Daimler joins multiple initiatives for a sustainable raw material supply chain; future focus on battery cell supply chain

Daimler has joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the Responsible Mineral Initiative, the Responsible Steel Initiative and the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative. Joining the four initiatives takes a product’s entire life cycle into account—from development, via procurement and production to recycling. As part of the offensive for a sustainable raw material supply... Read more →


Cobalt Blockchain and DLT Labs form JV to release Mintrax blockchain platform for mineral traceability

Cobalt Blockchain Inc.(COBC) and DLT Labs Inc. finalized a joint venture agreement to commercialize Mintrax, a fully-functional blockchain platform providing secure and transparent methods for tracking the provenance of metals and minerals through the entire mining supply chain from source to end-user. COBC intends to provide conflict-free cobalt to address... Read more →


Xtalic Corporation, a provider of nano-scale metal alloys and coatings, has entered the electric vehicle market with products that extend the life of connectors in electric battery chargers by up to 40 times. Xtalic creates its materials through an electrodeposition process that utilizes at least two materials—a primary material and... Read more →


Rahul Panat, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon in collaboration with Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a new method of aerosol jet (AJ) 3-D printing battery electrodes that creates a 3-D microlattice structure with controlled... Read more →


Teijin Frontier to acquire J.H. Ziegler; addressing EV demand

Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd., the Teijin Group’s fiber and products converting company, agreed to acquire J.H. Ziegler GmbH (Ziegler), a leading supplier of automotive interior materials in Germany, at a cost of approximately €125 million (US$146 million). Ziegler will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Teijin Frontier. Since its establishment in... Read more →


Researchers from Nanjing University have developed a new method for the extraction of lithium metal from seawater using solar-powered electrolysis with a NASICON solid-state electrolyte as the selective membrane. In a paper in the journal Joule, they report that their electrolysis method made the lithium extraction process faster and more... Read more →


Novelis to acquire downstream aluminum producer Aleris for ~$2.6B; meeting automotive demand, expanding into aerospace

Novelis Inc., the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Aleris Corporation, a global supplier of aerospace and automotive rolled aluminum products, for approximately $2.6 billion including the assumption of debt. Aleris has been an important supplier... Read more →


Researchers from the University of Cambridge, with colleagues from Argonne National Laboratory in the US and Diamond Light Source, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, UK, have identified a group of materials—niobium tungsten oxides—that could be used to make even higher power batteries. The researchers, led by Professor Clare Grey, found... Read more →


Nemaska Lithium (earlier post) reported that project construction and planning are on schedule at both its mine location and the electrochemical plant. I am pleased that we are progressing according to plan and that we are on track to start producing spodumene concentrate in the second half of 2019 with... Read more →


West Virginia University (WVU) researchers are opening a new facility to capture rare earth elements (REEs) from acid mine drainage (AMD) from coal mining. Through a collaborative research and development program with the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), WVU is opening the Rare Earth Extraction... Read more →


Engineers at the University of California San Diego have shed new light on the atomic-level mechanism of the sulfur embrittlement of nickel, a classic problem that has puzzled the scientific community for nearly a century. The discovery also enriches fundamental understanding of general grain boundaries that often control the mechanical... Read more →


Researchers from the United States Steel Corporation (USS) recently used neutrons at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source (earlier post) to better understand the properties of hydroformed AHSS and how it responds to residual stress introduced during manufacturing. In an SAE International technical paper, the research team reported on... Read more →


Argonne Oleo Sponge for cleaning oil spills successful in real-world conditions off California coast

The Oleo Sponge, a patent-pending technology to clean oil spills invented at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, performed successfully in an experiment conducted off the coast of Southern California. The test, funded by the Palo Alto-based Anthropocene Institute, was meant to validate Oleo Sponge in a... Read more →


Hyundai CRADLE, Hyundai Motor Company’s corporate venturing and open innovation business, is investing in Ionic Materials, a privately held battery materials developer based in Massachusetts, to advance the development of battery technology and improve EV performance with solid-state battery innovation. Ionic Materials is a materials technology company developing advanced materials... Read more →


Roskill: predominance of lithium production shifting to mineral vs brine, driven by volume requirements of EVs

Roskill Information Services forecasts that the lithium industry will need to add nearly 100kt of new lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) production per year by 2027 to keep up with demand driven by the global transition to electric vehicles. Global lithium resources have increased significantly over recent years, driven by a... Read more →


Researchers at ORNL, in partnership with FCA US and Nemak USA, have developed a new suite of aluminum-based alloys that could give automakers a boost in achieving ambitious fuel economy goals. (Earlier post.) The aluminum-copper-manganese-zirconium alloys—ACMZ—were developed in just under four years, lightning speed when it comes to developing a... Read more →


Chemical engineers at Rice University and Pennsylvania State University have shown that combining machine learning and quantum chemistry can save time and expense in designing new catalysts. Their study is published in the journal Nature Catalysis. Single-atom catalysts offer high reactivity and selectivity while maximizing utilization of the expensive active... Read more →


