The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and its licensee Moselle Technologies, have won two Cooperative Research and Development Awards (CRADA) and a 2021 DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office award to advance the process of using magnetic nanoparticles for capturing strategically important elements from water sources. The patent-pending technology, developed at... Read more →


Nano One to co-develop niobium-coated battery cathode materials with CBMM

Nano One Materials Corp. is a clean technology company with a patented low-carbon-intensity process for the production of low-cost, high-performance cathode materials used in lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) Nano One now has entered into an advanced lithium-ion battery cathode materials coating development agreement with CBMM, the global leader in the... Read more →


With the start of production of the Audi Q6 e-tron electric SUV in Ingolstadt in 2022, Audi is introducing the second-generation steel coil lubrication Prelube II. This new product will help to reduce significantly the amount of lubricant required for protecting against corrosion and machining the metal sheets in the... Read more →


Rio Tinto has successfully developed and tested a steel powder designed for 3-D printing applications at its Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Québec. The water-atomized steel powder delivers mechanical properties superior to conventional metal manufacturing techniques, paving the way for advances in the use of... Read more →


TMRC consortium awarded second phase of DOE contract targeting production of mixed rare earth oxides from PA coal waste

Texas Mineral Resources Corp. (TMRC), an exploration company targeting the heavy rare earths and a variety of other high-value critical elements and industrial minerals, announced that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technical Laboratory (NETL) has selected a TMRC-led consortium to continue a contract targeting the production of rare... Read more →


Deep-seabed mining robot Patania II successfully reconnected

A prototype deep-seabed mining robot that had become uncoupled from a cable connecting it to a surface vessel (earlier post) has been successfully recovered from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Patania II—Global Sea Mineral Resources’ (GSR’s) purpose-built prototype nodule collector—is currently being trialed in 4500 m water depth in... Read more →


Lithium carbonate’s premium over lithium hydroxide in the Chinese domestic market, seen in the first quarter of 2021, is beginning to narrow, as shifting cathode chemistry demand continues to support hydroxide prices in China while carbonate gains soften amid limited spot transactions, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Chinese lithium hydroxide... Read more →


South Korea’s POSCO, one of the world’s top steel producers, is carrying forward a transition of its business structure to focus on “Green & Mobility”, based on various automotive capabilities in the group. In the transition phase of the megatrend represented by low-carbon and eco-friendly environment, POSCO group should go... Read more →


Supplies of critical minerals essential for key clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles and wind turbines need to pick up sharply over the coming decades to meet the world’s climate goals, creating potential energy security hazards that governments must act now to address, according to a new report by... Read more →


BASF and Umicore enter into a patent cross-license agreement covering cathode materials and precursors

BASF and Umicore have entered into a non-exclusive patent cross-license agreement covering a broad range of cathode active materials (CAM) and their precursors (PCAM), including chemistries such as nickel cobalt manganese (NCM), nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA), nickel cobalt manganese aluminum (NCMA) and lithium rich, high manganese high energy NCM (HE... Read more →


The lower the frictional resistance of an aircraft in the air, the lower its fuel consumption. Using nature as a role model, the aviation industry has been intensively researching ways to reduce aerodynamic drag for many years. Now Lufthansa Technik and BASF have made a breakthrough as part of a... Read more →


Direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology company Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. (EnergyX) has secured commitments of $20 million in financing. The company said that the funding makes it the highest-valued direct lithium extraction technology company on the market. In 2020, EnergyX announced a pilot partnership with Orocobre Limited (earlier post) to... Read more →


DOE awards $19M to 13 initiatives in fossil-fuel areas to produce rare earth elements and critical minerals

The US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $19 million for 13 projects in traditionally fossil-fuel-producing communities across the country to support production of rare earth elements and critical minerals essential to the manufacturing of batteries, magnets, and other components important to the clean energy economy. Facing persistent shortages in domestic... Read more →


