#Nickel atom aids carbon dioxide reduction

Knowing how a nickel iron sulfide catalyst helps reduce carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and other carbon-based products could lead to technologies that can convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into industrially useful chemicals.

Scientists are closer to finding ways to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into industrially useful chemicals thanks to a RIKEN study that looked at how nature converts carbon dioxide into more complex organic compounds—one of the processes underpinning the origin of life.

In nature, carbon dioxide is converted into carbon monoxide and then into more complex organic compounds through reactions that are most likely linked to the origin of life on Earth.

Carbon dioxide reduction occurred only in the presence of nickel, which binds to carbon while iron binds to oxygen. As the potential was increased, the iron sulfur and nickel cluster catalyzed the further reduction of carbon monoxide into the formyl group, which was then converted into methane and ethane.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2021-05-nickel-atom-aids-carbon-dioxide.html

#reuters: #BASF, #Canada in early talks on EV battery production – source

Several companies, including Germany’s BASF SE, are in preliminary talks about tapping a federal clean tech fund to set up production for electric vehicle batteries in Canada, a government official with knowledge of the discussions said.

The talks are centered on understanding whether the goals of BASF and others fit with the aim of the C$8 billion ($6.6 billion) “Net Zero Accelerator” (NZA) fund, the source said. Canada has set a goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

BASF is a key supplier of cathode active materials (CAM) needed for the production of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles (EV), and is the world’s largest chemicals and plastics producer by sales.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/basf-canada-early-talks-ev-battery-production-source-2021-05-20/

#Canada has “right ingredients” to be EV battery leader

Canada has a “once-in-generation” opportunity to establish itself as a major player in the global battery sector, but it needs to act fast to seize the opportunity, a new report reflecting the views of stakeholders across the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain shows.

Canada is rich in lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, aluminum and manganese, key ingredients for advanced battery manufacturing and storage technology.

That could mean the country is in a good position to tap into the global market for lithium-ion batteries, which is expected to exceed $100 billion by 2030. The vast majority of this growing demand will come from electric cars, buses, and trucks.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/canada-has-right-ingredients-to-be-ev-battery-leader/

#Forbes: Developer Of #Aluminum-Ion Battery Claims It Charges 60 Times Faster Than #Lithium-Ion, Offering #EV Range Breakthrough

The graphene aluminum-ion battery cells from the Brisbane-based Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) are claimed to charge up to 60 times faster than the best lithium-ion cells and hold three time the energy of the best aluminum-based cells.

They are also safer, with no upper Ampere limit to cause spontaneous overheating, more sustainable and easier to recycle, thanks to their stable base materials. Testing also shows the coin-cell validation batteries also last three times longer than lithium-ion versions.

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltaylor/2021/05/13/ev-range-breakthrough-as-new-aluminum-ion-battery-charges-60-times-faster-than-lithium-ion/?sh=722764486d28

#Bloomberg: Proposal to Help US Coal Country With Rare Earth Mining

GOP Representative Andy Barr is proposing legislation to expedite approval for coal companies to mine rare earths and other minerals critical for the electrification revolution the Biden administration covets.

The bill being introduced by the Kentucky Republican also would offer a lifeline to the struggling U.S. coal industry, which faces waning demand as power plants shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuel.

The measure would amend the so-called FAST act, a program that funds surface transportation infrastructure planning and investment. It would expand permitting to streamline and expedite the approval process for existing coal mines to extract and process the minerals the U.S. says are crucial for batteries and other green-energy infrastructure.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-12/gop-s-barr-proposes-helping-coal-country-with-rare-earth-mining

Seafloor mining fever drives $2.9 billion merger

The World Bank estimates a 1,000% increase in battery metals will be needed by 2050, and cites research in Nature warning that “the world cannot tackle climate change without adequate supply of raw materials to manufacture clean technologies.”

Given that it can take 10 to 20 years to get a new mine permitted and in production, the world appears headed for a “peak metals” crunch, which may explain the sudden minerals rush in the Pacific Ocean.

A new international deep ocean mining code, delayed by the pandemic, is now expected to be in place by 2023, and several companies that have been in the exploration stage, including heavyweights like Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), are now hoping to start commercial harvesting as early as 2024.

One of these companies is Vancouver’s DeepGreen Metals, which is merging with Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corp. (NYSE:SOAC), a special-purpose acquisitions company, in a deal valued at $2.9 billion. The new company will be called The Metals Co.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/seafloor-mining-fever-drives-2-9-billion-merger/

#Reuters: Low carbon world needs $1.7 trillion in mining investment

Mining companies need to invest nearly $1.7 trillion in the next 15 years to help supply enough copper, cobalt, nickel and other metals needed for the shift to a low carbon world, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

The United States, Britain, Japan, Canada and others raised their targets on cutting carbon emissions to halt global warming at a summit in April hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

Meeting those targets will need large-scale deployment of electric vehicles, storage for power generated from renewables and electricity transmission, all of which require industrial materials.

