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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


Researchers at the University of Surrey (UK), with colleagues from the University of California, Irvine and Johns Hopkins University, have developed a new material that is as stiff as metal but flexible enough to withstand strong vibrations (damping). The researchers believe their new material could usher in a new wave... Details →


Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have used magnets recovered from used computer hard drives in an electric motor. The permanent magnets made from rare earth elements were reused without alteration in an axial gap motor, which can be adapted for use in electric vehicles and industrial machinery. In... Details →


Aluminum industry says NHTSA/EPA draft rule assumptions on lightweighting in small cars false

Last week, Mario Greco, chairman of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG) and director of global marketing of automotive for Arconic, testified on behalf of the aluminum industry before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during a public hearing held in Dearborn, Michigan.... Details →


Ford approaches 1 billion pounds of aluminum recycled; 900M pounds back into Ford products

Ford’s Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan today makes America’s best selling vehicle—the Ford F-150—and started Ford’s industry-leading closed-loop aluminum recycling innovation (earlier post), which was then expanded to other F-150 manufacturing facilities including Dearborn Stamping, Kansas City Truck and Buffalo Stamping. Closed-loop recycling means that as hoods, tailgates, doors and... Details →


DOE awards $1.2M to four vehicle and hydrogen projects under High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced $1.2 million in funding for four projects—two with the Vehicle Technologies Office and two with the Fuel Cell Technologies Office—under the High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program. This program aims to utilize the high performance computing (HPC) of DOE’s national laboratories to help... Details →


DOE awards MIT researchers $1.9M to advance electrolytic production of copper; direct production of copper wire

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded MIT associate professor of metallurgy Antoine Allanore a $1.9-million grant to run larger scale tests of a new one-step, molten electrolysis process (earlier post) to produce copper from sulfur-based minerals—the main source of copper. One of Allanore’s primary goals is to make... Details →


Scientists at KU Leuven, University of Lubumbashi reveal the health risks of cobalt mining in DR Congo

Demand for cobalt has been on the increase due to its many applications. The metal is a crucial component of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and electric cars. Around 60% of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the mineral-rich Katanga Copper belt, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Researchers... Details →


SJTU team makes progress in strain-hardening in high-strength metals by incorporating nanofillers

A team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), with colleagues at Tsinghua University and Brown University, have developed a means to regain the strain-hardening ability of high-strength metals by incorporating of extrinsic nanofillers at grain boundaries. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal NANO Letters. Grain... Details →


Microfractures in metal alloys, though impossible to see with the naked eye, can easily spread when exposed to water or hydrogen and lead to major problems in structures such as bridges, electrochemical and nuclear plants and hydrogen storage containers, leading to failures and expensive repairs. In a recent study involving... Details →


Data and analytics company GlobalData forecasts that the demand for lithium needed for the production of lithium-ion batteries for use in EVs will more than double from 26.7kt in 2018 to 58.3kt in 2022. According to GlobalData, the global EV market is expected to grow at a substantial CAGR of... Details →


The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory announced the availability of a new manufacturing technology that simplifies the manufacture of nanomaterials in high volumes. Known as Flame Spray Pyrolysis (FSP), the technology offers significant benefits over traditional methods used to manufacture the particle-based substances that are critical to... Details →


KIT team finds wear occurs at first and always takes place at same point

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) recently showed that wear occurs at the first and always takes place at the same point of the material. Their findings can help develop optimized materials and reduce consumption of energy and raw materials. The researchers presented results of two studies... Details →


The US Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is awarding nearly $3 million to 13 projects to stimulate the use of high performance supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing. The US DOE national laboratories have some of the most significant high performance computing (HPC) resources available,... Details →


Small, light and electrically-powered vehicles will likely be core to city and regional commuter transport in future, alongside public transport. As part of the Next Generation Car (NGC) project, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed an innovative concept for small vehicles:... Details →


PRIME Coalition invests in three startups: electrochemical reduction of CO2, lightweight materials; Li extraction

PRIME Coalition, a 501(c)(3) public charity funding tech start-ups that fight climate change, closed three new investments: Opus 12 in Berkeley, CA; Mallinda in Denver, CO; and Lilac Solutions in Oakland, CA. With these investments, PRIME has now funded nine start-up companies through 11 financing rounds mobilizing more than $17... Details →


Teijin acquires composites company Inapal to expand European automotive business

Teijin Limited has acquired Inapal Plasticos SA (Inapal), a leading automotive composite supplier in Portugal. The shares of Inapal will be purchased by Teijin Holdings Netherlands B.V., the Teijin Group’s holding company in the Netherlands. The acquisition was completed at the beginning of August 2018, following the satisfactory completion of... Details →


Roskill: LG Chem locks-in more raw material to meet future Li-ion battery demand

South Korean lithium-ion battery (LIB) cell manufacturer LG Chem recently announced it will increase cell manufacturing capacity to 90 GWh in 2020 from a previous forecast of 70 GWh. Assuming 100% of output was to be NMC532, 90 GWh would require around 100kt of cathode, containing 40kt nickel, 22kt cobalt,... Details →


High growth in demand for lithium batteries is spurring three-fold growth in mine production of lithium over the next four years, with 86kt of new lithium metal capacity coming on stream, according to data and analytics company GlobalData. After moderate growth in lithium supply between 2010 and 2017 of 6.4%... Details →


Sandia researchers engineer most wear-resistant metal: platinum-gold alloy

Sandia’s materials science team has engineered a platinum-gold alloy believed to be the most wear-resistant metal in the world. It’s 100 times more durable than high-strength steel, making it the first alloy, or combination of metals, in the same class as diamond and sapphire, nature’s most wear-resistant materials. Sandia’s team... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →