Category Archives: Technology

#Indonesia proposes to #Canada setting up #OPEC-like group for #Nickel

JAKARTA — Indonesia has proposed in talks with Canada establishing an OPEC-like organization for nickel producing countries, the Southeast Asian nation’s investment ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Indonesia and Canada are the first and sixth biggest nickel producers in the world, respectively.

The proposal was made when Indonesian Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia met Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Ng on Tuesday on the sideline of the G20 summit in Bali.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/indonesia-proposes-to-canada-setting-up-opec-like-group-for-nickel

#Glencore looking to trade #Lithium on soaring EV demand

Mining and commodity giant Glencore  is looking to add lithium to the suite of metals it trades, as the raw material is in hot demand due to the rapidly growing production of electric vehicles (EVs), two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

If it goes ahead, the Switzerland-based company’s trading team would be part of the zinc and copper business run by Jyothish George and Nick Popovic, the sources said.

Glencore declined to comment.

The company does not own lithium mines but produces copper, nickel and cobalt, other raw materials that it terms “commodities of the future,” as they are needed to manufacture batteries, electric cars and renewable infrastructure that will help the world transition to a greener economy.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/glencore-looking-trade-lithium-soaring-ev-demand-sources-2022-09-16/

Can #Indonesia’s electric car, battery sector have a smooth ride beyond #China?

  • US offers tax rebate for EV buyers whose vehicles’ batteries use minimal metal from ‘foreign entities of concern’, in reference to China, Russia firms
  • A lot of nickel, used for EV batteries, is from Indonesia, but experts say sector must become greener to gain more global market share.

A new regulation in the United States offering incentives to buyers of electric vehicles with battery components only minimally made by “foreign entities of concern” has paved the way for Indonesia to expand its burgeoning EV battery industry beyond the Chinese market.

However, the nation’s lacklustre green energy revolution may dampen that prospect in the future, analysts said.

The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed into law last month, offers a tax rebate of US$7,500 for EV consumers whose vehicles undergo final assembly in North America, and if their batteries use minimal metal components from “foreign entities of concern”, in a veiled reference to Chinese and Russian companies.

At least 40 per cent of the important metals in the EV battery, including lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese, must also come from the US and its Free Trade Agreement partners. That percentage will rise to 80 per cent by 2026, according to Reuters. The new law will be effective until at least 2032.

There will be implications for Indonesia, “directly or indirectly, considering that China-made batteries imported by the US use Indonesian nickel”, said Putra Adhiguna, a Jakarta-based energy analyst in the transport sector at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “But at this point in time, it’s unclear what the magnitude of that implication will be.”

While currently the largest markets for EV batteries are China and the European Union, “the Chinese market is still twice or three times bigger than the US market now,” Putra said.

But, Putra said that in the future, the US will be a “significant market” for nickel producers.

“The US is a significant growth market, so if they block products from China, and implement additional measures such as the IRA, our nickel industry’s future growth will feel the impact of the US’ drive to localise the EV supply chain.”

Read more at: Can Indonesia’s electric car, battery sector have a smooth ride beyond China? | South China Morning Post (scmp.com)

New cathode design solves major barrier to better lithium-ion batteries

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have a long history of breakthrough discoveries with lithium-ion batteries. Many of these discoveries have focused on a battery cathode known as NMC, a nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide. Batteries with this cathode now power the Chevy Bolt.

The team at Argonne National Laboratory developed a method for producing boundary-free single crystals. Testing of small cells with such single-crystal cathodes at very high voltage showed a 25% increase in energy storage per unit volume, with almost no loss of performance over 100 cycles of testing. By contrast, over the same cycle life, the capacity declined by 60% to 88% in NMC cathodes composed of single crystals with many internal boundaries or with coated polycrystals.

“We now have guidelines that battery manufacturers can use to prepare cathode material that is boundary free and works at high voltage,” said Khalil Amine, an Argonne Distinguished Fellow. ​“And the guidelines should apply to other cathode materials besides NMC.”

Read more at: New cathode design solves major barrier to better lithium-ion batteries | Argonne National Laboratory (anl.gov)

F-35 Deliveries Halted Over a Chinese #Cobalt and #Samarium Alloy, #Pentagon Says

The Pentagon has halted deliveries of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 after finding an alloy used in magnets for pumps on the fighter jet was made in China.

