Stora Enso’s pilot facility for producing bio-based carbon materials from lignin has started operations. This follows the company’s €10-million investment announced in 2019. (Earlier post.) Pilot production of Lignode by Stora Enso, wood-based carbon for batteries, is currently being ramped up. Applications include electric vehicles and consumer electronics as well... Read more →


Eastman collaborating with USAMP and PADNOS on fully circular recycling study in automotive market

Eastman is collaborating with the United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP) and automotive recycler PADNOS for a concept feasibility study to demonstrate a closed-loop project to recycle automotive-industry mixed plastic waste in the automotive supply chain. USAMP is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC... Read more →


BHP to supply nickel to Tesla; focus on supply chain sustainability

BHP will supply Tesla Inc. with nickel from BHP’s Nickel West asset in Western Australia; BHP says that Nickel West is one of the most sustainable and lowest carbon emission nickel producers in the world. Nickel is a key metal used in Tesla’s battery technology. Demand for nickel in batteries... Read more →


Rio Tinto advances studies for underground mining at Kennecott copper with $108M investment; testing underground BEVs

Rio Tinto has approved a $108-million investment in underground development to enable early orebody access and undertake orebody characterisation studies for underground mining at the Kennecott copper operations in the United States. The investment builds on $25 million approved in early-2020 to complete a pre-feasibility study to determine the viability... Read more →


DOE awards $125M to bring clean energy technologies to market

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding a total of $125 million to support 110 clean energy technology projects (DE-FOA-0002381). Within that total, DOE’s Office of Energy and Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will award $57.6 million to 53 projects by 51 small businesses and entrepreneurs with phase II... Read more →


Group14 Technologies, a global provider of silicon-carbon composite materials for lithium-ion markets, and SK materials, one of the world’s top manufacturers of special gases and industrial gases, are forming a joint venture to build a factory for lithium-silicon battery materials in South Korea. The joint venture is the latest development... Read more →


Overview of EV material selection for chassis and suspension

Writing in Light Metal Age, Andrew Halonen of Mayflower Consulting provides an overview of weight optimization considerations for electric vehicles through a combination of design and material selection. Halonen is president of Mayflower, a lightweighting consultancy that provides strategic marketing, market research, and business development for high tech clients. Halonen... Read more →


BMW i Ventures has invested in Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. (NFW), a creator of all-natural, plastic-free alternatives to animal- or petrochemical-based materials such as leathers, foams, and textiles. The financing round will enable the company to scale from the batch processing of materials to commercial roll-to-roll production. NFW has developed... Read more →


MIT study finds materials risk exposure increases significantly with vehicle electrification

Modern automobiles are built with more than 2,000 different compounds comprising 76 different elements. Now, a study by a team from MIT’s Materials Systems Laboratory, with support from Ford, provides insight into how electrification is changing vehicle composition and how that change is driving supply risk vulnerability. The study, published... Read more →


LG Chem to invest $5.3B in battery materials by 2025; part of $8.8B investment in new growth engines

LG Chem will invest 6 trillion KRW (US$5.3 billion) in battery materials by 2025, including efforts in anode materials, separation membranes, cathode binders, radiant adhesives, carbon nanotubes, and more, according to LG Chem CEO Hak Cheol Shin. The investment is part of a 10 trillion KRW (US$8.8 billion) investment in... Read more →


Japan-based Chiyoda Corporation has been awarded a $2.7-billion engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI)—a mineral mining company affiliate of US-based Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) and MIND ID Indonesia’s Mining Industry—for a copper smelter in Gresik, East Java, Indonesia. The new plant will include smelting and converting furnaces,... Read more →


Steelmaker ArcelorMittal signs MoU with the Spanish Government supporting €1B investment in decarbonization technologies; DRI and EAF

ArcelorMittal signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Spanish Government that will see a €1-billion investment in decarbonization technologies at ArcelorMittal Asturias’ plant in Gijón. The investments will reduce CO2 emissions at ArcelorMittal’s Spanish operations by up to 4.8 million tonnes, which represents approximately 50% of emissions, within the... Read more →


