VW subsidiary PowerCo & Umicore launch battery joint venture
The Volkswagen Group’s new battery subsidiary PowerCo and the Belgian materials technology group Umicore have established a joint venture for cathode and prematerial production in Europe. From 2025, the joint venture is to supply PowerCo’s European battery cell factories with key materials.
Umicore opens cathode material plant in Poland
The materials technology and recycling group Umicore has opened its first European plant for the production of cathode materials for electric car batteries in Nysa, Poland. In the following years, the plant is to be expanded to up to 200 GWh.
Canadian Government funds 6,000 EV charging stations
Canada has announced funding for 6,000 EV chargers as part of a series of announcements during the national EV Week. Investments total CAD 45 million (nearly €34Mn), with local governments and companies such as Hydro Québec or Shell Canada benefitting from the funds.
Umicore invests $1.2 in battery materials plant in Ontario
The Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore is investing C$1.5 billion ($1.2 billion) to build its first factory in North America for the mass production of cathode and precursor materials for electric vehicle batteries. This is to be built in the community of Loyalist in the Canadian province of Ontario.
Umicore & Idemitsu Kosan join solid-state battery race
Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore and Japan’s energy company Idemitsu Kosan have agreed to develop high-performance materials for solid-state batteries jointly. Umicore will bring its expertise in cathode active materials (CAM) and banks on Idemitsu Kosan’s know-how in solid electrolytes.
ACC places major cathode order with Umicore
Materials technology and recycling group Umicore and the Automotive Cells Company (ACC) battery cell joint venture between Stellantis, Total and Mercedes-Benz have signed a long-term supply agreement for cathode materials in Europe.
Umicore signs recycling agreement with ACC
The materials technology and recycling group Umicore has signed an agreement with the battery cell joint venture Automotive Cells Company (ACC) of Stellantis, Total and Mercedes-Benz for battery recycling services for the needs of the ACC pilot plant in Nersac, France.
Solid Power fuses with holding company for IPO
US solid-state battery specialist Solid Power, backed by Ford and BMW, announced its IPO. For the targeted listing on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol SLDP, Solid Power is merging with SPAC company Riverstone Holdings LLC’s Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III.
Blockchain solution to tracking ethically sourced cobalt
The metals and mining companies CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Glencore as well as the battery material supplier Umicore are testing the blockchain solution “Re|Source” as part of a pilot project to “track responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the electric car”.
BASF and Umicore sign patent agreement
BASF and Umicore have entered into a non-exclusive patent agreement covering a broad range of cathode materials and their precursors. The cross-licensing deal covers more than 100 patent families filed in Europe, the USA, China, Korea and Japan.
Research project starts for electric ships in the EU
A group of 13 partners from the entire value chain of ship electrification have launched ‘Current Direct’, a research project that aims, among other things, to reduce the cost of battery-electric propulsion systems in shipping and build an ‘Energy as a Service’ platform.
Audi and Umicore use recycled cobalt and nickel
Audi and Umicore have completed the test phase of their research cooperation. According to this, more than 90 per cent of the cobalt and nickel from e-tron batteries can be recycled. Starting in January, the recycled materials will be used in new battery cells.
Umicore to supply Samsung SDI with NMC
Umicore and Samsung SDI have signed a strategic agreement to supply nearly 80,000 tonnes of NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) cathode material from 2020. The supply will come from Umicore plants in various regions, most of them initially from Korea.
ECO COM’BAT: High power battery by Fraunhofer
As part of the EU-funded ECO COM’BAT, ten partners from industry and research have been working on more sustainable high-voltage lithium-ion batteries since April 2016. As the project coordinator Fraunhofer ISC now communicates: apparently with success.
EU battery cell production: First funding in June
The German BMBF, that is the Ministry for Education, plans to decide on the location of a research factory for cell production on June 7. Moreover, the German government is also planning to pay the first half of the money for the planned cell production factories this June as well.
Audi and Umicore develop closed loop battery recycling
Audi and Umicore are developing a closed loop for the recycling of high voltage batteries from electrified vehicles, which can be reused again and again. Particularly valuable materials, including cobalt, nickel and copper, will be stored in a resource bank.
TU Delft, Umicore, Furion, PC-Aeros.
Self-healing and charging roads: A team at the Technical University of Delft has come up with asphalt able to charge electric cars and to repair itself and is ready to put it on trial. The road material is pervaded with conductive steel fibres and bacteria capable to fill small cracks in its surface when warmed. EV charging shall work whenever cars come to a halt. The scientists estimate, the useful asphalt would cost just 25 percent more than a conventional road.
