Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Report: Going 100% renewable power means a lot of dirty mining – by Naveena Sadasivam (Grist.org – April 17, 2019)

https://grist.org/

Click here for full report: https://bit.ly/2L2wGdd

For more than a decade, indigenous communities in Alaska have been fighting to prevent the mining of copper and gold at Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and a crucial source of sustenance.

The proposed mine, blocked under the Obama administration but inching forward under the Trump administration, has been billed by proponents as necessary to meet the growing demand for copper, which is used in wind turbines, batteries, and solar panels.

Similar stories are playing out in Norway, where the Sámi community is fighting a copper mine, and in Papua New Guinea, where a company has been mining the seabed for gold and copper. Continue Reading →

Electric cars can clean up the mining industry – here’s how – by Elsa Dominish and Nick Florin (The Conversation – April 16, 2019)

https://theconversation.com/

Growing demand for electric vehicles is important to help cut transport emissions, but it will also lead to new mining. Without a careful approach, we could create new environmental damage while trying to solve an environmental problem.

Like solar panels, wind turbines and battery storage technologies, electric vehicles require a complex mix of metals, many of which have only been previously mined in small amounts.

These include cobalt, nickel and lithium for batteries used for electric vehicles and storage; rare earth metals for permanent magnets in electric vehicles and some wind turbines; and silver for solar panels. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Governments’ diesel drive backfired. Will their battery push blow up too? – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – April 13, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The late Sergio Marchionne, who was CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, hated electric cars – to the point that he urged customers to not buy the electric version of the little Fiat 500. That’s because the company lost US$14,000 on the sale of each one.

Let Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, blow his brains out on electric cars; FCA would resist them, though ever-tighter emission regulations in some regions, such as California, meant the company was forced to launch a few battery models.

Mr. Marchionne’s point was that it was impossible to tell whether electric motors, which use expensive batteries and are hobbled by short driving ranges, or some other technology – maybe fuel cells – would emerge as the winning propulsion system. He was right about that. Today, the market share of electric cars, while rising from insignificant levels, is about 2 per cent. It remains a niche technology largely reserved for the rich. Continue Reading →

Worried about nickel supply, China battery maker BYD welcomes JV discussions – by Tom Daly (Reuters Canada – April 11, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Securing enough nickel is a major worry for electric vehicle firms, an executive from Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd said on Thursday, adding that the company would welcome joint ventures that help guarantee supply.

Nickel is one of several metals that are key components of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. A shift in battery chemistry toward higher nickel content, which would allow cars to go further on a single charge, is expected to boost demand further.

“The supply of nickel going forward is a big concern in everybody’s mind,” said Coco Liu, procurement director at BYD, at the Fastmarkets Battery Materials conference. Continue Reading →

From turbines to thermostats: Copper miners eyes high-tech demand – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – April 10, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Growing demand for smart thermostats, wind turbines and other high-tech devices is expected to keep copper the dominant material used in electrical components, industry players said, offsetting rising use of aluminum, a cheaper alternative to conduct electricity.

That bodes well for the likes of Chilean producer Codelco, Rio Tinto Plc and other major copper miners, who are investing billions of dollars to bring new supplies of the metal online during the next 20 years.

Copper is used to make motors, batteries, wiring and other goods as it is the best electrical-conducting metal, after silver. Aluminum, which is lighter and cheaper than copper, shares some of these traits, but is more corrosive and brittle than its red rival and only about 60 percent as conductive. Continue Reading →

Revitalizing its copper mines may not be sufficient to keep Chile at the fore – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters U.S. – April 10, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Codelco and other copper mining giants are set to plow billions of dollars into the revitalization of Chile’s mines, but that may not be enough to keep the country from losing ground to competitors elsewhere in the world.

Demand for copper is widely expected to take off by the mid-2020s amid a boom in electric vehicle production, but Chile is saddled with mines facing crippling declines in ore grades and a system that allows the bulk of its exploration concessions to sit idle.

“Chile is a fantastic country to work in. The question then comes, if it has all this potential, why are we not seeing growth in exploration?” said Anthony Amberg, of Los Andes Copper, a Canada-based junior with prospects in Chile. Continue Reading →

Battery Reality: There’s Nothing Better Than Lithium-Ion Coming Soon – by David R. Baker (Bloomberg News – April 3, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Clean-energy visionaries have long argued that the world needs a better battery capable of selling skeptical consumers on electric cars and running the grid on renewable power. And yet the battery of the future—at least for the coming decade—will almost certainly be the battery of the past.

The humble lithium-ion battery has built up such a commanding lead in the market that competing technologies may struggle to catch up. That lead will only widen as a wave of planned new lithium-ion factories comes online in the next five years.

The batteries pouring from new factories in China, the U.S., Thailand and elsewhere will further drive down prices, which have already plunged 85 percent since 2010. And the billions spent on factories will create a powerful incentive for the industry to keep tweaking lithium-ion technology, improving it bit by bit, rather than adopting something else. Continue Reading →

Copper producers gather; electric cars seen driving demand growth – by Zandi Shabalala and Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.K. – April 7, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Global copper producers are converging in Chile this week as tightening supply buoys prices, even as the industry grapples with declining ore quality, project delays and worries the U.S-China trade war may hit long-term demand.

Despite these challenges, the industry is planning for substantial growth in the next decade thanks to an expected boom in production of electric vehicles, which use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines. Automakers are vowing to produce all-electric fleets.

