Category Archives: Related Inventions

Who Says #China Has Locked in the EV Supply Chain?

This latest chemistry, LMFP, and promise to commercialize it, could be yet another game changer.In its latest formulation, manganese will boost the energy density of LFPs, allowing them to take vehicles further along (while remaining the safer and cheaper option.)  In CATL’s case, the voltage will increase from 3.2 volts to 4.1 volts. Such chemistry could provide up to 25% more energy density, according to a subsidiary of Lithium Australia that has also been working to adjust its own manufacturing processes to boost battery performance. CATL’s cells will be mass produced by the end of this year with a potential energy density of 230 Wh/kg, compared to 150Wh/kg to 180Wh/kg. That’s substantial given range anxiety and charging infrastructure remain the biggest barriers to widespread consumer adoption.

Manganese — and its effectiveness in electrochemistry — is often forgotten because of its low cost as a portion of the whole battery compared to that of other metals like nickel and cobalt. It’s used in higher energy density batteries, or the nickel cobalt formulation but in smaller amounts than the other elements. Those powerpacks, while also popular and a favorite of South Korean manufacturers, have been involved in fires and aren’t considered as stable despite being able to take vehicles further. Other combinations exist too, like the increasingly promising lithium nickel manganese oxide, or LNMO. In the past, one persistent issue with using manganese was that the battery would have a limited life cycle and high resistance, meaning it gets too hot and voltage drops. CATL’s version (and others) seem to have overcome this. 

 India, for instance, could become a key supply chain risk mitigator. It has vast untapped reserves. Of the more than 140 or so mines, several are currently inactive and almost half the production comes from two dozen public sector mines. Most of the ore is suitable for steel and other more basic uses. Only a tiny portion is battery-grade, however it can be processed and purified in to a battery-friendly form. An Indian government committee last month recommended exploring manganese reserves and boosting R&D efforts to explore the use of the metal for powerpacks, hopefully leading to increased policy support. Putting all this to work effectively could give India a spot in the global supply chain.

Read more at: Who Says China Has Locked in the EV Supply Chain? – The Washington Post

NGOs ask Musk to not invest in Indonesia’s nickel industry over environmental worries

July 25 (Reuters) – Dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have sent an open letter to Elon Musk, urging the Tesla Inc’s chief to not invest in Indonesia’s nickel industry on environmental concerns.

The letter by the NGOs, including Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) and Friends of the Earth United States, follows Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s meeting with Musk in Texas in May to discuss potential investments.

Indonesia has the world’s biggest nickel reserves and Widodo is keen to develop a nickel-based EV industry at home. The government banned export of unprocessed nickel ore from 2020 to ensure supply for investors.

However, environmentalists are concerned that the process would involve disposing off mining waste into the ocean.

The NGOs said in the letter that environmental damage results from the total area of the forest converted to nickel mining, causing increased deforestation and the threats of polluted water in the river, lake, and the beach.

Read more at: NGOs ask Musk to not invest in Indonesia’s nickel industry over environmental worries | Reuters

South China Mining Post: #US-led rare earths pact satisfies #SouthKorea’s ‘definite need’ to cut #China dependency.

South Korea has its own rare earth reserves, but does not possess the relevant production capabilities – although in recent years it has moved to produce rare earth magnets.

South Korea’s decision to join a US-led pact on mineral supply helps satisfy a “definite need” to cut dependency on China for key resources, including rare earths, analysts said.

Securing key resources has become a core task for major economies around the world, as minerals are a crucial element incorporated into cutting-edge technologies, green energy and national defence industries.

Countries have traditionally relied on China as it not only holds the largest amount of rare earth reserves, but it also is the world’s biggest producer.

But China’s recent moves to regulate the mining and exports of rare earths has had economies scrambling to secure alternative supplies, with the US-led Minerals Security Partnership launched earlier this month.

Read more at: US-led rare earths pact satisfies South Korea’s ‘definite need’ to cut China dependency | South China Morning Post (scmp.com)

One of World’s Biggest #Cobalt Mines Is at Stake in #Congo Fight

A dispute over one of the biggest copper and cobalt mines is escalating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, threatening to disrupt exports of essential battery materials and raising questions about the project’s future.

A top executive from state mining company Gecamines said that partner CMOC Group Ltd. owes $7.6 billion in overdue payments, and even accused the Chinese metals producer and trader of posing a threat to national security. CMOC said it denies the allegations, “strongly” opposes what it views as unjustified attacks and will defend its rights and interests.

Read more at: One of World’s Biggest Cobalt Mines Is at Stake in Congo Fight – Bloomberg

#Yellen urges less dependence on other nations for key supplies during #Canada trip

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. should work on shifting its dependence away from some rival nations for supplies of critical inputs as global supply-chain logjams have hurt the domestic economy.

Canada is a potential source of some products that countries have for many years obtained from China and Russia, Freeland said.

“What we can really contribute in a world of friend-shoring is critical metals and minerals and energy,” she said.

The U.S. already imports many minerals from Canada, including cobalt, nickel, aluminum and graphite. Freeland pointed out her government has earmarked $3.8 billion in its federal budget to implement a new critical minerals strategy over eight years.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/news/economy/yellen-urges-less-dependence-on-other-nations-for-key-supplies

#TheWashingtonPost: How a Battery Metals Squeeze Puts EV Future at Risk

The world’s epic shift into electric vehicles needs to overcome a major obstacle: how to meet rocketing demand for batteries, the vital component, while cutting the cost to help the cars go mainstream. Factory lines churning out power packs to fuel a clean energy future are being built faster than strained supply chains can keep up. A global rush to lock in stocks of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other key ingredients from a handful of nations has sent prices hurtling higher.

