Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

India’s Electric Car Ambitions Could Stumble on Lack of Lithium – by Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – January 20, 2020)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

India’s ambition of becoming a global hub for making electric vehicles faces one major hurdle: its lack of access to lithium.

Home to some of the most polluted cities on the planet, the South Asian nation is pivoting toward new-energy vehicles to clean up its toxic air. But with meager resources of lithium, the mineral essential to make batteries for electric vehicles, it is having to scour for resources overseas.

India’s EV production will rely on imports from China of lithium chemicals used to make cathodes and battery cells, according to Jasmeet Singh Kalsi, director at Manikaran Power Ltd., which is exploring setting up India’s first lithium refinery. “China has a thriving lithium chemical, battery cathode, battery cell and EV supply chain. India has none.” Continue Reading →

As MacLean Engineering’s electric mining vehicles start to be deployed in real-world applications, work at the company’s Sudbury test site is helping to forge the next phase in mining’s transformation – by Devin Arthur (Electric Autonomy – January 21, 2020)

https://electricautonomy.ca/

Last November, I visited a test site run by one of the world’s leading manufacturers of zero-emissions mining technology. MacLean Engineering’s Sudbury, Ontario facility is being used to test battery-powered electric mining vehicles, which the Canadian company has been working to develop since 2015.

The impressive site consists of a 300-metre long underground ramp and an excavated cavern, in which enormous electric vehicles are tested for levels of energy use and heat generation.

A deep history

Nickel and copper mining has been ongoing in Sudbury for over 100 years, so at this point many of its mines are quite deep. Typically, ventilation requirements for mines of a certain depth are significant. Continue Reading →

Lithium Americas moves closer to Nevada mine approval – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – January 20, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators have moved a step closer toward approving Lithium Americas Corp’s Nevada mine for the white metal, launching a review process that could result in final permits to build by 2021.

The step comes as U.S. politicians have been pushing for increased domestic mining of specialized minerals. Lithium is used to make lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Albemarle Corp is the only current U.S. producer of lithium.

The U.S. Department of the Interior filed paperwork to ask for public comment over the next year on the Thacker Pass project’s environmental impact statement, according to a post on a government website dated Jan. 21. The post appeared to be filed automatically as the department was closed on Monday for a holiday. Continue Reading →

The EV revolution will take batteries, but are they ethical? – by Adria Vasil (Corporate Knights Magazine – January 20, 2020)

https://www.corporateknights.com/

How automakers can clean up the dirty minerals that power them in the global race to electrify cars

Two thousand nineteen may go down as the year the auto industry started putting some muscle into electric vehicle sales. Amidst a steady stream of pledges to deliver more EVs than ever over the next five years, Ford filmed an electric prototype of its F-150 pickup truck (a favourite gas guzzler among Canadians) towing an entire freight train in a CN railyard in Montreal. Not to be outdone, the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck then hauled the F-150 uphill in a tongue-in-cheek tug-of-war.

The brawny marketing stunts carried a simple message: electric cars aren’t just for tree-hugging Leaf, Prius and Bolt lovers anymore. The message is timely, with global leaders (including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) committing to carbon pollution targets of “net zero” by 2050, tough new emissions standards coming out of Europe, and a smattering of governments following Norway’s early lead on banning gas-powered-car sales as soon as 2025.

For the vast majority of automakers that have cautiously dipped their toes in the EV market, the race to net zero is officially on. But environmental and human rights advocates, along with international heavyweights at the World Bank and World Economic Forum, say there’s an elephant in the showroom. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Bolivia’s new lithium tsar says country should go it alone – by Adam Jourdan (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LA PAZ (Reuters) – The new chief of Bolivia’s state-owned lithium company YLB plans strict limits on foreign investment in extraction and processing of the white metal key to electric vehicle batteries, he told Reuters in his first interview with international media since taking the reins this month.

Juan Carlos Zuleta, a lithium expert who has worked in Chile and Bolivia, said a deal with a German firm that was aborted last year would remained shelved, while another with a Chinese partner was being reassessed.

“It is important for the international community to know that Bolivian law says lithium should be extracted and processed by Bolivians,” he said in an hour-long interview at YLB’s headquarter in La Paz. “Now we are here to comply with the law.” Continue Reading →

Tesla in Talks to Buy Glencore Cobalt for Shanghai Car Plant – by Mark Burton and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc is negotiating a long-term contract to ship cobalt to Tesla Inc.’s new electric-vehicle factory in Shanghai, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal would help Tesla avoid a supply squeeze on the key battery metal as it pushes into the world’s largest car market, and mark a win for Glencore after a tough spell for its cobalt business.

Executives from both companies hammered out terms of the deal before an official ceremony to mark the first sales from the Shanghai plant earlier this month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing commercial negotiations. They declined to give details about the size and value of the supply deal. Continue Reading →

New Coal-Killing Energy Storage Challenge Also Dings Natural Gas – by Tina Casey (CleanTechnica.com – Janaury 9, 2020)

https://cleantechnica.com/

It’s no secret that the Trump Administration has presided over the collapse of the US coal industry, but do they have to rub it in? The answer appears to be yes. On Wednesday, newly minted Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced an all-hands-on-deck initiative to push the energy storage envelope farther into coal-killing territory. For good measure, the new $153 million “Energy Storage Grand Challenge” will probably bump off natural gas, too. And all this under a President* who pledged to save coal jobs!

The Jig Is Up: Trump Hates Coal, Loves Energy Storage

Considering all the promises Trump made to coal miners, their families, and their communities, one would think that a major coal-killing announcement would get buried in a Friday evening news dump. After all, energy storage is the key that accelerates the renewable energy revolution.

Nope. Secretary Brouillette made the announcement in the brilliant light of day exactly in the middle of the week, on Wednesday afternoon at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The annual event, which is owned and produced by the US Consumer Technology Association, bills itself as “the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.” Continue Reading →

Congo opens Chinese-owned Deziwa copper and cobalt mine – by Stanis Bujakera (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

DEZIWA MINE, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company Gécamines on Wednesday opened the Deziwa copper and cobalt mine and processing plant, part of a joint venture majority-owned by China Nonferrous Metal Mining Company (CNMC).

The Deziwa deposit, around 35 kilometres east of Kolwezi, is estimated to hold 4.6 million tonnes of copper and 420,000 tonnes of cobalt. Somidez, the joint venture controlling it, is held 51% by CNMC and 49% by Gécamines.

An $880 million project which started construction in May 2018, the Deziwa mine aims to produce 80,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt per year, according to Somidez. Continue Reading →

Are mining companies jumping the gun on lithium? – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – January 13, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Lithium has skyrocketed on the back of huge demand created by the battery industry. While lithium demand shows few signs of slowing down, battery technology is changing at an enormous pace. Projects around the world are exploring alternatives to lithium, promising that a breakthrough is just around the corner. We ask the question: should miners be going all in for lithium?

The lithium rush

Global efforts to reduce emissions have driven demand for technology such as electric vehicles, which has increased demand for the lithium needed for batteries.

According to analysis from Benchmark Minerals, demand for lithium ion batteries has tripled since 2015 to 180 gigawatt hours (GWh), reaching the levels initially predicted for 2020. Continue Reading →

Apple pushes recycling of iPhone with ‘Daisy’ robot (Reuters U.S. – January 10, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Apple Inc APPL.O is trying to change the way electronics are recycled with a robot that disassembles its iPhone so that minerals can be recovered and reused, while acknowledging rising global demand for electronics means new mines will still be needed.

The Cupertino, California-based company says the robot is part of its plan to become a “closed-loop” manufacturer that does not rely on the mining industry, an aggressive goal that some industry analysts have said is impossible.