Wood Mackenzie analyst Julian Kettle calculated miners needed to invest about $1.7 trillion during the next 15 years to “deliver a two-degree pathway — where the rise in global temperatures since pre-industrial times is limited to 2°C”.

Australia, Canada and Western Europe carry a low ESG risk but some of the best resources are in high-risk areas, such as Democratic Republic of Congo, which sits on about half the world’s cobalt reserves according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Given the need to meet tough decarbonisation and ESG targets, Western governments, lenders, investors and consumers will need to get comfortable operating in jurisdictions where ESG issues are more complex,” Kettle said.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/mining-carbon-capex/graphic-low-carbon-world-needs-17-trillion-in-mining-investment-idUSL8N2MU39J

#Ford is betting that solid-state batteries will cut EV costs

DETROIT — Ford has raised its stake in a manufacturer of solid-state batteries — a move that its chief product and operations officer, Hau Thai-Tang, says will strengthen the company’s effort to increase the range and reduce the costs of its next generation of electric vehicles.

Ford, along with BMW, this week announced their investment in a $130 million funding round for Solid Power, a Denver-area company that is developing sulfide solid-state battery technology.

Read more at: https://www.startribune.com/ford-is-betting-that-solid-state-batteries-will-cut-ev-costs/600053821/?refresh=true

#TheHindu: #Ford announces new lab to develop lithium-ion, solid-state vehicle batteries

Ford has announced its plan to open a new battery lab called ‘Ford Ion Park’ to develop and manufacture electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and test manufacturing approaches, taking a step toward producing battery cells for EVs internally.

Opening next year, the $185 million lab in Michigan, U.S., will develop, test and build lithium-ion and solid-state vehicle battery cells and arrays with a cross-functional team of 150 experts, the automobile giant said in a statement.

“Investing in more battery R&D ultimately will help us speed the process to deliver more, even better, lower cost EVs for customers over time,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer said.

The Ford Ion Park team will be led by Anand Sankaran, currently the company’s director of Electrified Systems Engineering. According to the carmaker, the team will ensure batteries are optimised for its diverse customers – from daily commuters to performance enthusiasts to commercial vehicle fleet operators.

Read more at: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/ford-announces-new-lab-to-develop-lithium-ion-solid-state-vehicle-batteries/article34436875.ece

#Bloomberg: The Hidden Science Making Batteries Better, Cheaper and Everywhere

All batteries have four components: two electrodes (anode and cathode), a liquid electrolyte that helps ions move between the electrodes, and a separator to keep the electrodes from coming in direct contact with each other and preventing fires. When a battery is charged, ions flow from the cathode to the anode. When it’s discharged, the ions reverse course.

A battery is judged by how much energy it packs. That key factor is intimately linked to the battery’s charging speed, the number of charge-discharge cycles it can sustain, and safety. Increased energy density can also make it more fire prone. Faster recharge speed can result in fewer life cycles.

Ultimately, price reigns supreme. That’s determined by how much energy the battery can store, the materials used to make it and the thickness of electrode coatings that can be deployed without harming performance. The lower the cost, the cheaper the electric car.

British scientist John Goodenough found that cathodes made entirely of cobalt were safer and stored more energy. The discovery won him the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2019. Then Moroccan scientist Rachid Yazami found that using graphite, a form of carbon, as the anode made a lithium-ion battery much more stable and thus helped it last longer. Finally, Keizaburo Tozawa, head of Sony’s battery division in the 1990s, put all these inventions together to create the first commercial lithium-ion battery.

Even though cobalt is an expensive metal, it remained affordable for small batteries inside early laptops and mobile phones. But once lithium-ion batteries started moving into electric vehicles, chemists looked to introduce cheaper metals, such as nickel, manganese and even iron.

Alternative metals have to be carefully evaluated. If a cheap metal means disproportionately worse battery performance, it won’t do. Through millions of experiments, three cathode chemistries have come to dominate the market: nickel manganese cobalt oxides (NMC), nickel cobalt aluminum oxides (NCA) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP).

Into the Solid-State Future

If solid-state batteries come to market in the latter half of this decade, as expected, they are likely to represent a big leap in battery performance, extending EV range by as much as 50% and cutting down charging times to as little as 15 minutes.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2021-inside-lithium-ion-batteries/

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