Archive | Metals and Manufacturing

Cleantech’s next heat wave could come from Smarter Alloys – by Tyler Hamilton (Globe and Mail – April 18, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Tyler Hamilton works with cleantech companies from across Canada as an adviser with the non-profit MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

When we burn fuel to power vehicles and machinery, drive industrial processes or generate electricity, most of the energy in this fuel is dumped into the atmosphere as heat.

In one 2016 study, German researchers estimated that 72 per cent of global primary energy consumption – that is, using coal, oil, natural gas and uranium as fuel – is lost as waste heat. Most of this heat is rated “low grade,” meaning it’s less than 100 C.

It includes the heat emitted from data centre server farms and the warm air that flows out the back of your kitchen refrigerator or air conditioner. Continue Reading →

Transparent Nickel Miners Will Have an Edge with Car Manufacturers – by Georgia Williams (Investing News Nickel – June 7, 2018)

Investing News Nickel

The Investing News Network (INN) sat down with Srinath Rengarajan, senior automotive research analyst at Oliver Wyman, at the 6th International Nickel Conference last week.

Topics covered at the show included how nickel will remain relevant in the battery market, the evolution of the electric vehicle (EV) sector and what needs to happen next to ensure green vehicles become a common sight on our roads and highways.

The two-day conference, held in downtown Toronto, was the first time in decades that analysts and specialists from the automotive sector were invited to a nickel-centric conference, a welcome shift from the mining-focused nature of most industry conferences. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Tesla leads electric vehicle race to cut cobalt dependency – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – June 6, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – If Elon Musk had his way, there would be no cobalt in any of the batteries powering the next generation of Tesla. At the very least, “we think we can get the cobalt to almost nothing”, he told analysts on the company’s first quarter results call.

Panasonic, which supplies the batteries for Tesla’s electric cars, is “aiming to achieve zero usage in the near future and development is under way”, according to Kenji Tamura, who is in charge of the Japanese firm’s automotive battery business.

The two companies are leading an industry race to reduce exposure to the metal even before the electric vehicle (EV)revolution truly builds momentum. It’s not difficult to see why. The London Metal Exchange price of the battery input has already rocketed from under $30,000 per tonne at the end of 2016 to a current $86,750. Continue Reading →

About 75,000 jobs to go in Germany’s auto industry because of EVs — study – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – June 5, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

The growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is expected to cost Germany’s key auto industry about 75,000 jobs by 2030, a study released Tuesday shows, with parts suppliers set to suffer the most.

The adoption of EVs will lessen the importance of petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars, an industry where German carmakers have built a reputation for decades and which currently employs about 840,000 people, with 210,000 of them working on powertrain production (basically engines and transmissions components), said the IG Metal union, which commissioned the study along with BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler and a string of suppliers.

The figures in the study, carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute of Industrial Engineering, were calculated on the assumption that by 2030, a quarter of all vehicles on Germany’s roads will be fully electric. Continue Reading →

China goes all out to secure lithium, cobalt supplies – key to dominating the world electric car market – by Eric Ng (South China Morning Post – June 4, 2018)

http://www.scmp.com/

Cobalt, however, faces bigger challenges than lithium, which has seen bigger price gains over the past two years amid lack of certainty over new supplies, stockpiling and traders taking speculative positions

The emergence of electric vehicles has seen Chinese companies go on a global hunt to secure lithium resources. Now they are rapidly clinching deals to get hold of cobalt whose supply is even more concentrated geographically.

Cobalt, a hard, shiny, greyish metal, a by-product of copper and nickel mining, has seen the biggest price increase among various metals used to make electric vehicle batteries after a demand boom began two years ago, according to Ciaran Roe, global manager of metals pricing at S&P Global Platts.

“Unlike manganese, lithium and nickel, cobalt is limited in supply not just in terms of tonnage but also origin,” he said. “I can’t think of another commodity where supply is so reliant on one origin nation than cobalt.” Continue Reading →

US defense sector braces for Trump tariff fallout – by Joe Gould and Aaron Mehta (Defense News – May 31, 2018)

https://www.defensenews.com/

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s announcement that it will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, Mexico and Canada may hurt America‘s defense sector and imperil domestic jobs, analysts warn.

The tariffs, which will impose a 25 percent surcharge on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, will go into effect Friday, as the administration follows through on the penalties after earlier granting exemptions to buy time for negotiations. U.S. President Donald Trump announced the tariffs in March, citing national security concerns.

Europe and Mexico pledged to retaliate, exacerbating trans-Atlantic and North American trade tensions. The European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Trump’s decision amounted to trade “protectionism, pure and simple,” adding that Europe would respond with countermeasures. Continue Reading →

[Electric Vehicles] ‘There is no knowing where the change will end’ – analyst – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – May 30, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – The wave of change that the electrification of automobiles brings is moving beyond electric vehicles (EV) to the micro, artificial intelligence and autonomous mobility options, which should increasingly be brought into the outlook for the burgeoning market.

“Big gambles and bold leadership does not always guarantee results,” founder of The Daily Kanban and Bloomberg analyst Edward Niedermeyer cautioned an audience attending the recent Vancouver leg of London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

From his qualitative analysis, it is evident that cars are a very emotional and even irrational topic, with sales of EVs, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and sports cars driven by desire, rather than need, from a consumer perspective. Continue Reading →

Pollution studies cast doubt on China’s electric-car policies – by Charles Clover (Financial Times – May 20, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

The environmental case for electric vehicles in China has been complicated by research that asserts the cars produce more pollution than those with internal combustion engines.