A international team of researchers, led by Lancaster University in the UK and Jilin University in China, reports the first organically synthesized sp‐sp3 hybridized porous carbon, OSPC‐1. The new carbon shows electron conductivity, high porosity, the highest uptake of lithium ions of any carbon material to‐date and the ability to... Read more →


Researchers from Hokkaido University and their colleagues in Japan and Taiwan have more than doubled the ability of a material to transform wasted heat into usable electricity by significantly narrowing the space through which spread electrons move, according to a new open-access study published in the journal Nature Communications. It... Read more →


Army researchers have developed a novel, structurally-stable, aluminum-based nanogalvanic alloy powder that, when combined with water or any water-based liquid, reacts to produce on-demand hydrogen for power generation at room temperature without chemicals, catalysts or externally supplied power. These patent-pending powders produce hydrogen at a rate that currently is one... Read more →


Roskill: refined lithium supply expected to treble to 900kt by 2027, driven by use in batteries

Growth in the consumption of lithium accelerated in 2017 by more than 10% on 2016 levels to reach 211,000t lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), according to a new report by Roskill. The lithium-ion battery industry has been, and will continue to be, the main catalyst for growth; it accounted for close... Read more →


The new Advanced Metal Processing Center (AMPC) has opened at Brunel University London. The new center provides a boost for manufacturers to work with Brunel on large-scale research and development activity, enabling innovations such as novel structures for lightweight car parts to make the leap from the lab to full-scale... Read more →


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will build more models using a new type of super high formability (SHF) steel that combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions while protecting occupants. (Earlier post.) Nissan is the world’s first carmaker... Read more →


Volvo Cars announced its ambition that from 2025, at least 25% of the plastics used in every newly launched Volvo car will be made from recycled material. Volvo Cars also urged auto industry suppliers to work more closely with car makers to develop next-generation components that are as sustainable as... Read more →


Leading steel and mining company ArcelorMittal has begun construction of new premises at its site in Ghent, Belgium, to house a new installation which will convert carbon-containing gas from its blast furnaces into bioethanol. The technology in the gas conversion process, which utilizes microbes that feed on carbon monoxide to... Read more →


Hydro-Québec grants an operating license and partners with Nouveau Monde Graphite to develop materials used in lithium-ion batteries

Hydro-Québec (HQ) and Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) recently signed a license and a research and development agreements concerning the processing of graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries. This collaboration is intended to enable NMG to commercialize battery material technologies developed by HQ over the past 30 years, helping to position... Read more →


Researchers, led by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, have used a polymer-folding mechanism to develop a new and versatile kind of solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) that currently offers proton conductivity faster than Nafion by a factor of 2, the benchmark for fuel cell membranes. As reported in a... Read more →


Novelis, the leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, plans to invest approximately $180 million to double its automotive aluminum body sheet capacity at its Changzhou facility in China. The company will begin expanding its existing facility in 2018 and be fully operational by 2020, helping key traditional automakers and electric... Read more →


Salar de Uyuni in the Andes in southwestern Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat (10,582 km2 / 4,086 mi2) and holds the world’s largest known deposit of lithium. The Bolivian state is creating a value chain to use the deposits of this raw material for industrial purposes. The state-owned... Read more →


Roskill: graphite prices could push higher on tightening markets for batteries & electrodes

Synthetic graphite electrode prices rose nine-fold through the first three quarters of 2017, increasing from US$1,748/t in January 2017 to a high of US$16,309/t in September, according to Roskill Information Services. Despite some fallback during the winter months, prices remained above US$15,600/t through February and March 2018. Spot prices were... Read more →


Hydro-Québec grants an exploitation license and partners with Nouveau Monde Graphite to develop materials for Li-ion batteries

Hydro-Québec (HQ) and Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) have signed a license and a research and development agreements respecting the processing of graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries. The partners hope that this collaboration will enable NMG to commercialize battery material technologies developed by HQ over the past 30 years. The... Read more →


Rio Tinto and Alcoa announce world’s first carbon-free aluminum smelting process; Apple assist; Elysis JV to commercialize

Rio Tinto and Alcoa Corporation announced a revolutionary process to make aluminum that produces only oxygen as a by-product, eliminating all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process. In Canada alone, use of the technology could eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,... Read more →


DOE to award $68.5M for advanced vehicle technologies research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $68.5 million for early-stage research of advanced vehicle technologies. (DE-FOA-0001919) This new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) seeks research projects to address priorities in the following areas: batteries and electrification; materials; technology integration and energy efficient mobility systems; energy-efficient commercial off-road... Read more →


At WCX18: SAE World Congress Experience earlier this month, ArcelorMittal and Honda unveiled the world’s first outer and inner door ring system to better balance strength and performance while removing additional weight from the vehicle. The partners co-engineered the system for the 2019 Acura RDX. The inner door ring comprises... Read more →


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 →