Category Archives: Technology

European Commission: Electric Cars Will Cost More Using Ethically Sourced Batteries

The European Union’s efforts to ethically source a key battery metal face headwinds that could make it more expensive for automakers to go electric.

“If, as proposed by the European Commission, due diligence on cobalt supply chain will be mandatory for batteries sold in the EU markets in the near future, the demand for responsibly sourced cobalt will increase rapidly,” the study prepared by the EU’s Joint Research Centre said.

But those “ambitious requirements might currently be too difficult,” according to an assessment prepared by researchers advising the European Commission. The report, which will be published by Elsevier Ltd.’s Resources Policy journal in June, suggests a tightening market for responsibly-sourced cobalt.

By 2030, EU economies need to secure more than 64,000 tons of ethically-sourced cobalt beyond existing supply-chain constraints, a volume of metal worth around $3.2 billion at current prices, to fuel the transition to electric vehicles. The run on the metal’s price is prompting mining companies to seek new reserves from Australia to the deep sea.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-13/electric-cars-will-cost-more-using-ethically-sourced-batteries

Energy Secretary Granholm says U.S. needs to produce more EV minerals

(Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday said the United States needs to boost domestic production of the minerals used to make electric vehicles, so long as it is done sustainably.

Granholm also suggested coal miners – who have been affected by falling demand from the power-generation sector – could transition to digging for EV metals.

“Having (coal workers) mine for critical materials is a natural shift for them,” said Granholm, a former Michigan governor who was confirmed last month as secretary.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mining-granholm-idINKBN2B12QA

#BHP moves #nickel and #copper HQ to #Toronto as #Canada emerges as new clean-tech mining hotspot

Australia’s BHP Group Ltd. is moving its exploration headquarters for nickel and copper — two metals expected to see increased future demand because of electric vehicle industry growth — to Toronto.

The company’s announcement Wednesday comes after a BHP subsidiary Rio Algom Ltd. struck a partnership in August with Canadian junior Midland Exploration Inc. to fund nickel exploration in northern Quebec.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/commodities/mining/bhp-moves-nickel-and-copper-hq-to-toronto-as-canada-emerges-as-new-mining-hotspot

#bloomberg: World’s Top #Nickel Producer, #indonesia, Sets Out End-to-End Battery Ambition

Indonesia laid down its plans to have a complete battery production line onshore, with a state-owned holding firm to be set up by June.

The country has drafted an “end-to-end development” plan that would see four state firms supplying nickel ore, processing nickel sulfate and cobalt sulfate, and then producing cathodes and batteries, Agus Tjahajana, who heads the task force on electric-vehicle development, said in a Thursday seminar.

Resource-rich Indonesia, home to a quarter of the world’s nickel reserves, has set its sights on moving up the supply chain to become a global hub for battery-making. The surge in demand for batteries, used to power everything from mobile phones to electric vehicles, has become a tailwind for Southeast Asia’s largest economy as it seeks a way out of a recession.

Top Battery Makers Discuss $20 Billion Indonesia EV Plans (1)

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-14/top-battery-makers-in-talks-over-20-billion-indonesia-ev-plans

#Bloomberg: The Metal That Worries #Tesla Most Is Getting Much Cheaper

Nickel tumbled after a major Chinese producer’s unexpected plan to add supply eased concerns about a structural deficit for the material that Elon Musk has said is the biggest concern for Tesla Inc. batteries.

Nickel is critical to the world’s clean-energy transition.

Tsingshan Holding Group Co., the world’s top stainless steel producer, will soon start supplying nickel matte to Chinese battery material producers and plans to expand its nickel investments in Indonesia. Matte is an intermediate product made from concentrate that can be further processed into battery-grade chemicals.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-04/nickel-slumps-as-key-producer-s-supply-plans-ease-deficit-fears

#Bloomberg: Climate Is Next Race for Global Supremacy, Bank of America Says

Put aside the trade and technology wars. The next race for global political and economic supremacy will focus on climate.

