From pv world magazine
University of California Researchers and academics from four US National Laboratories have developed a way to make lithium-ion battery cathodes without using cobalt, a rare metal that is expensive and linked to unethical mining practices.
In a recent article by Naturethe scientists describe how they overcame the thermal and chemical-mechanical instabilities of cathodes composed essentially of nickel by mixing several other metallic elements.
“Using a technique we call ‘high entropy doping’, we were able to fabricate a cobalt-free layered cathode with extremely high heat tolerance and stability over repeated charge and discharge cycles,” said said researcher Huolin Xin. “This achievement resolves long-standing safety and stability issues with high-nickel battery materials, paving the way for large-scale commercial applications.”
High-nickel cathodes present their own challenges, such as poor heat tolerance, which can lead to oxidation of battery materials, thermal runaway, and even explosion. Although high nickel cathodes accept larger capacitances, the volume stress from repeated expansion and contraction can lead to poor stability and safety issues.
Researchers sought to address these issues through complex high-entropy doping using HE-LMNO, an amalgam of transition metals magnesium, titanium, manganese, molybdenum, and niobium inside the structure, with a subset of these minerals used on its surface and interface with other battery materials. Xin and his colleagues used a combination of synchrotron X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and 3D nanotomography instruments to determine that their cobalt-free cathode exhibited an unprecedented volumetric change of zero upon repeated use. The highly stable structure is able to withstand over 1,000 cycles and high temperatures, making it comparable to cathodes with much lower nickel content.
Ford opened a $5.6 billion electric vehicle and battery complex at BlueOval City in Stanton, Tennessee. The company’s largest and most advanced automotive production complex, which is a joint venture with Korea’s SK Innovation’s SK On, is expected to lay the groundwork for Ford to reach an annual operating rate of 2 million electric vehicles. worldwide by the end of 2026.” The structural steel is erected less than a year after Ford and SK On announced their $5.6 billion investment to build an all-new, groundbreaking electric truck and advanced batteries for future Ford and Lincoln vehicles in West Tennessee,” the company said. The nearly 6-square-mile campus will create about 6,000 new jobs when production begins in 2025.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says electric vehicle sales are on track to hit a record high this year, taking them to 13% of global light vehicle sales. He said sales of electric vehicles had doubled globally last year to account for almost 9% of the total car market. He also noted that electric vehicles and lighting are the only two components still fully on track for their 2030 milestones in the IEA’s “Net Zero by 2050” scenario. Despite the prospects for electric vehicles, the IEA said they are “not yet a global phenomenon. Sales in developing and emerging countries were slow due to higher purchase costs and a lack of availability of charging infrastructure.
LG Energy Solutions (LGES) has strengthened its cobalt and lithium supply chain in North America by forging comprehensive collaborations with key suppliers in Canada. The latest provisions are in line with the South Korean battery maker’s medium-to-long-term strategy focused on the growing North American market for electric vehicles, as well as the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act. They predict that electric vehicles will have to have 80% of critical materials sourced from the country or a country with which the United States has a free trade agreement in order to access a $7,500 tax credit. LGES has signed a binding term sheet with Electra, guaranteeing the supply of 7,000 tonnes of cobalt sulphate for three years from 2023. In addition, it has signed two non-binding agreements with Avalon and Snow Lake to guarantee a supply stable in lithium. Under the terms of the agreements, Avalon will initially supply LGES with lithium hydroxide (11,000 tonnes per year) for five years, beginning in 2025. LGES will also receive lithium hydroxide from Snow Lake (20,000 tonnes per year). ) for 10 years once production begins in 2025.
elli, a subsidiary of Volkswagen that manages the group’s charging and energy-related activities in Europe, the electricity grid operator Elia Group and its startup, re.alto, have signed an agreement to accelerate the integration of EVs into the electrical network. Over the next few years, signatories will identify possible barriers to the integration of electric vehicles and explore how to showcase its benefits, for example by developing demonstrators. The MoU includes four exploration pillars: price signals/incentives, market design, reliable data, data security and secure connectivity. “Using the electric vehicle battery as a mobile power bank offers a triple benefit: firstly, the climate benefits, as renewable energy can be stored and therefore used more efficiently. Second, the power grid benefits, as the car can contribute to grid stability, and third, the customer can generate additional revenue through vehicle-to-grid services,” said Elke Temme, CEO of Elli. “To explore the benefits of this consumer-centric approach, this cooperation with Elia Group is crucial for us.”
Sunwoda plans to build a new battery production plant in Yiwu, China’s Zhejiang province, with an annual capacity of 50 GWh. According to a statement from the stock exchange, the battery maker will invest around 3 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in the new plant to produce cells, modules, packs and complete battery systems. The construction will take place in two phases, with an initial annual capacity of 30 GWh and an additional 20 GWh at a later date. The initial investment will be around €1.8 billion, followed by an additional €1.2 billion for the second phase.
Nio shipped its first battery swap station from Hungary to Germany. The Chinese electric vehicle maker announced its factory in Hungary in July, as part of its effort to build 1,000 battery swapping stations outside of China by 2025. The Hungarian factory will serve as a manufacturing hub , service and R&D for Nio electrical products in Europe.
The Climate Group launched a new zero-emission road transport leadership commitment, EV100+. Five globally recognized companies – IKEA, Unilever, JSW Steel Limited, AP Moller-Maersk and GeoPost/DPDgroup – are founding members of the initiative, which aims to get the heaviest and most polluting vehicles off the roads today. Together they have pledged to take their fleet of vehicles over 7.5 tonnes, known as Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles (MHDV), to zero emissions by 2040 in OECD markets, China and India. . The new EV100+ complements the EV100 initiative founded by the Climate Group in 2017, in which more than 120 companies worldwide have pledged to convert their fleets of more than 5.5 million vehicles to electric by 2030.
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