Roskill: Indonesia to overtake China as top refined nickel producer this year

Materials supply chain intelligence company Roskill expects Indonesia to become the world’s largest producer of refined nickel this year, pushing China to second place. As recently as 2014, Indonesia produced only 24kt of refined nickel. In 2020, Indonesia produced 636kt of refined nickel, most of which was nickel pig iron... Read more →


Pensana plans $125M rare earth separation facility in England

UK-based Pensana plans to build, subject to funding, a US$125-million sustainable rare earth separation facility at the Saltend Chemicals Park (“SCP”) in Humber, UK. Targeted production is around 12,500 annualized tonnes of rare earth oxides, including 4,500 tonnes of magnet metal rare earth oxides (NdPr), which would represent approximately 5%... Read more →


The price of copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose to $9,990/t on 29 April, marking a ten-year high and closing in on the record high LME price of $10,147.50/t on 14 February 2011. In its new Copper Monthly Insights, Roskill said that the ongoing surge in copper pricing... Read more →


SABIC’S new dielectric film performs at 150 °C, improving the efficiency of inverter modules for EVs

SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, introduced its new 5-micron ELCRES HTV150 dielectric film for high-temperature, high-voltage, professional-grade capacitor applications, such as traction inverters for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles (xEV). This new film, featuring high-heat performance up to 150 °C, surpasses the temperature and voltage... Read more →


Lomiko Metals and Critical Elements Lithium Corporation have entered into an option agreement that gives Lomiko the right to acquire up to a 70% interest in the Bourier project. The Bourier project consists of 203 claims for a total ground position of 10,252.20 hectares (102.52 km2) in a region of... Read more →


A pre-prototype seabed polymetallic nodule (earlier post) collector being tested on the Pacific Ocean floor by Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) has become detached from its lifting cable on its final dive and is sitting on the ocean bed 4.5 kilometers beneath the surface. GSR, the in-house deep-sea exploration and... Read more →


Showa Denko launches Al alloy board with high-heat conductivity and high strength for on-board bus bar

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has started full-scale marketing of its ST60-HSM aluminum alloy board, which has high heat conductivity and high strength, for use as on-board bus bar. Bus bars are used to conduct electricity, and many bus bars are made of copper. A bus bar can conduct more electric... Read more →


Nano One Materials Corp., a company with a patented low-carbon-intensity process for the production of low-cost, high-performance cathode materials used in lithium-ion batteries, provided a progress update on a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with a multi-billion-dollar Asian cathode material producer announced in August 2020. The first two phases of the... Read more →


Tirupati Graphite plc, a fully integrated specialist graphite producer and graphene developer with operations in Madagascar and India, has opened its second mine in Madagascar at the Vatomina Project, where it remains on track to start commissioning the first 9,000 tpa processing plant in Q2 2021. Madagascar offers weathered, low-cost... Read more →


Researchers from the University of Houston, with colleagues at the University of São Paolo in Brazil, have demonstrated how copper-resistant bacterium from a copper mine in Brazil convert CuSO4 (copper sulfate) ions into zero-valent Cu (metallic copper). An open-access paper on their research is published in Science Advances. Gracioso et... Read more →


Orocobre Limited and Galaxy Resources have entered into a binding Merger Implementation Deed (MID) under which Orocobre will acquire 100% of the shares in Galaxy. The resulting company will have a A$4-billion (US$3.1-billion) market capitalization, making it the fifth-largest by capitalization. The merged entity will also be the fifth-largest lithium... Read more →


A new $2-million project at the University of Michigan aims to develop easier and more cost-effective ways to make recyclable lightweight automotive sheet metals. “The Clean Sheet Project” seeks to develop new design tools and establish best practices for material producers and carmakers with a focus on recycling from start... Read more →


ELYSIS has selected the Alma smelter, operated by Rio Tinto in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec, for the first installation and demonstration of its inert anode technology at a commercial size of 450 kiloamperes (kA)—a common capacity for modern, full-scale smelters. ELYSIS is a joint venture company, led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa,... Read more →


