This Week in Batteries – Week 21

Welcome to this week’s battery roundup. The most important news surrounding battery technology and production from Europe and beyond.

BMW Partner Solid Power Unveils New Battery Platform

Louisville-based Solid Power just presented details on its all-solid-state platform technology and the different battery designs it enables. The possibility to use different anodes (silicon or lithium metal) and cathodes (NMC or other commercially mature materials, conversion type) allow for an adaption to different applications. The company says it will be able to manufacture cobalt- and nickel-free all-solid-state batteries in the future and reduce cathode active material cost by 90%. Recently, Ford, BMW, and Volta Energy have upped their stake in the company by $ 130 million and appointed members to the board of directors. Solid Power plans on starting production by 2026.

Oxis Energy Files for Bankruptcy

The British company Oxis Energy which was set on manufacturing solid-state batteries by the end of this year just declared it would no longer be able to continue operations.

Oxis Energy’s pouch cell. Credit: Oxis Energy

Only last month Oxis Energy stated it “will deploy Solid-State Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) cell and battery systems to its clients and partners worldwide by Autumn 2021 for use in trials”. The company had already found a partner in aircraft manufacturer Bye Aerospace who presented its new electric plane only days after Oxis Energy’s announcement. Oxis Energy now wants to sell its patents which include 224 granted and 106 pending patents on electrolyte chemistry, cell manufacturing, and other solid-state battery areas.

Nissan and UK Government Advance Plans for Gigafactory

Japanese automaker Nissan is currently in advanced talks to build a battery plant in the UK. The Gigafactory could produce batteries for around 200,000 EVs each year. The possible location for the factory already became public last year: Sunderland, a city in the North East of England where Nissan already has a vehicle production plant. When construction would start, however, is unclear. The company plans on making the UK its biggest production hub outside Japan. It could be the second Gigafactory in the UK after Britishvolt will open its gates in 2023 with a capacity of 35GWh. Recently, rumors of a Tesla battery factory in the UK have resurfaced after Elon Musk visited a site. Prior to the announcement of Giga Berlin, the UK had also been in talks for a possible location for the battery plant.

Rio Tinto Wants to Recycle Batteries in Serbia

British mining company Rio Tinto, which I covered in my overview of European lithium projects, just announced its collaboration with Slovakian battery company InoBat on a ‘cradle to cradle’ battery manufacturing and recycling value chain in Serbia. Rio Tinto plans on mining lithium at the Serbian Jadar mine in the future. The mine was often criticized for the effects it would have on the environment.

Rio Tinto might start mining and producing lithium carbonate in Serbia in 2026 Credit: Rio Tinto

Therefore, a recycling plant is included in Rio Tinto’s future plans for this mine, which is the first site where lithium mining is set to begin in Serbia. The company estimates it could produce around 55,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium bicarbonate at that site alone. At the moment, Rio Tinto is conducting a feasibility study. Construction of the facilities might start next year and take up to four years.

”This collaboration with InoBat will enable an important exchange of knowledge and information on lithium processing, recycling, and technologies for the next generation of batteries.”

Marnie Finlayson, Managing Director Borates and Lithium, Rio Tinto

Recommendation: A Deep Dive into Li-ion Batteries

If you’re interested in the structure and operating principle of batteries, or if you’re new to the topic, I can recommend an amazing deep dive into batteries at different scales by Adrian Yao. A very informative and well-illustrated post.

This is not a complete list of news from this week but the press releases and articles I found the most interesting. Let me know if I missed anything important.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@BatteryBayEU), where I post some of the news before they end up in my weekly roundup. I’m looking forward to learning about your involvement or interest in the industry and chatting about everything batteries.

Also, please feel free to use the comment section below to leave any feedback or suggestions!

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