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Posts Tagged ‘Lithium Batteries’

How China Positioned Itself to Dominate the Future of Electric Cars

Posted by hkarner - 5. November 2019

Date: 03-11-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Beijing built the world’s largest EV market, then pressured foreign car makers to use its batteries

SHANGHAI—A little-known Chinese company has become the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicle batteries.

Beijing engineered a scenario that didn’t give the world much choice.

China is by far the biggest EV market, and to boost its standing in the fast-growing industry, China began pressuring foreign auto makers to use locally-made batteries in the country several years ago. One company—Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., known as CATL—was the only shop capable of producing them at scale.

Auto makers weren’t pleased, but they fell in line. During a visit to CATL headquarters in 2017, three Daimler AG executives displayed their irritation shortly after the meeting started, recalled Jiang Lingfeng, then a CATL project manager who prepared a technical briefing for the visitors. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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This battery advance could make electric vehicles far cheaper

Posted by hkarner - 12. April 2018

Date: 11-04-2018
Source: Technology Review

Sila Nanotechnologies has pulled off double-digit performance gains for lithium-ion batteries, promising to lower costs or add capabilities for cars and phones.

For the last seven years, a startup based in Alameda, California, has quietly worked on a novel anode material that promises to significantly boost the performance of lithium-ion batteries.

Sila Nanotechnologies emerged from stealth mode last month, partnering with BMW to put the company’s silicon-based anode materials in at least some of the German automaker’s electric vehicles by 2023. A BMW spokesman told the Wall Street Journal the company expects that the deal will lead to a 10 to 15 percent increase in the amount of energy you can pack into a battery cell of a given volume. Sila’s CEO Gene Berdichevsky says the materials could eventually produce as much as a 40 percent improvement. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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There’s a Global Race to Control Batteries—and China Is Winning

Posted by hkarner - 13. Februar 2018

Date: 12-02-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Chinese companies dominate the cobalt supply chain that begins at mines in Congo

KOLWEZI, Democratic Republic of Congo—Miners push bicycles piled high with bags of a grayish-blue ore along a dusty road to a makeshift market. There, they line up at wholesalers with nicknames such as Crazy Jack and Boss Lee.

Most of the buyers are Chinese. Those buyers then sell to Chinese companies that ship the bags, filled with cobalt, to China for processing into rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries that power laptops and smartphones and electric cars.

There is a world-wide race to lock up the supply chain for cobalt, which will likely be in even greater demand as electric-car production rises. So far, China is way ahead.

Chinese imports of cobalt from Congo, the world’s biggest producer of cobalt, totaled $1.2 billion in the first nine months of 2017, compared with just $3.2 million by India, the second-largest importer, government data show.

“We’re realizing that the Congo is to [electric vehicles] what Saudi Arabia is to the internal combustion engine,says Trent Mell, chief executive of exploration company First Cobalt Corp. , based in Toronto. Chinese firms are keenly aware of Congo’s importance to electric vehicles, he says, and “trying to control the whole ecosystem…from cobalt mining to battery production.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Batteries Are Taking Over the World

Posted by hkarner - 30. November 2017

Date: 29-11-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The battery industry is surging. But picking investment winners will be exceedingly hard

“The storage battery is, in my opinion, a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies,” wrote Thomas Edison in 1883.

Today, the battery industry is mustering for exponential growth as car makers electrify their fleets, most visibly at Tesla ’s $5 billion factory in Nevada. For investors looking to gain from the battery’s rise, though, the doubts of the 19th-century entrepreneur linger. The path to profitability is far from clear.

Your mobile phone contains a lithium-ion battery and so does every battery-electric or hybrid car. The difference is that cars require vastly more powerful batteries. The industry will need to increase production from 68 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion cells last year to 1,165 GWh over the next decade, estimates brokerage Berenberg.

A handful of big East Asian companies have rushed into this supply gap. For all the “gigafactory” hype, Tesla doesn’t make batteries: Cell production is the responsibility of its Japanese partner, Panasonic. The other leaders in the field are LG Chem and Samsung SDI , both listed subsidiaries of the namesake Korean conglomerates, which supply the electric-vehicle projects of Nissan Motor , General Motors and BMW , among others.

Hot on the Koreans’ heels are two Chinese companies determined to supply the ballooning Chinese electric-vehicle market: BYD , 8.25%-owned by Berkshire Hathaway and an electric-car maker, and Contemporary Amperex Technology, which is planning a $2 billion initial public offering in Shenzhen in coming months. These five companies and a few newcomers intend to build 24 factories with a total capacity of 332 GWh by 2021, calculates Simon Moores, managing director of consulting firm Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The growth of lithium-ion battery power

Posted by hkarner - 16. August 2017

Date: 15-08-2017
Source: The Economist

Higher volumes and better chemistry are causing costs to plummet

THE first lithium-ion batteries went on sale just 26 years ago, in Sony’s CCD-TR1 camcorder. The product was a hit: the batteries even more so, spreading to computers, phones, cordless power tools, e-cigarettes and beyond. The more gadgets the world has become hooked on, the more lithium-ion batteries it has needed. Last year consumer products accounted for the production of lithium-ion batteries with a total storage capacity of about 45 gigawatt-hours (GWh). In the same year production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles reached just over half that capacity: 25GWh.

