Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Vanadium price leaps to near-record high – by Frik Els ( – October 15, 2018)

While not as exciting as the transformation in the auto market with the shift to electric vehicles, demand growth from batteries used for renewable energy storage has the potential to have a bigger impact on mining.

One of the prime technologies that could grab market share from lithium ion for large scale storage systems is so-called vanadium redox flow cells.

The rally in vanadium prices is only accelerating with vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) flake used in energy storage systems leaping to $27.50 a pound in China putting it within shouting distance of the all-time high reached in 2005. V2O5 is up more than 550% since September 2016. Continue Reading →

Battery metals appear to be losing their spark as prices start to fall – by Courtney Goldsmith (World Finance – October 16, 2018)

Cobalt and lithium prices have surged as a rise in renewable energy has increased the need for battery storage solutions. However, the bubble may be about to burst for these metals

The automotive industry is on the verge of an electric revolution. The International Energy Agency has predicted the number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads will triple to hit 13 million by the end of the decade – and by 2030 that number could soar to 125 million.

Meanwhile, the rise of renewable energy generation has boosted demand for battery storage, which can balance intermittent power from green energy sources. The global energy storage market is expected to grow to more than 300GWh between 2016 and 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

These new industries are powering demand for batteries, which has thrust a number of little-known metals into the spotlight. This has led to the price of lithium – a key component in lithium-ion batteries – doubling between 2016 and 2018. Meanwhile, the price of cobalt – a by-product of copper or nickel mining that is used in battery cathodes – has more than tripled since January 2016 (see Fig 1). Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: European Battery Alliance Q&A (European Commission – Fact Sheet – October 15, 2018)

Why does the EU need to produce batteries instead of importing them?

The battery will represent a high proportion of the value added in the car of the future. Since the car industry is a major player in the European economy, our aim is to retain as much of the value creation in Europe as possible.

If battery production is primarily sourced from third countries, European manufacturers will be vulnerable to disturbances in the supply chain. At the same time, Europe will have less influence over standards setting to minimise the environmental impact of battery manufacture.

Currently, the EU has no capability to mass produce battery cells. Europe relies on battery cells from foreign, mainly Asian suppliers. The lack of European cell manufacturing base puts the EU at a competitive disadvantage – it jeopardises the position of EU’s industry because of security of supply chain issues and increases costs due to transportation, time delays, weaker quality control or limitation on the design.

Europe has what it takes to become a world leader in sustainable battery technology. Continue Reading →

Livent Corp. boss warns of lithium shortage within a decade – by Susanne Barton, Laura Millan Lombrana and David Stringer (Toronto Star/Bloomberg – October 13, 2018)

NEW YORK—The market for lithium will remain tight through 2025 as producers struggle to lift output fast enough to meet demand for the material that’s essential in making batteries for electric vehicles, according to the sector’s newest public company, Livent Corp.

“We think demand is going to grow almost five times larger in 2025 than it was in 2017,” chief executive officer Paul Graves said in an interview Thursday in New York, as the supplier made its trading debut. “Our biggest challenge is producing enough to meet the demand — there’s a much greater risk that this market is consistently in a deficit in the near future.”

The longer-term demand outlook from Livent, a spin off from chemical maker FMC Corp., echoes the view from Chinese competitor, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co., which this week sold shares in Hong Kong for the first time. Continue Reading →

Even if carbon taxes are implemented, are electric cars really the best way to go? – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – October 15, 2018)

A transportation revolution is in the making and bets worth hundreds of billions of dollars are being placed. Who might the winner be? Will it be the Tesla-style electric car, the Toyota-style hybrid or the hydrogen car?

Will personal transportation of the Uber ilk, possibly in self-driving form, replace public transportation as we know it? Might the gasoline engine surprise us all and endure for another 20 years, or even a century?

It’s impossible to know, but we do know the game changed more than a little this week when the United Nations published a frightening report that said the planet is warming at a far faster rate than the climate-change scientists had suspected. Continue Reading →

Chilean court freezes sale of stake in lithium giant SQM to Tianqi – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters U.S. – October 11, 2018)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A Chilean court on Thursday suspended the sale of a coveted stake in lithium producer SQM SQM_pb.SN to China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp, saying it will consider a lawsuit filed by the Chilean company’s controlling shareholders, who oppose the deal.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, alleges a previous anti-trust court decision did not give shareholders adequate time to review the agreement between Tianqi and regulators, allowing the Chinese miner to purchase a 24 percent stake in the world’s No. 2 producer of lithium, a metal used to make batteries for electric vehicles.

