In January 2019, the Chinese market saw 253% more nickel deployed in passenger EV batteries than the same month the year prior, according to a model-by-model build-up using Adamas Intelligence’s EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker. The accelerated deployment of battery nickel in China, due primarily to an ongoing... Read more →

Researchers identify cause of degradation for NMC nickel-rich cathode materials

A team of scientists including researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have identified the causes of degradation in nickel-rich layered cathode material (LiNi1‐x‐yMnxCoyO2) (NMC) for lithium-ion batteries, as well as possible remedies. Their findings, published in the journal Advanced Functional... Read more →

Rechargeable lithium metal batteries with increased energy density, performance, and safety may be possible with a newly-developed, solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI), according to Penn State researchers. The SEI is key to the stabilization of lithium metal anodes for rechargeable batteries; however, the SEI is constantly reforming and consuming electrolyte with cycling.... Read more →

BASF Ultramid being used for fuel cell components for Mercedes GLC F-CELL

In close cooperation with Joma-Polytec and Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH, a subsidiary of Daimler AG, BASF’s engineering plastic Ultramid has successfully been used to manufacture a number of fuel cell system components. This solution is being used as standard in the new Mercedes GLC F-CELL, which combines a fuel cell... Read more →

Adamas Intelligence: China became a net-importer of several rare earth oxides (or oxide equivalents) in 2018

According to a new report from Adamas Intelligence, China became a net-importer of several rare earth oxides (or oxide equivalents) in 2018. The report, Rare Earth Recap 2018: Global Production, Trade and Prices, provides an overview of global primary and secondary production by country, oxide (or oxide equivalent) and value... Read more →

The High Performance Computing for Manufacturing Program (HPC4Mfg) announced the recipients of $1.2 million in federal funding for four public/private projects aimed at solving key manufacturing challenges in steelmaking and aluminum production through supercomputing. Source: ArcelorMittal. The summer 2018 HPC4Mfg call for proposals, the sixth overall for the program, had... Read more →

Williams Advanced Engineering has developed a pair of innovative technologies that promise a step-change in the affordability of composite materials. Known as 223 and Racetrak, these technologies offer comparable performance to existing composites solutions, but with a range of additional benefits, and at a cost that brings them within reach... Read more →

Researchers at Wuhan University in China have developed a new electrochemical cell, PANI/LixMn2O4, for selective recovery of Li+ ions from brine water with high impurity cations (K+, Na+, Mg2+, etc). The cell can simultaneously extract LiCl from a simulated brine with a high average current efficiency of 95%, energy consumption... Read more →

Teijin Limited’s automotive composites specialty groups have developed a multi-material composite automotive door concept that maintains required crash specifications while reducing overall weight by 35% when compared to a conventional steel door. A prototype of this unique approach, developed jointly by Teijin Composites Innovation Center (TCIC) and Continental Structural Plastics... Read more →

The share prices of more than a dozen rare earth materials (REE) companies in China are up 20% or more year-to-date (through February 26, 2019) on the back of strong profits in 2018 and a promising long-term outlook for value-added rare earth materials, such as NdFeB permanent magnets, according to... Read more →

In a commentary in the journal Joule, a team from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, suggests that graphdiyne (GDY)—a two-dimensional carbon allotrope that complements the properties of prevailing carbon materials—shows intrinsic advantages as an electrochemical interface. It draws much attention for its applications in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs),... Read more →

Researchers use internal strain to optimize metal catalysts for applications such as fuel cells

A team from Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University and the University of California at Irvine has developed a new strategy to tailor and to optimize the reactivity of metal catalysts in applications such as fuel cells. The application of their method could help cut down on expensive metals needed in... Read more →

A team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown by modeling that the wafer cost of an emerging Ga2O3 wide bandgap semiconductor can be more than 3-times lower compared to SiC. This lower cost of the Ga2O3 wafers should lead to less-expensive high-performance power electronic devices in the... Read more →

The production of an electric vehicle currently generates significantly more CO2 than that of cars with a combustion engine—around 150% on average. From a lifecycle view, this additional carbon burden is offset compared to the combustion engine vehicle during the use phase, as EVs rack up zero-emission miles that eventually... Read more →

ITA: Tin in Li-ion batteries could represent significant new use

The International Tin Association (ITA) released a new report detailing its latest research on potential new market opportunities for tin in lithium-ion batteries. ITA concluded that if tin does gain market share, lithium-ion batteries could grow to represent a significant new tin use in the 2025-2030 timescale—up to 60,000 tonnes... Read more →

In the UK, steelmakers and university experts will partner in a 7-year, £35-million (US$45-million) research network called SUSTAIN. SUSTAIN is led by Swansea University, partnered with the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick, and involves more than twenty partners across the UK steel industry: companies, trade bodies, academic experts and research... Read more →