Umicore is to scale up production to tend to the increasing demand for Li-ion batteries. The Brussels-based company intends to raise 300m euros until 2019 to extend its production of NMC cathode materials. Some of the money will be invested in Cheonan, South Korea and Jiangmen, China, where the first production lines are to start moving at the end of 2018.
Hybrid bike with Wankel engine: French Furion created a hybrid motorcycle concept equipped with a 654cc Wankel rotary engine and a 40 kW electric motor. Thanks to this pairing, the Furion M1 shall lasts for up to 400km with low fuel consumption. If the board will consider mass production, is unclear.
newatlas.com, motorcyclenews.com, paultan.org, youtube.com
Solar maiden flight: PC-Aeros introduced its solar aircraft last year along with the plan to take it on a stratospheric flight by 2018. The first test has been done now albeit with lower aspirations. The solar plane was airborne for seven minutes at a modest height of 300 metres. Further trials are to follow.
Zee.Aero, NECOBAUT, BASF, Umicore, Suzuki.
Google founder takes off: Start-up Zee.Aero announced its plans for the creation of an electric powered aircraft about a year ago. Backed by Google founder Larry Page and based in the Silicon Valley, the company now published footage of its prototype vertically taking off and cruising over a lake. The Kitty Hawk Flyer resembles a flying motorcycle that can carry one person without a pilot licence. It is equipped with eight electric motors and supposed to enter production still this year.
theverge.com, futurism.com, electrek.co
8 x higher capacity: Researchers of the EU project NECOBAUT (New concept of metal-air battery for automotive application based on advanced nanomaterials) developed a new way to enlarge the storage capacity of EV batteries. Based on a reaction of iron and air, the technology is said to store eight times more energy than conventional batteries and could thus provide a low cost alternative to Li-ion packs.
Patent disputes settled: BASF sued Umicore in the States for patent infringement two years ago (we reported). A resolution has now been reached, that sees BASF licensing Umicore to make, use, sell, distribute and import the disputed nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathodes for Li-ion batteries.
Hybrid AWD scooter by Suzuki: A new patent of the Japanese company shows an AWD scooter equipped with a petrol engine as well as a hub-mounted electric motor in the front. As it is with all patents, this is no prove, that this hybrid vehicle will really reach production.
Bosch, Gigafactory, Umicore, ARPA-E.
World premiere: Bosch premiered its electric axle drive system (eAxle) at the motor show in Detroit. The modular system fits multiple platforms and brings together powertrain components in one compact system.
Gigafactory details: Elon Musk spilled some beans at an investors’ event at the Gigafactory 1, such as that a recycling unit is currently under construction. It will use materials from old Tesla batteries and use them in new cells. The Gigafactory also makes due without any energy from conventional sources. It instead gets its power for a solar roof, said to be seven times the size than any other solar roof currently installed.
Patent purchase: Company Umicore has bought patents for three Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) cathodes from 3M. The cathodes are the reference in a wide range of lithium ion rechargeable batteries, including in the automotive sector. The patents cover South Korea, China, Japan, Europe and the U.S. and are valid between 2021 and 2024.
New subsidy programme in the U.S.: As part of its programme “Circuits,” the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has earmarked up to 20m dollars in subsidies for the development of a new class of efficient, lightweight, and reliable power converters based on wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors. These will be used in electric cars, hybrids and charging stations.
Paragon, Subaru, Umicore, Efficient Drivetrains.
Paragon plant in China: The factory in Kunshan will initially focus on air quality sensors. The company’s sub-brand Voltabox will assemble battery systems for Chinese electric (commercial) vehicles from Q1 2016. The proprietary lithium ion battery cells will be produced exclusively for its sub-brand Voltabox by a specialist manufacturer in China.
Subaru plans carefully: The manufacturer will introduce its first plug-in hybrid by 2018, but will sell it only where emission regulation requires it. Fuel cells are a future option as well, German paper Die Welt reports. In general, Subaru intends to cap its sales at 1m vehicles annually to keep its niche position.
autonews.com, welt.de (FCV, in German)
Share transfer: Umicore wants to sell all of its shares of beLife, a producer of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material, to its joint venture partner Prayon. The latter just recently formed a JV with Chinese Pulead to manufacture and sell lithium iron phosphate (LFP).
Plug-in truck: Efficient Drivetrains presents a new plug-in truck with 40 miles of electric range. The retrofitted Class-4 JAC truck also runs on Compressed Natural Gas to increase range to a total of 300 miles and was realised together with Greenkraft, CALSTART and the California Energy Commission.