That’s according to Bank of America Corp.s’ research group, which said climate change will be this decade’s most important theme, just as technology underpinned economic growth during the past decade. China has spent twice as much as the U.S. on climate action, said Haim Israel, the bank’s head of global thematic investing research, in a report Monday.

“We believe climate strategies offer a route to global supremacy,” he said. “Whether through regulation, limits on exports, tariffs or significant investments, we believe the U.S. and China will do whatever it takes to take the lead on climate action.”

The economic impact of climate change could reach $69 trillion this century, and investments in the energy transition need to increase to $4 trillion a year, Israel said. That will lead to more than $100 billion a year in research and development.

Bank of America estimates that the potential market capitalization for companies tackling climate to be about $6 trillion across things like renewables, electric vehicles, and environmental, social and governance. China dominates EVs and batteries, while Europe excels in renewables, the report says.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-08/climate-seen-as-next-race-for-global-supremacy-bofa-says

Creating higher energy density lithium-ion batteries for renewable energy applications

The researchers employed surface chemical characterization as a strategy for identifying and minimizing residual hydroxide and carbonate impurities from the synthesis of NCA (nickel, cobalt, aluminum) nanoparticles. They realized the LIB cathode surfaces first needed to be prepared by suitable annealing, a process by which the cathode nanoparticles are heated to remove surface impurities, and then locked into the desirable structures with an atomically thin graphene coating.

The graphene-coated NCA nanoparticles, which were formulated into LIB cathodes, showed superlative electrochemical properties, including low impedance, high rate performance, high volumetric energy and power densities, and long cycling lifetimes. The graphene coating also acted as a barrier between the electrode surface and the electrolyte, which further improved cell lifetime.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2020-11-higher-energy-density-lithium-ion-batteries.html

#Reuters: #Cobalt demand for 5G technology to challenge electric vehicles

LONDON (Reuters) – The need for larger rechargeable batteries and more energy storage for 5G technology is expected to significantly boost demand for cobalt over coming years and potentially pit the sector against electric vehicle makers.

Read more at: https://ca.reuters.com/article/us-cobalt-5g-electric-idCAKCN26C1EQ

Ending #China’s Chokehold on Rare-Earth Minerals

The fundamental challenge is economic. America’s goal should be secure supply chains, not national autarky of supply. The U.S. should do this by promoting domestic production; diversifying mineral imports away from China; cooperating with allies to insulate each other from Chinese control; developing multiple alternative supply chains; stockpiling rare earths to create shock absorbers in case of a crisis; and reducing demand by investing in alternatives.

Start with the fundamentals. Rare-earth elements exist in small quantities not easily separable from surrounding detritus. Significant known deposits exist in China, Brazil, Canada, Australia and India, as well as in the deep seabed. Sixteen of the 17 rare earths exist in the U.S. at a single west Texas site currently under development. 

Their extraction and treatment is expensive and environmentally damaging, yet they are essential to $7 trillion in finished products. Wealthy countries have made licensing harder and raised other barriers, pushing the industry to China and Malaysia, where low labor costs and weak environmental enforcement make them economical.

As a report  this year from the Colorado School of Mines concluded, “China’s strength is in refining those Rare Earth oxides into metallic alloys to manufacture end-products.” Breaking China’s monopoly will require development of processing plants and supply chains outside Beijing’s control.

China dominates the global market in rare-earth minerals, producing 70% of the world’s exports. But this isn’t a gift of nature — it’s the result of 15 years of industrial policy. The Chinese government identified a critical economic chokehold, invested in building companies, subsidized production to underprice and ultimately destroy competition, and then constructed a monopoly.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-09-18/ending-china-s-chokehold-on-rare-earth-minerals

#Nasa is looking for private companies to help mine the #moon

NASA has announced it is looking for private companies to go to the moon and collect dust and rocks from the surface and bring them back to Earth.

https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/strategies/SP509-3-Materials.pdf

Recommendations on page – 151

Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/sep/11/nasa-moon-mining-private-companies

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