DOE to provide $30M for new data science approaches for energy-relevant chemistry and materials research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide $30 million (DE-FOA-0002082) for new research projects using modern data science approaches to accelerate discovery in chemistry and materials sciences. Data science combines computer science, applied mathematics, and statistics with domain science to discover new knowledge from often complex (such as unstructured)... Read more →

Understanding the behavior of composite materials is important to advancing their design, since attempts to further strengthen or stiffen them can sometimes produce counterproductive results. A $545,000 grant over three years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) aims to answer some of the central questions about the microstructural mechanisms that... Read more →

In 2018, global deployment of nickel, graphite, copper, LCE, aluminum and cobalt by passenger vehicle cell suppliers increased by 75% to 99% versus the year prior, according to data from Adamas Intelligence’s “EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker”. These growth rates are particularly remarkable when considering that global BEV... Read more →

A study by a team from the University of Toronto and Ford R&D in Dearborn has found that lightweighting is an effective solution that could provide important near-term GHG emission reductions especially during the next 10–20 years when the fleet is dominated by conventional powertrain vehicles. a) Annual US. light-duty... Read more →

Researchers at MIT have created a new technique that allows the observation of a metal surface during hydrogen penetration—the process that results in embrittlement of the metal. The new way of observing the embrittlement process as it happens may help to reveal how the embrittlement gets triggered, and it may... Read more →

by Alex Kimani for It’s been a decade of lows for commodities after posting 7 declines in 11 years, but we’ve seriously underestimated lithium. It’s back with a vengeance in 2019. The commodities market endured yet another annus horribilis, with just four commodities—natural gas, uranium, cocoa and wheat—recording any... Read more →

Engineers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have developed a way to weld the super-strong but lightweight aluminum alloy known as AA 7075. Developed in the 1940s, AA 7075 long held promise for use in automobile manufacturing, except for one key obstacle. Although it’s nearly as strong as steel... Read more →

Rice team awarded $3.3M ARPA-E OPEN+ grant to convert methane into carbon nanotubes and hydrogen

Rice University researchers have won a $3.3-million Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) OPEEN+ grant to develop a method to convert natural gas into carbon nanotubes for materials that can replace metals in large-scale applications. The goal is to save energy and stem carbon dioxide emissions from metal manufacturing... Read more →

If ship hulls were coated with special bo-inspired high-tech air trapping materials, up to 1% of global CO2 emissions could be avoided according to a new study by researchers from the University of Bonn together with colleagues from St. Augustin and Rostock. According to the study, ships could save up... Read more →

Argonne’s HyMag technology boosts usable magnetic flux density of permanent magnets by 10-30%

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have developed a new magnet technology that could benefit virtually any technology that draws power from electric motors or generates power from generators. HyMag significantly increases the usable magnetic flux density of a permanent magnet by 10 to... Read more →

Ford, Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem, RCS Global launch blockchain pilot to address concerns in strategic mineral supply chains; cobalt to start

Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem and RCS Global will use blockchain technology to trace and validate ethically sourced minerals in an effort to support human rights and environmental protection while helping infuse more transparency into global mineral supply chains. The group, which includes participants at each major... Read more →

Mazda Motor Corporation, working separately with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and JFE Steel Corporation, has developed the world’s first cold-stamped vehicle body parts made from 1,310 MPa-class high-strength steel. The parts are used in Mazda’s new-generation Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which will underpin upcoming models starting from the all-new Mazda3.... Read more →

Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan are proposing the selective dismantling of certain components from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) to increase the recycling potential of precious metals (PMs). In a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they report that, in Japan, totals of 33–53% of PMs in ELVs... Read more →

Rio Tinto has successfully deployed AutoHaul, establishing the world’s largest robot and first automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network. (Earlier post.) The average return distance of these trains is about 800 kilometers with the average journey cycle, including loading and dumping, taking about 40 hours. Since completing the first loaded... Read more →

Bolivia and ACISA found joint venture to extract and industrialize lithium from residual brine; €300M investment

Bolivian state-owned company Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) and the German company ACI Systems Alemania GmbH (ACISA) have formed a joint venture: YLB-ACISA. The aim of the JV is the sustainable extraction and industrialization of lithium as well as other raw materials from Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt... Read more →

Xtalic Corporation, a leader in providing 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. Founded by the head of the Department of Material Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute... Read more →

An international team of researchers has developed a manganese hydride molecular sieve that can be readily synthesized from inexpensive precursors and demonstrates a reversible excess adsorption performance of 10.5 wt% and 197 kgH2m-3 at 120 bar at ambient temperature with no loss of activity after 54 cycles. The team projects... Read more →

Engineers seeking to significantly improve the efficiency and performance of electric motors could benefit from using aluminum matrix composites (AMCs), according to research from the Innovate UK ‘Make it Lighter with Less’ R&D competition. Metal Matrix Composites are metallic materials that have been reinforced with a secondary high-performance material. The... Read more →

BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics launch cross-industry project to support sustainable cobalt mining