With all that in mind, hundreds of investors, executives, analysts and regulators are gathering in Santiago, the Chilean capital, for the annual World Copper Conference. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: United States sets sights on China in new electric vehicle push – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – April 5, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – U.S. government officials plan to meet with executives from automakers and lithium miners in early May as part of a first-of-its-kind effort to launch a national electric vehicle supply chain strategy, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

While Volkswagen AG, Tesla Inc and other electric-focused automakers and battery manufacturers are expanding in the United States and investing billions in the new technology, they are reliant on mineral imports without a major push to develop more domestic mines and processing facilities.

China already dominates the electric vehicle supply chain. It produces nearly two-thirds of the world’s lithium-ion batteries – compared to 5 percent for the United States – and controls most of the world’s lithium processing facilities, according to data from Benchmark Minerals Intelligence, which tracks prices for lithium and other commodities and is organizing the Washington, D.C., event. Continue Reading →

China, cobalt and the Congo: Why Xi Jinping is winning the ‘batteries arms race’ – by Felix Todd (Compelo.com – April 4, 2019)

https://www.compelo.com/

Over the past decade, China has established a monopoly over cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the vast majority of the metal resides. In an argent rendition of 1848’s Gold Rush, a single silver-tinged metal has caught the world’s attention: Cobalt.

Critical to the construction of batteries, it has emerged as central to some of the industries set to determine the future. Roughly 10kg of the precious resource is needed to make an electric car, for example, and, without it, the feasibility of grid-scale battery storage is severely compromised.

The vast majority of the planet’s cobalt is located within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where a plethora of interested parties are engaged in a frantic contest for control over mining operations. Continue Reading →

China Is Building the Batteries of the Future – by Damien Ma and Neil Thomas (Foreign Policy – April 2, 2019)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

Tesla is the United States’ only shot at critical new technology.

Tesla is a company that its critics love to hate. A swarm of short sellers have bet $10 billion that the electric carmaker will fail. They tweet incessantly about Tesla’s loss-making operations and even fly drones over its facilities to verify production figures. Elon Musk, Tesla’s erratic CEO, has berated these short-sellers as “haters.”

Betting against Tesla’s prospects may profit short-sellers, but it could end up dashing America’s only hope to build supply chains for a technology that will reshape the future economy: the lithium-ion (li-ion) battery.
Originally commercialized by Sony in the 1990s, these batteries’ high-energy density, long recharging cycles, lightweight structure, and relative safety make them ideal for powering everything including laptops, smartphones, and electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Europe aims to take its place on the global EV battery production stage – by Amanda Stutt (Mining.com – March 28, 2019)

http://www.mining.com/

The European Commission is eyeing opportunities within the EU’s minerals and mining sector, and has put forward, in its Strategic Action Plan (SAP) on batteries, a comprehensive set of targeted measures to make Europe a global leader in sustainable battery production and use.

The SAP focuses on including raw materials research and innovation, financing and investment, standardization, regulation, and trade and skills development to secure a sustainable supply of battery raw materials.

In his opinion piece in the EU Observer, Raw Materials: ‘holy grail’ of 21st century industrial policy, Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, said that Europe has world-leading technologies as well as high environmental and social standards, and that the EU aims to ensure that mining is no longer the polluting industry of the past. Continue Reading →

Electric carmakers must make ‘ethical battery’: Amnesty – by Lewis Sanders IV(Deutsche Welle – March 21, 2019)

https://www.dw.com/en/

Customers face a false choice between people or the planet when buying electric cars, according to a rights watchdog. Amnesty International has called for the industry to make “radical changes” in five years.

The electric vehicle industry needs to “make the world’s first completely ethical battery with five years,” human rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Thursday. The London-based organization accused electric automakers of failing to curb human rights abuses, including child labor, linked to the mining of key minerals needed for batteries.

“Finding effective solutions to the climate crisis is an absolute imperative, and electric cars have an important role to play in this,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said. “But without radical changes, the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses.” Continue Reading →

Chicago Zoos Want You to Recycle Old Cellphones to Save Gorillas – by Alex Ruppenthal (WTTW.com – March 20, 2019)

https://news.wttw.com/

Recycling your used cellphone could help save an endangered gorilla species. How, exactly? Cellphones, tablets, battery chargers and other small electronics are manufactured using a mineral compound called coltan, which is hand-mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Central African country also happens to be a prime habitat for Eastern gorillas, and deforestation associated with coltan mining continues to displace large numbers of the animals.

Starting in February and continuing through the end of April, Lincoln Park Zoo is encouraging Chicago-area residents to drop off their old cellphones and other small electronic devices in the collection box at the zoo’s Searle Visitor Center. Continue Reading →

Huge demand for copper, cobalt, lithium and nickel in the offing as EV uptake increases – by Tracy Hancock (MiningWeekly.com – March 15, 2019)

http://m.miningweekly.com/

Metals of the Future

Investors focused on the mining sector may not fully appreciate how quickly the electric vehicle (EV) is being adopted globally, in light of the world pursuing a low-carbon emissions future, says battery metals investment vehicle Cobalt 27 Capital chairperson and CEO Anthony Milewski, who warns of a potential deficit in the supply of the metals critical to achieving this future.

Global management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company says 2017 marked the first time EV sales passed the one- million mark, noting in May 2018 that, by 2020, EV producers could be moving 4.5- million units, about 5% of the overall global light-vehicle market.

Even with South Africa’s electricity supply woes, automotive company Jaguar Land Rover South Africa forecast in January that South Africa could have 145 000 EVs on its roads, expecting yearly sales of new EVs to reach 43 000 units in the next six years. Continue Reading →