The agreement is intended to limit the exchange of commercially sensitive information between Tianqi and SQM, though detractors say it does not go far enough. It would give Tianqi the right to have at least three of the company’s eight board seats, fueling concerns that Tianqi would have access to internal SQM documents that it would then use to its own advantage. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles could increase demand for Thompson, Manitoba nickel, says North Atlantic mining director – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – October 11, 2018)

Increasing demand for battery-powered vehicles could be the key to increased demand and prices for nickel, Vale’s director of North Atlantic mining operations told Thompson Chamber of Commerce members Oct. 3 while he was in town for Manitoba Operations’ annual open house.

But achieving price stability is a key to convincing the company’s board to invest in further developing Thompson’s mines to take advantage of that growing market, said Alistair Ross.

“We believe that society is on a path that they will not deflect from at least in the next 10 to 20 years and that is we’re not going to continue with internal combustion engines,” Ross said. “The answer to no more ICE – internal combustion engines – is battery electric.” Continue Reading →

Is your phone tainted by the misery of the 35,000 children in Congo’s mines? – by Siddharth Kara (The Guardian – October 11, 2018)

My field research shows that children as young as six are among those risking their lives amid toxic dust to mine cobalt for the world’s big electronics firms.

Until recently, I knew cobalt only as a colour. Falling somewhere between the ocean and the sky, cobalt blue has been prized by artists from the Ming dynasty in China to the masters of French Impressionism. But there is another kind of cobalt, an industrial form that is not cherished for its complexion on a palette, but for its ubiquity across modern life.

This cobalt is found in every lithium-ion rechargeable battery on the planet – from smartphones to tablets to laptops to electric vehicles. It is also used to fashion superalloys to manufacture jet engines, gas turbines and magnetic steel.

You cannot send an email, check social media, drive an electric car or fly home for the holidays without using this cobalt. As I learned on a recent research trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this cobalt is not awash in cerulean hues. Instead, it is smeared in misery and blood. Continue Reading →

Chile: Questions about Water Availability could Threaten the Mining Industry – by Mervyn Piesse (Future – October 10, 2018)

South America holds two-thirds of the world’s lithium reserves and Chile alone possesses almost half of the world total. Copper is also important to the Chilean economy and accounts for almost half of its export earnings. Many large Chilean copper mines are ageing, however, and the supply of high-grade ore has diminished.

To maintain production, copper producers are increasingly forced to exploit copper sulphide deposits, using a process that is more water-intensive. The Chilean Government is also simultaneously moving to exploit the country’s vast lithium resources, which could further strain water supplies in the resource-rich, but water-poor, Salar de Atacama.

As most of Chile’s lithium is dissolved in briny water drawn from Andean salt flats, it can only be extracted through a lengthy evaporation process. Conversely, Australian lithium reserves are predominantly found in hard rocks. Australia is currently the largest world supplier, despite holding less than ten per cent of the world’s identified lithium resources. Continue Reading →

The Lithium Cartel Is Self-Destructing – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – October 10, 2018)

China’s incentive to keep the electric-battery metal cheap has soured investors on Ganfeng’s Hong Kong IPO.

If that wasn’t bad enough, look at what just happened to Ganfeng Lithium Co., the world’s second-biggest producer. Its Hong Kong initial public offering has been priced at HK$16.50 a share, the company announced Wednesday, at the bottom of a target range that went as high as HK$26.50.

Even at those prices investors weren’t biting, with the slice available to Hong Kong investors about 40 percent undersubscribed. That’s arguably not surprising, given the run of IPO flops over the past year, including online car-sales platform Yixin Group Ltd. and smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.