The issue is likely to raise questions about China’s push to become the world’s EV champion by 2025. The government has justified devoting massive resources to encouraging domestic EV production — including billions of dollars in subsidies and production quotas — based on the proposition they are greener than petrol-engine cars.

But the environmental benefits were unclear, experts said. While China has been on a green energy push for years, coal still accounts for an overwhelming proportion of electricity production, meaning that charging electric batteries also burns carbon — often at a higher per-kilometre rate than petrol engines. Continue Reading →

Threat of Cobalt Supply Shock Is Top Risk for Electric Vehicles – by David Stringer and Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg News – May 21, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A burgeoning risk of a supply crunch in cobalt — a key battery metal that’s more than tripled in price in two years — poses one of the biggest threats to forecasts for rising electric vehicle adoption.

Major investment in mines is required to avoid price spikes that could see cost reductions for lithium-ion batteries stall, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts said Monday in a report.

Shortages of cobalt are likely earlier than previously forecast and the issue poses a potential challenge to EV sales over the coming five to seven years, according to the report. Continue Reading →

Tesla delivers bad news for cobalt price, boost for rare earths – by Frik Els (Mining.com – May 3, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Wall Street is aghast at Elon Musk’s dismissive attitude toward analysts’ probing following a quarter of record (but less than expected) losses for Tesla, but the electric vehicle maker did provide some answers to questions that’s been vexing the mining industry.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a provider of price information and research on battery supply chains, parsed the numbers after Tesla gave a rare indication of the relative proportions of raw materials used in its latest lithium-ion battery for its Model 3.

At first blush it’s not good news for miners of cobalt, a crucial ingredient in batteries used in electric vehicles and cellphones that’s been trading near decade highs above $90,000 a tonne. Continue Reading →

Car owners had a sweet ride, but electric cars will end that – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – April 27, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Imagine this line from an updated version of The Blues Brothers: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago. We got a full battery charge, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”

Doesn’t quite work, does it? “We got a full tank of gas” was Dan Aykroyd’s line as he and John Belushi fired up their Dodge Monaco in the first movie. Gasoline-powered cars are branded into North American culture, and the idea of an American battery-powered car culture seems absurd.

How did gasoline-fuelled cars become so popular? The United States has about 263 million registered passenger vehicles. The strength and flexibility of the internal combustion engine explains only part of the story. Continue Reading →

Fuel cell frenzy as cars, plants deploy platinum to protect environment – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – April 26, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Hyundai has just launched its new Nexo fuel cell car in South Korea, pre-orders for which exceeded expectations, Honda last month launched the new 2018 Clarity fuel cell car, Doosan Fuel Cell America has cut the ribbon on three 460 kW fuel cells at the Waterbury Pollution Control Authority in Connecticut,

FuelCell Energy has announced an agreement to sell a 2.8 MW fuel cell power plant to the Tulare Waste Water Treatment Facility in California, Amazon has contracted with Plug Power to deploy fuel cell forklifts at its warehouses around the US, and the California Fuel Cell Partnership announced the opening of the state’s thirty-third hydrogen fuelling station.

These positive deployments of platinum-catalysed hydrogen fuel cells in the US follow strides taken in Japan, Germany and China to bring these fuel cells into service to protect the environment holistically, and they also precede a national fuel cell forum in Washington on June 12, ahead of a key US Department of Energy merit review. Continue Reading →

Daimler joins China’s Responsible Cobalt Initiative – by Yilei Sun (Reuters U.S. – April 25, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – German carmaker Daimler has joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, a program established under a Chinese industry body to tackle risks in the cobalt supply chain arising from artisanal mining.

Cobalt consumers are under pressure to ensure the material they use is not tainted by child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the source of about 60 percent of the world’s cobalt.

Amnesty International says about a fifth of the country’s cobalt production is mined by hand by informal miners including children, often in dangerous conditions. Daimler, owner of the Mercedes Brand, joined the RCI at the start of April, RCI Chairman Sun Lihui told Reuters. Continue Reading →

Platinum Mines in the World’s Top Producer Are Shrinking – by Felix Njini and Eddie Van Der Walt (Bloomberg News – March 26, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

“Ramaphoria” boosted the rand and revived investor sentiment on South Africa. But deep underground in the country’s platinum mines, there’s very little cause for optimism.

Producers in South Africa, which accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s mined platinum, are closing shafts and cutting thousands of jobs as a stronger rand combines with stagnating prices for the metal in squeezing profit margins.

The future looks equally bleak, as reduced demand for diesel engines and the rise of electric cars threatens to erode the need for the metal used to cut pollution. Continue Reading →

BMW says electric car mass production not viable until 2020 – by Edward Taylor (Reuters U.S. – March 22, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – BMW (BMWG.DE) will not mass produce electric cars until 2020 because its current technology is not profitable enough to scale up for volume production, the chief executive said on Thursday.

Munich-based BMW unveiled its first battery electric car in 2013, and has been working on different generations of battery, software and electric motor technology since then.

The i8 Roadster model, due to hit showrooms in May, is equipped with what BMW calls its fourth-generation electric drive technology. Advances in battery raw materials and chemistry has increased its range by 40 percent over the previous version, BMW said. Continue Reading →