Many mining executives note that with the rising popularity of electric vehicles, newly mined minerals will be needed on an even larger scale, a reality that Apple acknowledges. Continue Reading →

Nemaska Lithium gets lifeline, just as Tesla wins new interest in China – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – January 9, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Nemaska CEO hoping Tesla’s prospects there could spark strong enough investor excitement to help lift it out of creditor protection

On Tuesday, the same day that Elon Musk awkwardly danced on a stage outside Shanghai and delivered the first “made in China” Tesla Model 3, the Canadian company that hopes to build a foundation for an electric vehicle revolution in North America received a lifeline in Quebec.

The province’s Superior Court Judge Louis J. Gouin gave Nemaska Lithium an additional month to figure out a way forward, under court-granted creditor protection, as it seeks to build the country’s first mine and electrochemical conversion plant to produce battery-grade lithium to power electric vehicles.

Early last year, Nemaska was forced to pause construction on its project in Northern Quebec after a dispute with its bondholders and cost overruns created a roughly $600-million funding shortfall. Continue Reading →

Indonesia approves environmental study for battery-grade nickel plants: minister – by Fransiska Nangoy and Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – January 8, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has approved environmental impact studies for factories to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Morowali, Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said on Wednesday.

The approval will allow investors, such as China’s stainless steel giant Tsingshan Group, to continue the construction of their high-pressure acid leaching plants in Morowali, Central Sulawesi.

There are at least five of these plants being built in Indonesia currently as the government seeks to use its nickel resources to create an integrated industry, including production of nickel chemicals used in car batteries and the building of electronic vehicles. Continue Reading →

‘A huge opportunity’: Alberta oilfields could give rise to lithium industry fuelled by electric cars – by Amanda Stephenson (Calgary Herald/Financial Post – January 6, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

It’s long been known that Alberta’s historic oil and gas-producing Leduc Reservoir is rich in lithium deposits

Calgary-based E3 Metals wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the work of Elon Musk. The natural resources company, which was founded in 2016, has developed a patented ion-exchange extraction technology that produces purified lithium concentrate from the light metal that occurs naturally within the province’s oilfield brines.

The company’s goal is to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide that can be used in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries — the same type of batteries that power the electric cars made by Musk’s company, Tesla Inc.

“It wasn’t because of Tesla, but it was because of what Tesla did,” E3’s president and CEO Chris Doornbos said, on the inspiration for his company’s technology. “They took a concept, which was an electric vehicle, and turned it into something that could be a mainstream vehicle . . . and therein lies an opportunity.” Continue Reading →

Unstable Mineral Supply Threatens Electric Car, Green Projects, Justifies Undersea, Space Mining; Report – by Neil Winton (Forbes Magazine – January 3, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

The advent of the electric car is threatened by a few known knowns like range anxiety, high prices, and a thin recharging network, but now, according to a report from the University of Sussex, lurking in the background are possible shortages of the raw materials at the heart of this low-carbon revolution, which threaten to derail the whole project.

Making sure of adequate supplies is so important, mining under the sea, or even on other planets, would be justified, according to the report.

The automotive industry in Europe has been spending massively to embrace the electric car. On Thursday, Europe’s number one auto maker, Volkswagen, raised the stakes of its electric plans by bringing forward its target of producing one million electric cars a year by two years, to the end of 2023. By 2025 this will reach 1.5 million a year. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Unexpected bump on the EV road hits battery metals – by Andy Home (Reuters – December 18, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – It’s been a tough year for electric vehicle (EV) metal bulls. The previous speculative heat surrounding any and every material that goes into an EV battery has dissipated over the course of 2019. Two years ago the spot lithium price in China was $26 per kilogram. Today it is assessed by Fastmarkets at below $8.

Cobalt, a key input for lithium-ion battery chemistry, has experienced a similar boom and bust cycle, the price of standard grade metal sliding from over $44 per lb in the second quarter of 2018 to a current $15.75.

Nickel has fared better but only thanks to strength in its traditional end-use sector, stainless steel, rather than any pull from the battery sector. Both lithium and cobalt are living with the consequences of previous price exuberance in the form of a supply surge that has swamped processing capacity and left an overhang of stock. Continue Reading →