Still, it left a hefty share of the issue in the hands of LG Chem Ltd., Samsung SDI Co. and four Chinese state-linked companies who were acting as cornerstone investors and had subscribed for a fixed dollar amount, plus an additional 2 million shares which were placed with a unit of state-owned Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd. Continue Reading →

Batteries Juicing the Nickel Market: LME Nickel Sulfate Contracts in 2019? (Investing News Network – October 8, 2018)

Investing News Network

This INNspired Article is brought to you by Tartisan Nickel Corp.

The recently announced LME nickel sulfate contracts under consideration are a strong indication that the nickel sulfate market and upstream nickel sulfide market are facing considerable growth. Annual sales of electric vehicles are expected to climb from 1.1 million in 2017 to 30 million by 2030. Each one requiring a battery chock full of base metals, especially lithium, cobalt and nickel sulfate.

The price of nickel has climbed nearly 60 percent since mid-2015 on an improved nickel demand forecast, mainly from the steel sector. The surging demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and in turn base metals such as nickel is expected to push those prices up further.

The impressive growth outlook for battery materials has prompted the London Metals Exchange (LME) to consider offering a suite of battery materials futures contracts in 2019 — including lithium, cobalt and nickel sulfate — to better take advantage of the booming EV market. Continue Reading →

Albemarle shares drop after Chile rejects hike in lithium quota – by Dave Sherwood and Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – October 8, 2018)

SANTIAGO/HOUSTON (Reuters) – Shares of Albemarle Corp (ALB.N) fell as much as 2.3 percent on Monday following news that Chile’s nuclear regulator refused to increase the company’s quota to sell lithium produced from its Salar de Atacama operation.

The Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CCHEN) rejected Albemarle’s March request to increase its quota to sell lithium products by 258,446 tonnes, according to a Sept. 13 agency resolution obtained by Reuters via a Chilean freedom of information request.

Albemarle spokeswoman Andrea Cole said CCHEN’s concerns are of a “technical nature” and that the company would re-submit its request “in the coming weeks,” hoping to resolve the issue. Continue Reading →

DRC Cobalt: A potential achilles heel of electric vehicles – by Michael Schwartz (Global Risks Insight – October 5, 2018)

Global Risks Insight

Cobalt’s essential role in lithium-ion batteries has and will continue to make it increasingly important for the global consumer economy. Cobalt serves as a key component in battery-based devices by allowing them to operate over longer periods without overheating.

With the global transition to electric vehicles (EVs), corporations are increasingly forced to rely on cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a culture of corruption, unscrupulous mining practices, and political instability threaten supply security.

The Electric Vehicle revolution and rising demand for cobalt

EVs are still in their infancy, but many governments and corporations are committed to a green automotive future. While Washington has currently abdicated global leadership in promoting EVs, China has embraced the transition, with 777,000 EVs sold in country last year—approximately half of the global total—and this is set to triple by 2025. Continue Reading →

How Zinc Batteries Could Change Energy Storage – by Ivan Penn (New York Times – September 26, 2018)

Making the batteries rechargeable and lowering their cost are seen as important advances in enabling the electric grid to depend on power from renewable sources.

Over the past six years, 110 villages in Africa and Asia received their power from solar panels and batteries that use zinc and oxygen. The batteries are the basis of an innovative energy storage system created by NantEnergy, a company owned by Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech entrepreneur and surgeon originally from South Africa.

Thomas Edison tried to develop batteries made with zinc 100 years ago. But he did not figure out how to make them technologically viable. NantEnergy says its zinc air batteries are the first to become commercially available.

Scientists at NantEnergy said they had achieved two key goals: to make the batteries rechargeable, and to lower their cost for energy storage to $100 per kilowatt-hour. That is a figure that some people in the industry have said is essential to creating a carbon-free electric grid that operates even when the sun is down and the wind abates. Continue Reading →

China battery firms set up $700 million nickel joint venture in Indonesia – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – September 28, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese battery firm GEM Co Ltd on Friday said it was teaming up with four companies to invest a total of $700 million in a project to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Indonesia.

The investment comes as several global metals producers have also set their sights on Indonesia’s nickel reserves, looking to tap an expected surge in demand for the battery metal from the electric vehicle sector.

The companies joining GEM include units of top Chinese lithium battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) and stainless steel-maker Tsingshan Holding Group. Continue Reading →