“Once the issue was discovered,” the F-35 program office “found an alternative source for the alloy that will be used in future turbomachines,” Goemaere said, and deliveries of F-35s were halted as a precaution. 

Lockheed said in a statement that “we are working with our partners and DoD to ensure contractual compliance within the supply chain.” The contractor said the F-35 remains safe for flight, “and we are working with the DoD to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to resume deliveries.”

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-07/f-35-deliveries-halted-over-use-of-chinese-alloy-pentagon-says-l7rsjt36

Agreement with #German automakers ‘unprecedented’ for #Canada, says auto industry insider

Memorandums of understanding the federal government signed with two of Europe’s largest automakers are unprecedented, according to the president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

On Tuesday the federal government announced it reached agreements with Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz that would help the German automakers secure access to the critical minerals needed for electric vehicle batteries.

Those critical minerals – such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite – are primarily found in parts of northern Ontario and northern Quebec. 

“It is absolutely unprecedented,” said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. 

He said the agreements with both companies sends a signal to other car manufacturers that northern Ontario and northern Quebec are the places to access critical minerals if they want to qualify for new electric vehicle tax credits in the U.S.

To qualify for the new tax credits in the U.S. – which are worth up to $7,500 for electrical vehicle buyers – automakers must manufacture their vehicles in North America, and source most of their critical minerals and battery materials from countries that have a free-trade agreement with the U.S.

Read more at: Agreement with German automakers ‘unprecedented’ for Canada, says auto industry insider | CBC News

Shiny EVs in Sight, #Indonesia Mulls #Nickel Export Tax

Indonesia could impose a tax on nickel exports this year as Southeast Asia’s largest economy looks to be a bigger player in the electric vehicle industry.

The biggest producer of the EV battery metal, which is also used to make stainless steel, Indonesia is looking to add more value locally in a bid to boost revenues and jobs, President Joko Widodo told Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait in a wide-ranging interview in Jakarta.

The potential move, which was flagged earlier this year by another official, is one step on a path that could ultimately mean a ban on exports of all raw materials. The more certain levy in the near future is a carbon tax before the end of the year, the plans for which the president confirmed as the country shoots for carbon neutrality by 2060.

Read more at: What’s Happening in the World Economy: Indonesia’s Export Tax Plan – Bloomberg

Inflation Reduction Act: Sourcing materials and making batteries are challenging

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — the most significant climate change policy passed in our country to date — engineers, like myself, are at the center of developing and deploying the clean energy technology in record time. Importantly, these technologies include the batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), a centerpiece of the legislation and long-time foundation of strategies to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The IRA lays out some tough — and dramatic — engineering challenges for EV batteries.

It is far easier to buy a battery made abroad. We can’t change this reality without engineers as the heroes in what will be a dramatic build out of battery manufacturing in the United States.  

Potentially even more challenging than building the facilities that assemble battery parts is acquiring all the materials they contain. Metals — including lithium, copper, manganese, nickel and cobalt — are a key part of what makes a battery work.

However, the U.S. is not a dominant producer of any of these metals. And, typically, countries that produce metals don’t manufacture battery components or batteries at all. A common example is Chile, which produces 25 percent of the world’s lithium, but no appreciable number of batteries. About 70 percent of our cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and 15 to 20 percent of that is mined by hand. This cobalt is generally exported to China, where it is used in battery production.

Recognizing the supply chain risks that such an international supply chain entails, the IRA sets targets for the percentage of the value of critical materials in a battery that come in total from domestic mines recycling, or from countries with which the U.S. has a free-trade agreement. This target hits 80 percent in four years. Given that most batteries are assembled outside the U.S., the amount of U.S.-mined metals incorporated in batteries today is incredibly small. To increase this percentage so dramatically in the next four years, advances in recycling existing lithium-ion batteries is key.

Subject to intense research and development, this technology is very young and not operated yet on a large scale in the U.S. Previous research has estimated that accomplishing a target of about 8 percent lithium and 12 percent each of nickel and cobalt by 2030 would be possible. By mass, this is only about one-third of the critical materials in a battery that would be achieved in eight (not four) years. Again, engineers must come to the rescue to design and scale these processes.

Read more at: Inflation Reduction Act: Sourcing materials and making batteries are challenging (msn.com)

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

« Older Entries