Researchers at Jilin University in China have developed a new class of self-assembled crystalline porous organic salts (CPOSs) featuring high proton conductivity for applications such as proton-exchange membranes for fuel cells. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the water content in the channels of the porous salts plays an... Read more →

Roskill: record cobalt deals in Q1 2018 show raw material procurement for Li-ion batteries revving up

Given the rapid development of the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery industry, analysts are predicting that industry requirements for lithium and graphite could increase five-fold within the next decade while other metals such as nickel and cobalt are expected to increase nine-fold and four-fold, respectively, reflecting changes in cathode chemistry, according to... Read more →

Lithium Australia (LIT) has finalized its acquisition of advanced cathode material production technology, acquiring 99.7% of the equity in Brisbane-based Very Small Particle Company (VSPC). The VSPC facility is a 2 to 4 tonnes-per-annum pilot plant that incorporates an integrated laboratory, coin-cell production facility and battery-testing equipment. Cathode powder producer... Read more →

Researchers at SLAC and their colleagues at Northwestern University and NIST have combined machine learning (ML) and high-throughput (HiTp) experiments to find a new system of metallic glasses in the Co-V-Zr ternary. In their approach, described in an open-access paper in Science Advances, the team trained a machine learning (ML)... Read more →

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory )PNNL) have developed and successfully tested a new solid-phase technique called Friction Stir Dovetailing (FSD) to join thick plates of aluminum to steel. The new process will be used to make lighter-weight military vehicles that are more agile and fuel efficient. An open-access paper... Read more →

LG Chem, Huayou Cobalt to form 2 JVs in China; precursors & cathodes for EV batteries; supporting 400K EV packs/year

LG Chem will form two joint ventures with China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt to secure supplies of cobalt for Li-ion batteries. Huayou Cobalt is the world’s largest producer of refined cobalt, delivering 20,000 tons in 2017. LG Chem will invest KRW 239.4 billion (USD 224 million) by 2020 to establish two... Read more →

A team of Japanese researchers from multiple institutions has calculated that an area of deep-sea mud in the western North Pacific Ocean near Minami-Torishima Island, Japan, contains more than 16 million tons of rare-earth elements and yttrium (REY). In an open-access paper published in Scientific Reports, they estimate that this... Read more →

Mechanical engineers at the University of California, Riverside, have successfully used inexpensive materials to produce thermoelectric devices that transform low-level waste heat into electricity. While thermoelectric generators have been highly dependable—for example powering space probes such as the Voyager spacecraft for decades—their use has been limited by the expense and... Read more →

Stuart Licht, a chemistry professor at the George Washington University, and his team of researchers are among the finalists announced today in the $20-million Carbon XPRIZE competition. The team’s technological process C2CNT—Carbon dioxide to Carbon NanoTubes (earlier post)—is one of ten finalists advancing to the final round in the $20M... Read more →

A new study by researchers at Leiden University in The Netherlands, with colleagues at the University of Freiburg (Germany) and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, shows that climate policies can strongly increase metal demand. In an open-access paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, the team explores... Read more →

Impact Coatings, which develops and sells technology for PVD-coatings of fuel cell plates and vehicle reflectors, recently received its first production order for Ceramic MaxPhase coatings from Michelin. PVD (physical vapor deposition) is a method of producing thin layers of metals and ceramics under vacuum for surface coatings that maximize... Read more →

Nemaska Lithium Inc. has entered into an investment agreement with SoftBank Group Corp. for a private placement of common share subscription receipts at a price of CAD 1.12 (USD 0.88) per receipt for aggregate gross proceeds of up to CAD 99,075,000 (USD 75,000,000). Under the investment agreement, SoftBank will acquire... Read more →

Roskill: Chinese companies step up their pursuit of lithium resources

China is stepping up its pursuit of control of the lithium supply chain, underpinned by the rapid growth of its lithium-ion battery industry building on agressive policy surrounding electric vehicle sales, according to metals and mining consultancy Roskill. One of China’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturers, CATL, recently acquired North American... Read more →

As Faurecia’s NAFILean (natural fiber for injection) lightweight hemp-based biomaterials are increasingly adopted by OEMs, the company has developed new figures showing the significant energy and environmental benefits of the biomaterials. NAFILean integrates a natural, hemp-based fiber with polypropylene and allows for complex shapes and architectures along with weight reduction.... Read more →

In August 2017, international metals and minerals research firm Roskill reported that Tesla would use a 3-phase permanent magnet motor in the Model 3 RWD Long Range as the powertrain motor, as opposed to the asynchronous reluctance (induction) motors used in the Model 3 RWD standard and Model X AWD.... Read more →

Lithium and cobalt are fundamental components of present lithium-ion batteries. Analysis by researchers at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) suggests that, given the foreseen scaling of battery demand up to 2050, each may face supply risks, albeit for different reasons. The researchers present... Read more →

SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, released the results of a recent lifecycle assessment of passenger car side doors using hybrid material solutions including laminates made with its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite (CFRTC), the UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape. The material system aims to help improve compliance with stringent... Read more →

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks, a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, selected the city of Detroit as the company’s first wholly-owned manufacturing operation in the state due to its proximity to leading automakers, access to talent and support from local and state governments. The new operation speaks... Read more →

The Department of Energy announced a funding opportunity totaling $3 million to support projects between US industry and DOE national laboratories related to improving materials in severe or complex environments through the new High Performance Computing for Materials in Applied Energy Technologies (HPC4Mtls) Program. (Earlier post.) The call for proposals... Read more →

Toyota Motor Corporation has developed the world’s first neodymium-reduced, heat-resistant magnet. Neodymium (Nd) magnets are used in various types of motors such as the high-output motors found in electrified vehicles. The new magnet uses significantly less neodymium, a rare-earth element, and can be used in high-temperature conditions. The newly developed... Read more →

By 2030, aluminum demand from Electric Vehicles (EVs) will near 10 million tonnes, a ten-fold increase from 2017, according to analysis by mining and metals business intelligence firm CRU. The usage of primary aluminum intensive, extrusions and rolled products will be significantly higher than seen in internal combustion engine vehicles... Read more →

Researchers discover new efficient lithium collection method using MOF membranes; Li from produced water

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Monash University (Australia) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have recently discovered a new, efficient way to extract lithium and other metals and minerals from water. They published their findings in an open-access paper in Science Advances.... Read more →

In its new ten-year market outlook to 2027, Roskill, a leading provider of international metals and minerals research, forecasts primary nickel consumption to rise by just under 4% per year between 2017 and 2027, driven by increased consumption by stainless steel producers and by growth in demand in the automotive... Read more →

Four rare earth elements (REEs) recovery projects managed by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) (earlier post) have made significant progress in the development of a domestic supply of REEs from coal and coal by-products by successfully producing REE... Read more →

PNNL, UW create materials research initiative

The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the University of Washington have created the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology (NW IMPACT)—a joint research endeavor to power discoveries and advancements in materials that transform energy, telecommunications, medicine, information technology and other fields. The institute builds... Read more →

EPFL researchers have developed models of magnesium alloys to understand how to make the metal more pliable. Magnesium is the lightest metal on earth but, also has very low ductility—i.e., it cannot easily be shaped into usable forms. The researchers hope that with the models will lead to the discovery... Read more →

Hydro has started producing the first aluminium metal at its technology pilot in Karmøy, marking the start of verifying at an industrial scale the HAL4e aluminium technology. Compared to the world average, the Hydro-developed technology will use 15% less energy in aluminium production and has the lowest CO2 footprint. Hydro... Read more →

Researchers at WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group), The University of Warwick (UK) have developed Silicon-Few Layer Graphene (Si-FLG) composite electrodes as an effective approach to replacing graphite in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries. The reinforcement of the silicon anode structure with graphene girders results in significant improvement in terms of cyclability,... Read more →

Researchers have demonstrated how to create a super-strong aluminum alloy (nanotwinned Al-Fe) that rivals the strength of stainless steel, an advance with potential applications in the automotive and aerospace industries. The research, which shows how to alter the microstructure of aluminum to impart greater strength and ductility, is detailed in... Read more →

Volkswagen Group of America joins LIFT for automotive light-weighting research; first automotive OEM member

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) has officially joined the LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow) institute as a Silver Member to advance the group’s research into lightweight metals, therefore reducing the weight of future vehicles. The group comprises Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti; VWGoA is the first automotive OEM... Read more →

MIT researchers have discovered a way to increase the efficiency of thermoelectric materials threefold by using “topological” materials, which have unique electronic properties. While past work has suggested that topological materials may serve as efficient thermoelectric systems, there has been little understanding as to how electrons in such topological materials... Read more →

Toyota Tsusho, the trading arm of the Toyota Group, has signed a Share Subscription Agreement with Australian lithium miner Orocobre to become a 15% shareholder on a fully diluted basis by private placements and participation in Orocobre’s public accelerated entitlement share offering, announced in conjunction with this investment. The total... Read more →

DOE awards $1.87M to 7 projects to advance high performance computing in manufacturing

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $1.87 million to seven projects to advance innovation in US manufacturing through high performance computing. Part of DOE’s High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program (earlier post), the seven new public private partnerships will enable greater collaboration between DOE national labs and... Read more →

LightMAT awards $2.25M in Round Two funding for lightweight materials technologies