As part of a cross-industry initiative, the BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics have launched a joint cobalt pilot project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A contract to this effect between the companies, together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, will aim... Read more →

ADEME, France’s Environment and Energy Management Agency, carried out a study with IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) on the dynamics of lithium supply and demand, based on different scenarios for the electrification of the global car fleet by 2050. The lithium market continues to grow; in 2015, the market grew by... Read more →

JRC: Europe must take steps to boost supply of cobalt for EV batteries

The coming electric vehicle boom will significantly increase the demand for cobalt in the EU and globally. As a result, demand is expected to exceed supply already in 2020 and the EU must take steps to boost supply and curb demand without hindering the growth in electric vehicles, according to... Read more →

Albemarle signs exclusivity agreement with Mineral Resources for 50/50 lithium JV in W. Australia; $1.15B deal

Albemarle Corporation, a leader in the global specialty chemicals industry, signed an Exclusivity Agreement (Agreement) with Mineral Resources Limited in relation to the potential creation of a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to own and operate the Wodgina hard rock lithium mine and ultimately develop an integrated lithium hydroxide operation at... Read more →

AP&C—a GE Additive company— will begin production of aluminum alloy F357 powder in Q1 2019 with customer deliveries expected from April 2019. Aluminum F357 alloy is increasingly in demand from customers particularly from the aerospace and automotive sectors. It is known to have good weldability with high strength and toughness... Read more →

A team led by Kanazawa University in Japan has developed a cleaner method for the recycling of several rare earths (REs) such as yttrium (Y) and europium (Eu) used as phosphors in fluorescent lamps (FLs). End-of-life FLs are a potentially huge source of REs, but harsh and polluting processes are... Read more →

Novelis plans Customer Solution Centers to innovate alongside automotive customers

Novelis Inc., the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, plans to establish a global network of Customer Solution Centers (CSCs) to accelerate collaborative innovation between Novelis and automakers for the next generation of vehicle design. Novelis will work with OEMs to determine how to maximize lightweight, high-strength aluminum to... Read more →

BASF and Nornickel partner to supply cobalt and nickel battery materials

BASF and Nornickel have established a strategic cooperation to meet the growing needs for battery materials in electric vehicles. BASF has selected Harjavalta, Finland, as the first location for battery materials production serving the European automotive market. The plant will be constructed adjacent to the nickel and cobalt refinery owned... Read more →

TenCate Advanced Composites, a leading global developer and manufacturer of advanced composite materials, and Aston Martin announced a technical partnership for the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar program. Unveiled in March 2017 as the AM-RB (Aston Martin - Red Bull Racing) hypercar, and subsequently named Valkyrie, the mid-engined hypercar features a... Read more →

Carbon fibers have already beeen demonstrated as high-capacity Li-ion battery anodes, opening the way for their use as structural electrodes—i.e., simultaneously carrying mechanical load and storing electrical energy. Now, researchers led by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have linked the carbon fiber (CF) microstructure to the lithium insertion mechanism and... Read more →

Novelis breaks ground on automotive aluminum facility in Changzhou, China; $180M investment to double capacity in 2020

Novelis, the global leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, broke ground on the expansion of its automotive aluminum manufacturing facility in Changzhou, China. The $180-million investment will double the facility’s production capacity of heat-treated aluminum sheet by 100,000 metric tons in order to better meet the growing demand for automotive... Read more →

Researchers at the National University Of Science And Technology MISIS (NUST MISIS) in Russia have proposed a technology that can double the strength of composites obtained by 3D printing from aluminum powder, and advance the characteristics of these products to the quality of titanium alloys: titanium’s strength is about six... Read more →

Bolivian state enterprise Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) and the German company ACI Systems Alemania GmbH (ACISA) officially sealed their cooperation on the extraction and industrialization of lithium from Salar de Uyuni. Juan Carlos Montenegro, Head of YLB, and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schmutz, CEO of ACISA, signed a partnership agreement... Read more →

Cabot Corporation partnering with Argonne, SAFT in DOE-funded project for development of low-cobalt cathodes

Cabot Corporation, a leading global specialty chemicals and performance materials company, has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to participate in an advanced vehicle technologies research project that is part of a large, $80-million funding package (earlier post). Cabot will leverage its novel process technology to contribute... Read more →

NSF awards Saratoga Energy grant to advance production of carbon nanotubes from CO2 for batteries closer to market

Saratoga Energy has won a National Science Foundation grant to scale up its breakthrough process for generating low-cost, top quality carbon nanotubes from carbon dioxide for use in making high-performance Li-ion batteries, such as those used in electric vehicles, grid storage, and military and aerospace applications. The $723,000 Phase II... Read more →

Critical Materials Institute takes major step toward printed anisotropic magnets

The US Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) has taken a major step toward printed, aligned anisotropic magnets via additive manufacturing processes. The Energy Innovation Hub manufactured hybrid nylon-bonded neodymium-iron-boron and samarium-iron-nitrogen magnets using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The research is... Read more →