LG Chem has launched the largest carbon nanotube (CNT) manufacturing plant in Korea. The company is actively targeting the rapidly growing CNT market, widely used as the material for cathodes in electric vehicle batteries. LG Chem announced that the 1,200 metric tons (MT) expansion of Yeosu CNT 2nd Plant—representing an... Read more →


UK-based Nyobolt, the developer of ultra-fast charging niobium-based battery technology, has expanded its global footprint with the opening of its first US office. Backed by Microsoft investor David Marquardt, former CEO of DuPont Marc Doyle, and leading technology investors, William and Andy Matthes, the expansion comes two months after the... Read more →


SVOLT Energy Technology, a global advanced technology company and spin-off of Chinese automobile manufacturer Great Wall Motors, is the first to begin commercialization of lithium-ion batteries (LIB) utilizing metallic thin-film separator technology from Soteria Battery Innovation Group (BIG). SVOLT cells made with Soteria aluminum metallized film demonstrate life after nail... Read more →


Johnson Matthey partners with Finnish Materials Group for second eLNO cathode plant; deals with Nornickel and SQM

Johnson Matthey (JM) is partnering with Finnish Minerals Group to support development of its previously announced second eLNO cathode materials (earlier post) commercial plant, which will be in Finland, powered solely by renewable energy and incorporating an innovative effluent treatment solution. Johnson Matthey also has signed a term sheet for... Read more →


Group14 Technologies launches commercial manufacturing factory in US for lithium-silicon anode materials

US-based Group14 Technologies, a global provider of silicon-carbon composite materials for lithium-ion markets, announced the launch of its first commercial-scale 27,000-square foot US manufacturing factory to meet demand for higher-performing lithium-silicon anode materials. The new factory, located at Group14 HQ in Woodinville, Washington, also will house a new R&D center,... Read more →


Baker Institute: China positioning itself to dominate world’s copper supply

China is positioning itself to dominate the global supply of copper, a material in high demand as the world transitions to alternative energy systems, according to experts from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. “If China’s dominance of rare earth element supplies is the global energy transition’s ‘elephant in... Read more →


Scientists from Tohoku University have developed a new fluorine-free calcium (Ca) electrolyte based on a hydrogen (monocarborane) cluster that could potentially realize rechargeable Ca batteries. An open-access paper on the work is published in Nature’s Scientific Reports. High-energy-density and low-cost calcium (Ca) batteries have been proposed as ‘beyond-Li-ion’ electrochemical energy... Read more →


Volvo Group and SSAB to collaborate on the world’s first vehicles of fossil-free steel

Volvo Group and steel-maker SSAB have signed a collaboration agreement on research, development, serial production and commercialization of the world’s first vehicles to be made of fossil-free steel. Volvo plans already this year to start the production of concept vehicles and components from steel made by SSAB using hydrogen. Plans... Read more →


Piedmont Lithium Limited released an updated Global Mineral Resource estimate (MRE) for its flagship Piedmont Lithium Project in North Carolina. The total MRE for the project is 39.2 Mt at 1.09% Li2O (Figure 1), with 55% of the MRE currently classified in the Indicated category. The Mineral Resource estimate is... Read more →


Clean Energy Ventures, a $110-million venture capital firm investing in early-stage climate tech startups, is leading the investments in two battery startups: one in the upstream (Nth Cycle) and one in the downstream (Volexion). Nth Cycle extracts cobalt, nickel and other critical battery metals from discarded batteries, e-waste and mining... Read more →


Hydro exploring hydrogen opportunities for internal demand and external market

Hydro is exploring the potential for developing and operating hydrogen facilities to meet large internal demand as well as serving an external market, leveraging the company’s industrial and renewable power expertise. We see a substantial potential for industrial hydrogen consumption. Taking a developer and operator role in the hydrogen sector... Read more →