But Sam Jaffe of Cairn ERA, a battery consultancy, expects demand for vehicle batteries to overtake that from consumer electronics as early as next year, marking a pivotal moment for the industry. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Elon Musk supercharges progress on energy storage

Posted by hkarner - 18. März 2017

Date: 16-03-2017
Source: The Economist

Australia attempts to stop blackouts using batteries

HOW much power does a tweetstorm involving two tech tycoons, the prime minister of Australia and 8.5m Twitter followers generate? Enough, at least, to supercharge a debate about the future role of batteries in the world’s energy mix.

Elon Musk, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur (pictured), may be best known for his gravity-defying ambition, but his core product is the battery: whether for his Tesla cars, for the home or for grid-scale electricity storage. He gave the last of these an unexpected jolt of publicity on March 10th, by responding to a blackout-inspired challenge on Twitter from an Australian software billionaire, Mike Cannon-Brookes. Mr Musk said he could install 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of battery storage in the state of South Australia in 100 days to help solve an energy crisis it faces, or it would be free of charge. “That serious enough for you?” he asked.

In response, Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister, communicated with Mr Musk and appeared to turn from pro-coal sceptic into battery believer. On March 14th Jay Weatherill, the premier of South Australia, went further. Declaring that the national electricity market was “broken”, he said the state would launch its own A$550m ($415m) plan to build a 100MW battery system, as well as a gas-fired power station, with public funds. Mr Musk may have got what he wanted. He is “good at bringing nerdy subjects to a broad audience”, says Julia Attwood of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Human Cost of the Lithium Battery Revolution

Posted by hkarner - 5. Oktober 2016

Date: 04-10-2016
Source: Technology Review

The batteries that power our high-tech lifestyle are built using materials extracted in dirty, often life-threatening conditions.

If you have a cell phone, laptop, a hybrid car, or an electric vehicle, you may want to sit down. This may hurt.

You have probably heard of blood diamonds and conflict minerals. Maybe you’ve even read up a bit on how big consumer tech companies are trying (and, in some cases, being forced by governments) to sort out where the materials that go into their gadgets come from. But stories about “supply chains,” “globalization,” and “poor working conditions” can seem a world away, or just plain academic.

In a sweeping, heartbreaking series, the Washington Post is making sure it hits home. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tesla Shakes Up Market for Lithium, Other Metals

Posted by hkarner - 7. Mai 2016

Date: 06-05-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

‘In order to produce half a million cars a year…we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production,’ Elon Musk said in March

Lithium mine ccAn aerial view shows the lithium mine in Alabama.

Tesla Motors Inc., shaking up the auto industry with its battery-operated cars, is now reshaping metals markets, too.

Tesla and other electric-vehicle makers are swallowing up lithium, a lightweight material that some call “white petroleum” for its use in lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.

Lithium carbonate prices rose 47% in the first quarter compared with the average price in 2015, according to the most recent available data from data provider Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. In 2015, when most other metals and commodities still were in the doldrums, lithium prices rose 28%, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Home Energy Storage Enters a New Era

Posted by hkarner - 17. September 2015

Date: 17-09-2015
Source: Technology Review

Advanced lithium-ion chemistries offer cooler operation, longer life spans.

WHY IT MATTERS: Cheaper energy storage is needed to integrate renewable energy sources into the grid.

SimpliPhi’s installations, like this one for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, can help reduce loads on the grid and integrate more power from renewable sources.

Driven by the explosion of residential solar power, the market for home energy storage—which attracted little interest until earlier this year, when Tesla announced its Powerwall battery—is suddenly looking crowded.

This week at the Solar Power International show, in Anaheim, a company called SimpliPhi Power is unveiling a lightweight battery system for homes and small businesses that offers a longer life span than other lithium-ion batteries and doesn’t require expensive cooling and ventilation systems. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Restrictions on Airborne Shipments of Lithium Batteries Gain Support

Posted by hkarner - 8. September 2015

Date: 07-09-2015
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Even battery trade group acknowledges risks, as recent tests reveal

Lithium Batteries plane crashSmoke rises from the scene of a plane crash in Dubai Sept. 3, 2010 in which a United Parcel Service 747 cargo plane went down shortly after takeoff, killing two  crew members. The fire appeared to have started in lithium batteries aboard the plane.

Transporting lithium batteries in the bellies of commercial jets is more hazardous than previously recognized, with federal tests revealing that just a handful of burning power cells can overwhelm typical onboard cargo safety and fire-suppression systems.

Results from recent Federal Aviation Administration laboratory testing, combined with the latest risk-reduction proposals from battery makers, highlight a shift in the debate over bulk shipments of highly flammable lithium batteries. International regulators and aviation industry officials increasingly worry about the dangers, and they are developing far-reaching packaging restrictions for airborne carriage of the ubiquitous power sources.

The deliberations aren’t focused on lithium batteries carried by passengers into airline cabins to power cellphones, tablets and other portable consumer electronics. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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