There are major concerns over China’s industry-wide dominance and moves in some other countries to restrict mineral exports in hopes of building their own manufacturing base. It’s a scenario that risks slowing the pace of EV adoption.

1. Why the shortages? 

2. What’s the fallout? 

3. Which minerals are in focus?

4. How will this affect the EV transition?

How a Battery Metals Squeeze Puts EV Future at Risk – The Washington Post

#Bloomberg: #Nickel Royalty Helps #Burundi Boost Its Spending Plan by 40%

https://burundi-agnews.org/economie/burundi-le-canadien-cvmr-investit-40-millions-usd-pour-le-nickel/

Burundi plans to increase its national budget by almost 40% for the fiscal year starting July as it eyes revenue from a nickel concession it awarded to a new partner.

Burundi, which has an estimated 6% of the world’s known nickel deposits, awarded a mining concession to East African Regional Projects. The deal involves remitting $1.5 billion to the government annually, with the first $500 million expected soon. 

The government plans to increase investment in farming and infrastructure, including starting to build a railroad to neighboring Tanzania, according to the statement.

The nation’s economy may grow by 3.6% this year and 4.6% in 2023, according International Monetary Fund estimates. 

Read more at: Nickel Royalty Helps Burundi Boost Its Spending Plan by 40% – Bloomberg

#VW CEO Follows #GM’s Lead, Aims To Overtake #Tesla’s Sales By 2025

Multiple automakers are aiming for Tesla, but supply chain issues are making it difficult to forecast what lies ahead.

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” this week at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. He noted that VW still plans to catch up and potentially overtake Tesla on EV sales by 2025.

Tesla is the global leader when it comes to electric cars, and it’s growing rapidly, even amid factory shutdowns and supply chain constraints. Diess shared that once the supply chain issues are resolved, it should help Volkswagen to start ramping up momentum once again.

Read more at: VW CEO Follows GM’s Lead, Aims To Overtake Tesla’s Sales By 2025 (msn.com)

Elon Musk Misses the Big Picture on Lithium Mining

Lack of investment in refining technologies, and companies have been put at a disadvantage. They’re now gearing up to deal with surging raw material demand — much sooner than they expected — and supply chain snarls. But the methods and processes haven’t fully evolved.

Elon Musk has a suggestion for entrepreneurs: Get into lithium mining for juicy margins. It’s a pithy recommendation, but it fails to grasp the complicated challenges for producing more of the metal.

Soaring lithium prices have dampened the excitement around electric vehicles. Musk noted that the production of the white metal was the biggest “limiting factor” for EVs. That may be true — along with all the other battery supply chain bottlenecks — but just mining more lithium or buying a mine isn’t the solution.

As the gap widens between supply and demand for the metal, prices have been rising for everything from the ore of lithium, spodumene, to lithium carbonate and a more refined form, lithium hydroxide. Mexico has nationalized lithium production, and Chile, home to some of the largest mines in the world, is moving closer to doing so as well. China is keeping a tight lid on prices and pushing them down to ensure its companies don’t suffer setbacks. The US is trying to find ways to expand lithium supply.

Yet no solutions to close the gap — and make widespread adoption of EVs a reality — are readily emerging. Part of that is because mining, more broadly, has acquired a bad reputation over the years and was dumped in the non-ESG investor bucket. That meant a lack of investment in refining technologies, and companies have been put at a disadvantage. They’re now gearing up to deal with surging raw material demand — much sooner than they expected — and supply chain snarls. But the methods and processes haven’t fully evolved.

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/elon-musk-misses-the-big-picture-on-lithium-mining/2022/05/16/b95193cc-d56c-11ec-be17-286164974c54_story.html

Supply chains endanger #American security. Here’s what #Biden is doing.

In late February, as most people were focusing on the war in Ukraine, the White House published over 1,300 pages of reports from a year-long and unprecedented investigation into the economic vulnerabilities caused by global supply chains.

These reports received almost no press attention. Yet they shed light on one of the crucial side effects of the war in Ukraine. Decoupling the economies of the United States and its allies from the economies of authoritarian nations may cause massive disruption.

Shortly after coming into office, the Biden-Harris administration issued an executive order on “America’s Supply Chains.” Seven federal agencies were directed to undertake comprehensive studies of the national and international economic organization of supply chains for strategic minerals, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and batteries within 100 days. The administration also told the government departments to report back within a year about how those industries related to broader “industrial bases” for defense, green energy, public health, information technology, transportation and food.

The reports call for green industrial policy

The U.S. government reports argue that these critical dependencies could be reduced by an ambitious green industrial policy. By 2030, the U.S. agencies are targeting goals that 50 percent of vehicles sold in the United States will be electric, 30 gigawatts of offshore wind will be built in the United States (that’s about four times the annual energy use of New York City), battery storage costs will be reduced by 90 percent, production costs for green hydrogen (made from water and electricity) will be lower than fossil fuel-derived hydrogen, and 90 percent of the key mineral iridium will be recycled. The agencies recommend strengthening the federal government’s “Buy American” program, subsidizing green industries through the Defense Production Act and building stockpiles of clean energy like the United States has for petroleum, along with other measures.

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/17/us-supply-chain-security-national-defense/

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