Rio Tinto has commenced production of battery-grade lithium from waste rock at a lithium demonstration plant at the Boron mine site in California. The demonstration plant is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at Boron to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value... Read more →


Cornell researchers led by Lynden Archer, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering and the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering, have been exploring the use of low-cost materials to create rechargeable batteries that will make energy storage more affordable. These materials could also provide a safer and more... Read more →


Wildcat Discovery Technologies, a technology company that uses proprietary high-throughput methods to develop new battery materials rapidly, announced that Dr. Peter Lamp, General Manager of the Battery Cell Technology Group at BMW AG, has joined its Board of Directors. The appointment of Dr. Lamp to the Board of Wildcat comes... Read more →


Researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have developed a continuous electrically-driven membrane process which successfully enriches lithium from seawater samples of the Red Sea by 43,000 times (i.e., from 0.21 to 9013.43 ppm) with a nominal Li/Mg selectivity >45 million. They precipitated lithium... Read more →


Rice University scientists and their colleagues at C-Crete Technologies have optimized a process to convert waste from rubber tires into graphene that can, in turn, be used to strengthen concrete. The research led by Rice chemist James Tour and Rouzbeh Shahsavari of C-Crete is detailed in the journal Carbon. Concrete... Read more →


Researchers at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have developed a membrane technology for the energy-efficient and economic separation of hydrogen from natural gas. This technology makes it possible for the two substances to be routed through the national natural gas grid together and then isolated from one another at their final destination. This... Read more →


Australia-based AVZ Minerals Limited has secured a strategic, long-term offtake partner agreement with Yibin Tianyi Lithium Industry Co., Ltd. for the supply of spodumene concentrate (SC6) from the Manono Lithium and Tin Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Spodumene—a lithium mineral derived from pegmatite rock—is known for its... Read more →


Roskill: Myanmar crisis set to disrupt rare earth supply availability

On 1 February 2021, a coup d’état in Myanmar brought down the civilian government and imposed military rule. The coup and resulting state of emergency quickly resulted in concerns in China over metal and mineral supplies from its neighbor. Myanmar is the world’s third-biggest miner of tin and in 2020... Read more →


BMW Group, WWF Germany, Volvo Group back moratorium on deep-sea mining

The BMW Group has launched an initiative to protect the deep seas in cooperation with the WWF Germany. In a joint declaration, the BMW Group, WWF and other companies—including the Volvo Group—undertake, as a precautionary measure, not to use deep-ocean minerals or finance deep-sea mining until comprehensive scientific research into... Read more →


The current US lithium stock is almost entirely imported, with only 1% of US lithium supply being sourced domestically. Furthermore, traditional sources of lithium are environmentally destructive. This combination of rapidly expanding global demand and lack of a safe, domestic supply has created an urgency to develop a safe, domestic,... Read more →


To support its accelerated expansion of e-mobility in the coming years, the BMW Group will source lithium from a second leading supplier, US-based Livent. The value of the multi-year contract will total around €285 million. Livent will supply the lithium directly to the BMW Group’s battery cell manufacturers from 2022... Read more →


LANXESS enters battery chemistry business; Li-ion electrolyte production in Leverkusen, Germany

Germany-based specialty chemicals company LANXESS is entering the battery chemistry business. Starting next year, the Group will produce electrolyte formulations for lithium-ion batteries for the Chinese company Tinci. Guangzhou Tinci Materials Technology Co. (Tinci) is a leading global manufacturer of lithium-ion battery materials. The high-performance electrolyte formulations from Leverkusen will... Read more →


Australia-based Bass Metals has signed a binding term sheet to acquire Blackearth SA which holds an option to acquire the san Jorge Lithium Project located in Catamarca province, Argentina. UBS is now forecasting an 11-fold increase to 2030 in the amount of lithium required, as well as a 7-fold increase... Read more →