Missouri S&T professor: Green energy increases the need for mining and metals production

Clean energy may mean less mining for coal, but it also means opening or expanding mines to unearth minerals such as cobalt for use in alloys and batteries, tellurium for solar cells and semiconductors, and germanium for transistors in electronic devices. That’s according to Dr. Michael Moats, professor and interim... Read more →


Alumobility, a non-profit organization focused on solutions to advance the adoption of aluminum automotive body sheet, announced the results of its technical study demonstrating affordable lightweighting through the proposed conversion of a mass-produced C-segment SUV passenger door from steel to aluminum. The results of the study show the new aluminum... Read more →


BASF, Daimler, Fairphone & Volkswagen Group funding partnership for sustainable lithium mining in Chile

Several companies have initiated a “Responsible Lithium Partnership” aiming to work towards responsible natural resource management, including lithium, in Chile’s Salar de Atacama. This cross-industry partnership is funded at its inception by BASF, Daimler AG, Fairphone, and Volkswagen Group. The partnership intends to foster a dialogue among local stakeholders, generating—and... Read more →


Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have found a way to increase simultaneously the strength and ductility of an alloy by introducing tiny precipitates into its matrix and tuning their size and spacing. The precipitates are solids that separate from... Read more →


Orion Engineered Carbons joins HiQ-CARB consortium; scaling up conductive acetylene black for Li-ion cathodes

Orion Engineered Carbons S.A., a global supplier of specialty and high-performance carbon black, has joined the HiQ-CARB consortium to provide the lithium-ion battery industry with sustainable and high-performance carbon additives. Seven leading European industry players, research institutes, and universities are collaborating on the European Union-funded HiQ-CARB project to design and... Read more →


Toyocolor Co., Ltd., the colorants and functional materials division of Japan’s Toyo Ink Group, will supply the North American and European operations of SK Innovation, a South Korean lithium-ion (li-ion) battery manufacturer, with Toyocolor’s Lioaccum series of conductive carbon nanotube (CNT) dispersions. Lioaccum dispersions are used as the conductive additive... Read more →


Russia-based Halmek Lithium has selected Metso Outotec’s patented lithium hydroxide process for production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide at its greenfield plant in the Tula region in Russia. The order value has not been disclosed. Battery-grade lithium hydroxide Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery consists of the engineering and key equipment supply... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Bath have developed a graphene oxide (GO)/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) aerogel (GPA) weighing just 2.1 kg m-3—making it the lightest sound insulation ever manufactured. Over the 400–2500 Hz range, the reported average sound absorption coefficients are as high as 0.79, while the average sound transmission losses... Read more →


Albemarle establishes battery materials innovation center; lithium foils as thin as 3 to 5 μm

Specialty chemicals company Albemarle Corporation opened a Battery Materials Innovation Center (BMIC) at its Kings Mountain, North Carolina, site. The BMIC is expected to be fully operational in July 2021 and will support Albemarle’s lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and advanced energy storage materials growth platforms. The BMIC has been equipped... Read more →


General Motors has agreed to form a strategic investment and commercial collaboration with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) to secure sustainably produced lithium from the CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development, located in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in California. This lithium will be produced from geothermal brine through a... Read more →


Nature editorial: environmental and human costs of Li-ion technology must be addressed quickly

An editorial in the journal Nature calls on policy makers, industry leaders and researchers to mitigate quickly the environmental and human costs of Li-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries currently are the indispensable enabling technology for electric vehicles and the electric grid, the latter due to the need to store energy from... Read more →


Battery metal prices have recovered strongly in the first half of the year, incentivizing new projects to come online. China controls the battery chemical industry, with the biggest market share for all of the five main battery materials: lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt and graphite. Diversifying the global supply chain would... Read more →


