnson Matthey steps up to buy assets and IP of lithium-sulfur firm Oxis

Mon, 08/02/2021 - 11:18 -- Paul Crompton
Oxis lithium-sulfur battery

Johnson Matthey has bought the intellectual property and assets of fellow UK firm and lithium-sulfur pioneer Oxis Energy.

As well as acquiring the assets and intellectual property of Oxis Energy, Johnson Matthey will also take up the lease at its premises at Culham Science Park, Oxford, UK.

The deal was finalised on 28 July, just over two months after the appointment of administrators.

A Johnson Matthey spokesperson told BEST the company was not disclosing the financial details of the acquisition at this time.

They added: “With moderate additional investment in upgrades, this transaction will significantly accelerate the scale-up of JM’s growing Green Hydrogen business.

“The physical assets of Oxis Energy serve multiple purposes: the physical assets at the Culham Science Park location allows JM’s Green Hydrogen business to develop, test, and produce catalyst coated membranes; battery testing equipment provides additional testing and quality control capability for Battery Materials product development

“The Intellectual property relating to lithium-sulfur battery technologies – a disruptive next generation battery materials technology – presents opportunities for JM’s Battery Materials business to advance its development of future battery materials technologies.”

The sale of the assets and intellectual property of Oxis Energy deal was secured by BDO business restructuring partners Simon Girling and Chris Marsden, with a team comprising of senior manager Douglas Cecil and senior executive Mike Griffiths. 

With premises in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and in South Wales, Oxis was a developer of lithium-sulfur batteries. 

Girling said: "We are pleased to have secured the sale of assets and intellectual property of OXIS Energy. With the help of TLT Solicitors, Gordon Brothers, Marsh and PHD Property, we were able to preserve the asset base in challenging conditions. This will enable a significant distribution to be made to creditors.”

Oxis announced it was on the brink of collapse in June after failing to secure the funding it needed to continue its research. 

 
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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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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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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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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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UK scientists drive progress on lithium-air batteries

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 13:51 -- Paul Crompton
UK scientists drive progress on lithium-air batteries

Researchers in the UK are making progress in the development of stable and practical electrolytes for lithium-oxygen batteries.

Scientists have characterised and developed electrolyte formulations that minimise side reactions within the lithium-oxygen (lithium-air) battery to enable improved longer cycle stability.

Work was led by the University of Liverpool’s Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (SIRE) in partnership with Johnson Matthey, and Loughborough University.

The technology is in its infancy, but in theory could provide much greater energy storage than the conventional lithium-ion battery, say the team.

The research was published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Lead author of the paper, Dr Alex Neale from SIRE, said the research demonstrated the reactivity of certain electrolyte components can be switched off by precise control of component ratios.

Dr Neale said: “The ability to precisely formulate the electrolyte using readily-available, low volatility components enabled us to specially tailor an electrolyte for the needs of metal-air battery technology that delivered greatly improved cycle stability and functionality.

“The outcomes from our study really show that by understanding the precise coordination environment of the lithium ion within our electrolytes, we can link this directly to achieving significant gains in electrolyte stability at the Li metal electrode interface and, consequently, enhancements in actual cell performance.”

The electrolytes provide new benchmark formulations to support ongoing investigations to understand and develop new, and practically viable, cathode architectures to reduce round-trip inefficiencies and further extend cycle lifetimes. 

The collaborative study was made possible by support from an Innovate UK grant.

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Grid-Scale ESS ruling opens doors as UK’s pipeline reaches 15GW

Mon, 05/24/2021 - 10:48 -- Paul Crompton
Grid-Scale ESS ruling opens doors as UK’s pipeline reaches 15GW

Permission to build a 99.9MW energy storage project in the UK has been granted to renewable energy company RES.

The Lakeside Energy Storage project in North Yorkshire will store power from the national grid at times of low demand and high renewables generation, with the stored energy exported back to the grid at times of high demand and lower renewable generation. 

RES has permission for 51 energy storage containers and 42 transformers. 

A RES spokesman told BEST they were “not at the stage to be able to provide details” on the type and chemistry of the battery or who would supply them. 

Construction is expected to begin late next year, and the site is set to be fully operational by late 2023.  

Until last July, energy storage developers were effectively capped at 49.9MW due to Britain’s Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) process, which meant projects over 50MW had to go through a planning process.

Since the ruling a number of 50MW+ projects have been announced.

The biggest of which is InterGen’s 320MW/640MWh lithium-ion battery site at DP World London Gateway, on the Thames Estuary in Essex, England. 

The £200 million ($267 million) project will be designed to include potential for expanding up to 1.3GWh.

The UK has a total pipeline of 19.9GW of projects, including: 1.3GW of operational energy storage; 6.2GW in planning; 6.9GW with planning permission (but not grid connection approval) and 1.8GW is ready to be built, according to industry analysts Solar Media Market Research.

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UK solid-state battery developer signs agreement to scale-up pouch cell development

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 12:08 -- Paul Crompton

UK battery developer Ilika has signed a framework agreement with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to support the scale-up of the former’s Goliath solid-state pouch cells.

The framework agreement sets up a plan for the companies to work together on solid-state cells and includes the ability for Ilika to set up a production line at the BIC in the facilities planned during Phase 2 of the UKBIC’s expansion. 

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New code of practice for handling lithium-ion batteries lays foundation for electric vehicles in the UK

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 09:30 -- Paul Crompton

The first standard in a far-reaching code of practice has been published by the UK’s British Standards Institute (BSI) to ensure the safe and environmentally-friendly manufacture, use and disposal of lithium-ion batteries.

The standard covers eleven handling themes— including storage, hazards and fumes— and is designed to help pack and module manufacturers, vehicle OEMs and recycling organisations manage risks throughout a battery’s lifetime.

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World’s first test bench using CT surveillance on lithium-ion batteries is opened in Europe

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 17:15 -- Paul Crompton

Climatic chamber maker Weiss Technik has developed a test bench for lithium-ion batteries that aims to improve the safety, durability and performance of batteries as well as inform the development of EU-standards.

Developed at its German headquarters, the testing facility at the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Petten, the Netherlands, will enable researchers to use computer tomography (CT) images during battery operation. 

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