Batteries, batteries, and more batteries are the current trend. Scaling up battery production and the needed mineral mining and refining is the key to increasing the output of electric vehicles. Scaling up battery storage capacity is the key to reducing the impact of supply fluctuations while increasing the capacity of renewable energy output. Batteries are the key to everything. Thankfully, there is a ton of battery-related news. In fact, there is so much battery news that we are unable to keep up with it all. Here are four battery-related stories that I’ll briefly summarize.
ALABAMA OPENS BATTERY RECYCLING FACILITY Li-Cycle has launched its fourth “Spoke” in North America, a new battery recycling facility. This past week saw the start of operations for the Alabama Spoke.
“The Alabama Spoke uses Li-unique, Cycle’s water-free technology to recycle and process complete EV battery packs without any disassembly via a submerged shredding process. The rising range of EV battery topologies, including cell-to-pack formats with few alternatives for disassembly, may be processed by Li-entire Cycle’s pack processing capacity, which increases efficiency and further distinguishes the company’s value offer.
The US Southeast is the primary region served by the Alabama Spoke. The new battery recycling plant is more than 100,000 square feet and includes a storage space of 120,000 square feet. The Arizona Spoke, which debuted earlier in 2022, used the exact same design. Almost all of the Arizona Spoke’s overall goal throughput is currently being achieved. The Alabama Spoke can process a total of 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion battery material annually (but that can be expanded in the future of course).
The combined lithium-ion battery recycling capability of the four Spokes gives Li-Cycle a yearly processing capacity of up to 30,000 tonnes. What does that indicate in terms of EVs or battery pack count? Li-Cycle estimates that each year, about 60,000 EV batteries are produced.
Other than Gilbert, Arizona, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Kingston, Ontario, and Rochester, New York, are Li-other Cycle’s two spoke cities.
By the end of 2023, Li-Cycle hopes to have recycled 65,000 tonnes of batteries across the US and Europe.
SUSTAINABLE BATTERY FACTORY = ACC SIEMENS Working together on “sustainable alternatives for battery manufacture” are Siemens and Automotive Cells Company (ACC). The goal is for them to be large-scale solutions, and ACC intends to construct gigafactories in Billy-Berclau Douvrin, France; Kaiserslautern, Germany; and perhaps Termoli, Italy, employing the solutions.
The collaboration is a part of the Siemens Xcelerator open digital business platform, which was introduced in June of this year and promises to accelerate digital transformation through a curated portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware and software and a commitment to solid partnerships. Through this agreement, ACC will be able to move closer to its intended gigafactories at scale.
“Siemens will grant ACC access to its whole spectrum of digital enterprise hardware and software, from energy management systems to product lifecycle management, from production design to product design. Siemens and ACC intend to start by building thorough digital twins of the production lines and the batteries. The Siemens Xcelerator software Totally Integrated Automation and Teamcenter will enable ACC to more effectively connect design and manufacturing to scale-up production.
The press release doesn’t say much about what “sustainable solutions for battery production” actually include, although it does mention the objective of building carbon net zero plants.
SK ON GETTING LITHIUM FROM RESOURCES IN AUSTRALIA’S LAKES
SK On (also known as SK Innovation), a South Korean producer of EV batteries, has purchased a 10% stake in Lake Resources. The off-take agreement is originally for 5 years, but an extra 5 year contract can be tacked on. Battery-grade lithium might be delivered as early as the fourth quarter of 2024.
The Korean battery manufacturer can obtain a total of 230,000 tons of lithium under the agreement. “SK On would be supplied with 15,000 tons of lithium for the first two years and 25,000 tons of lithium starting in the third year.” What does that imply for electric cars? According to SK On , that is enough batteries for almost 4.9 million EVs.
In the United States, SK On operates a battery facility in Georgia where it might use this lithium, and another factory in Georgia is anticipated to open in 2023 where SK On might use the lithium.
In addition to the two facilities in Georgia, SK On and Ford recently formed BlueOval, a joint venture that will construct two EV battery factories in Kentucky and one in Tennessee. In 2025, these battery factories are anticipated to open.
“Lake Resources, a company founded in 1997, is now working on four lithium brine properties in Argentina. From its flagship Kachi Project, Lake Resources will provide high-purity lithium for several of them.
As Lake Resources produces lithium utilizing a direct lithium extraction (DLE) methodology, an environmentally benign extraction method developed by its U.S. partner Lilac Solutions, the most recent deal also matches SK On’s commitment to ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria. Since brine reinjection is a part of the extraction process, Lilac Solutions’ DLE technique significantly reduces the amount of brine used, as well as the amount of water and land used.
David Dickson, CEO of Lake Resources, commented on the news of the new alliance, saying, “The arrangement cements Lake Resources’ ability to scale up environmentally responsible production. We anticipate working with SK On for a very long time.
LITHIUM TO BE OBTAINED FROM SK, SAYS SK signed a deal recently collaborated on lithium projects with the Australian business Global Lithium Resources. In this instance, there weren’t as many specifics given. Through offtake agreements with Global Lithium Resources, the emphasis is on obtaining additional lithium from Australia
In that announcement, the business said that it operates 7 battery plants globally. In addition to the battery factory in Georgia mentioned earlier, SK On also has battery factories in Hungary, China, and South Korea. SK On is currently building 7 additional battery factories in addition to the 7 that are already in operation.
In 2019, SK On was the ninth-largest battery maker in the world; by 2022, it was ranked fifth. It controls 7% of the world market for EV batteries.
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