Constellium supplying aluminum solutions for Audi e-tron GT EV

Constellium SE has expanded its longstanding partnership with Audi to supply advanced aluminum solutions for the Audi e-tron GT. Electric vehicles require strong, yet lightweight solutions to optimize range and prioritize safety. Constellium provides ASI-certified aluminum Auto Body Sheet solutions for closures and inner parts, as well as extrusion-based components... Read more →


Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have created a lithium-metal battery that lasts for 600 cycles, far longer than other reported results. It can be fully charged and discharged 600 times before it dies. A paper on the work is published in the journal... Read more →


Researchers working on the Faraday Institution project on the recycling of lithium-ion batteries (ReLiB) at the Universities of Leicester and Birmingham say they have solved a critical challenge in the recovery of materials used in electric vehicle batteries at the end of their life, enabling their re-use in the manufacture... Read more →


BASF to build new battery recycling prototype plant at site of cathode materials plant in Germany

BASF will build a battery recycling prototype plant in Schwarzheide, Germany, at the site of its cathode active materials (CAM) plant. The prototype recycling plant will allow for the development of operational procedures and optimization of technology to deliver superior returns of lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese from end-of-life lithium-ion... Read more →


BrineMine Project at KIT: responsible extraction of energy, raw materials, and drinking water from geothermal wells

In the BrineMine research project, researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, together with their partners, are developing strategies and methods for extracting mineral resources directly in geothermal power plants. Here, not only energy and minerals are to be extracted, but also drinking water. Important process steps have already been successfully... Read more →


Arkema launches new renewable PVDF range from crude tall oil for Li-ion batteries

Arkema has launched its new sustainable Kynar PVDF range. These new grades will claim 100% renewable attributed carbon derived from crude tall oil (CTO) bio-feedstock, according to a mass-balance approach. Kynar CTO PVDF grades using the mass balance approach under the ISCC+ certification process will be produced first in Arkema’s... Read more →


Rio Tinto, Schneider Electric partner to drive decarbonization

Rio Tinto, a leading global mining and metals company, and Schneider Electric signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a collaboration to develop a circular and sustainable market ecosystem for both companies and their customers. This multi-product partnership will see Schneider Electric use responsibly sourced materials produced by Rio Tinto.... Read more →


Ford, Ford Fund to support, promote responsible mineral sourcing pilot to empower, assist women; DRC copper & cobalt

Ford is working with its international nonprofit and grantmaking partners to support and promote a pilot program that will empower women working in the copper and cobalt supply chains in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The region has emerged as a key resource for critical metals that have become... Read more →


The energy density of traditional lithium-ion batteries is approaching a saturation point that cannot meet the demands of the future—in electric vehicles, for example. Lithium metal batteries can provide double the energy per unit weight when compared to lithium-ion batteries. The biggest challenge hindering their use is the formation of... Read more →


SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have now produced hydrogen-reduced sponge iron on a pilot scale. The technological breakthrough within the HYBRIT (earlier post) initiative cuts about 90% of the emissions in connection with steel production and is a decisive step on the road to fossil-free steel. The test production was carried... Read more →


In Russia, JSC Rusatom Overseas (a company of ROSATOM); Metalloinvest, a leading manufacturer and supplier of iron ore products and hot briquetted iron (HBI) in the world market, and one of the regional producers of high-quality steel; and Air Liquide signed a memorandum of understanding to study the possibility of... Read more →


The BMW Group has created a closed-loop material cycle for tungsten used in drill and milling bits for industrial machinery used in producing cars; the company is collecting old drill and milling bits at its plants in Germany and Austria for recycling. The secondary tungsten obtained in this way will... Read more →


Audi researching industrialization of chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste from manufacturing

As part of the THINKTANK Industrial Resource Strategies, researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have been working with Audi on the pilot project “Chemical Recycling of plastics from automotive manufacturing.” The results of the project indicated that the chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste is both technically feasible... Read more →