Five US-based organizations are receiving $2.25 million in technical assistance from Department of Energy national laboratories to further develop lightweight materials technologies and more efficient vehicles. The awarded projects are part of a second round of industrial assistance opportunities (earlier post) supported by DOE’s LightMAT—the Lightweight Materials Consortium.(Earlier post.) The... Read more →

SoCalGas, partners developing technology to make carbon fiber during hydrogen production from methane; reducing the cost of H2 and cutting GHG

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is partnering with a development team to advance a new process that converts natural gas to hydrogen, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes. The low-emission process, selected for funding as part of the H2@Scale initiative (earlier post) by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell... Read more →

DENSO Corporation and FLOSFIA Inc., a tech startup spun out from Kyoto University, are partnering to develop a next-generation power semiconductor device expected to reduce the energy loss, cost, size and weight of inverters used in electrified vehicles (EVs). Through the joint development project, the two companies aim to improve... Read more →

RUB team develops process for accelerated analysis of the stability of complex alloys

Material scientists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have developed a novel process for analyzing, for example, the temperature and oxidation resistance of complex alloys that are made up of a number of different elements. Previously, such analyses used to take months. A paper on their work is published in the journal... Read more →

Novel laser welding technique could expand use of advanced high-strength steel alloys

A Brazilian researcher has developed an innovative method of laser welding at high temperatures that enhances the properties of advanced high-strength (AHS) steel for applications in the automotive and aerospace industries The automotive industry’s demand for high-performance AHS alloys has increased in recent years owing to increasingly stringent passenger safety,... Read more →

Georgia Tech study suggests one in five materials chemistry papers may be wrong; MOFs as example

The replicability of results from scientific studies has become a major source of concern in the research community, particularly in the social sciences and biomedical sciences. But many researchers in the fields of engineering and the hard sciences haven’t felt the same level of concern for independent validation of their... Read more →

Airbus and Williams Advanced Engineering have signed a memorandum of understanding under which the two companies will focus on the ways in which ultra-lightweight materials, battery technologies and electrical cell chemistries can be integrated on Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program. In 2015, Airbus Defence and Space and Sion... Read more →

ARPA-E issues $100M OPEN funding opportunity announcement to support early-stage energy R&D

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA‑E) latest OPEN funding opportunity. (DE-FOA-0001858) ARPA-E issued previous OPEN solicitations in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Open solicitations enable ARPA-E to support transformational projects outside the... Read more →

India is the third-largest steel producer in the world after China and Japan, having surpassed other large steel-making countries such as the United States, Russia, and South Korea over the previous decade, according to the World Steel Association. In 2016, about 57% of India’s steel was produced using electric-based methods—the... Read more →

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and their colleagues have devised a novel catalytic method to produce renewable acrylonitrile (ACN) using 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which can be biologically produced from sugars. This hybrid biological-catalytic process offers an alternative to the conventional petrochemical production method and achieves unprecedented acrylonitrile... Read more →

New family of aluminum-cerium alloys shows significantly improved high-temperature performance, economic benefits

The high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and high thermal conductivity of aluminum alloys have made them important for the automotive and aerospace industries—and even more so now due to the promise of improved performance and fuel economy from lightweighting. However, while aluminum alloys offer outstanding castability, excellent mechanical properties, and... Read more →

DOE Lab, partners find high concentrations of rare earth elements in American coal basins

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found high rare earth element (REE) concentrations in coal samples taken from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region. These highly concentrated samples are greater than 300 parts per million... Read more →

A team of scientists from CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, the University of Oslo (Norway) and the Instituto de Tecnología Química (Spain) have successfully completed laboratory testing of a ceramic membrane that generates compressed hydrogen from natural gas and electricity in a one-step process with near-zero energy loss. The research, reported in... Read more →

Sumitomo Electric Industries and the University of Toyama have developed a high heat-resistant magnesium alloy for die casting applications. In die casting, a molten metal is injected into a die under high pressure and quickly cooled and solidified into the final part. Owing to its high productivity, die casting is... Read more →

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) have discovered a new oxide-ion conductor SrYbInO4 with a CaFe2O4-type structure. SrYbInO4 is the first example of a CaFe2O4-type pure oxide-ion conductors in which the oxide-ion conduction is dominant. This new material, described in a... Read more →

Insights from Leoben researchers lead to improved piezo injectors

One of the elements modern diesel engines require to become energy-efficient and clean are precisely controllable injection nozzles using piezo crystals. How exactly these crystals work has not been fully understood to date. In a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a group of researchers from the Materials... Read more →

BMW Group adopts new approaches for a more sustainable battery cell supply chain; focus on cobalt

Cobalt is one of the key components in production of electrified vehicles and is used in significant quantities in high-voltage batteries for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The challenge facing companies that work with cobalt as a raw material is that risks related to environmental standards and human rights cannot... Read more →