KIST team inhibits dendrite growth using semiconducting passivation layers

Korean researchers have used semiconductor technology to improve the safety of Li-ion batteries. A research team from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) led by Dr. Joong Kee Lee of the Center for Energy Storage Research has succeeded in inhibiting the growth of dendrites by forming protective semiconducting... Read more →


Volvo Cars is teaming up with Swedish steel maker SSAB to jointly explore the development of fossil-free, high-quality steel for use in the automotive industry. The collaboration makes Volvo Cars the first carmaker to work with SSAB and its HYBRIT initiative (earlier post), the steel industry’s most ambitious and advanced... Read more →


Rio Tinto has partnered with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to study whether hydrogen can replace natural gas in alumina refineries to reduce emissions. Rio Tinto will conduct a $1.2-million feasibility study, equally funded with ARENA through a $580,000 grant, into using clean hydrogen to replace natural gas in... Read more →


Unifrax, a global manufacturer of high-performance specialty materials, plans to build its first large-scale SiFAB (silicon fiber anode material) manufacturing line at its north central Indiana facility. SiFAB is a proprietary silicon anode battery technology developed by Unifrax which enables significantly greater energy density in lithium-ion battery systems than prevailing... Read more →


NAWA Technologies has begun manufacturing its Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube (VACNT) material at its Aix-en-Provence facility in southern France. NAWA is showing that, for the first time, VACNT can be grown simultaneously on both sides of a substrate in a process that is fully scaleable. NAWA’s key applications for VACNT... Read more →


Roskill: surge in electrodeposited copper foil projects to meet projected EV demand

The first half of 2021 has seen a tidal wave of announcements of new electrodeposited copper foil mill projects, as well as second- and third-phase expansions at existing mills, according to market consultancy Roskill. The majority of the projects are targeted at making copper foil for lithium-ion batteries to meet... Read more →


Canada-based NEO Battery Materials Ltd.—which intends to become a silicon anode materials supplier to the EV industry—entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South Korean silicon powder manufacturer, Korea Metal Silicon Co., Ltd (KMS) to pursue strategic opportunities for the advancement of low-cost, scalable silicon anodes through leveraging the... Read more →


Schlumberger New Energy and Panasonic Energy of North America, a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, have entered into a collaboration agreement for the validation and optimization of the innovative and sustainable lithium extraction and production process to be used by Schlumberger New Energy at its Neolith Energy pilot... Read more →


Conventional Li-ion batteries work by cationic redox, when a metal ion changes its oxidation state as lithium is inserted or removed. Within this insertion framework, only one lithium-ion can be stored per metal ion. Lithium-rich cathodes, however, can store much more. Researchers attribute this to the anionic redox mechanism—in this... Read more →


Biden Administration reports highlight supply chain vulnerabilities for batteries, critical materials

The Biden Administration has released reports assessing the vulnerabilities of four critical supply chains: semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging; large capacity batteries, such as those for electric vehicles; critical minerals and materials; and pharmaceuticals and advanced pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Four federal agencies took the lead in authoring each of the... Read more →


Desktop Metal, a provider of mass-production additive-manufacturing (AM) solutions, has qualified the use of 4140 low-alloy steel for the Production System platform, which leverages patent-pending Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) technology designed to achieve the fastest build speeds in the metal additive manufacturing industry. Desktop Metal is the first and only... Read more →


Minmetals reports successful test of new direct lithium extraction process

China-based Minmetals Group subsidiary Minmetals Salt Lake announced the successful testing of an improved direct lithium extraction process. The process, developed by Xi’an Lanshen New Material Technology, uses aluminum hydroxide as an adsorbent to separate lithium from other impurities. R&D investment totalled RMB44.8 million (US$7.0 million) and a 1kt-scale pilot... Read more →


Researchers discover new approach to stabilize high-nickel cathode materials; valence gradient

High-nickel-content cathodes offer high capacity, a chemical property that could power electric vehicles over much longer distances than current batteries support. Unfortunately, the high nickel content also causes these cathode materials to degrade more quickly, creating cracks and stability issues as the battery cycles. In search of solutions to these... Read more →