Funding News, Recycling Chemistry, Manufacturing Partnerships, More

By Battery Power Online Staff

October 23, 2023 | New research on car battery recycling using Vitamin C as a leaching agent, Lyten sets up camp in Luxembourg, Aqua Metals and 6K Energy launch closed-loop supply chain, new power cell for e-mobility applications, and more. 

University of Birmingham researchers have announced a new approach for recycling the highest value component of end-of-life electric car batteries, the battery cathode, that is less energy-intensive and uses less hazardous chemicals than current recycling methods. Their novel method uses organic acid such as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) as a leaching agent and has been tested on cathode material from a first-generation Nissan Leaf battery cell that had powered 40,000 miles of driving. The results of this testing demonstrated that ascorbic acid selectively leaches low-value electrode material (lithium manganese oxide) and leaves the higher value nickel and cobalt-based material in a solid state, from which it can be directly recycled. The new method has considerable potential for simplifying battery recycling, which currently concentrates on recycling elements by dissolving battery cathodes using strong acids and relies on the initial shredding of the batteries, which mixes components and creates a jumble of chemistries that can only be separated by chemical processes. The work was published in ChemRxiV.

Green Cubes Technology has announced commercial availability of its Swappable Mobile Power (SMP) portfolio, including its Industrial Battery (SWIB-1000), in collaboration with Bretford Manufacturing. Bretford Manufacturing, a pioneer in mobile device charging carts and AV Carts, has successfully co-developed a power solution with Green Cubes for various applications for its Cordless Explorer Display Carts, effectively removing power cords, extending run-times and maintaining user safety.  The partnership extends to unique scenarios where the swappable and outdoor-rated capacities are vital, such as remote training and practice sessions, outdoor meeting rooms, cordless digital signage, emergency response setups and more. The Swappable Industrial Battery is a 24 Volt, 20 Amp-Hour, 1024-Watt Lithium Iron Phosphate battery that offers exceptionally stable voltage under load, high capacity, and power delivery in a small lightweight form factor. In addition to its ergonomic and ruggedized design, the watertight battery has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 65, optimizing it for both indoor and outdoor environments. Agency and safety approvals include UN 38.3 and IEC 62133. Press release.

Lyten has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes and the Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot to locate its European headquarters in Luxembourg. The announcement was made as part of LuxInnovation Automotive Day 2023, Luxembourg’s annual event promoting the transformation toward sustainable mobility. Lyten is working with companies in industries such as transportation, defense, aerospace, manufacturing, energy, and construction to leverage the tunability of its 3D Graphene for decarbonizing applications. Lyten recently announced its Series B fundraising round, which included $200 million investment from several Fortune 500 strategic investors—including Stellantis, Fedex, and Honeywell—to scale manufacturing and commercialize its first three product lines: Lithium-Sulfur batteries, lightweighted composites, and next generation IoT sensors. Press release.

Blackstone Private Equity, in partnership with its portfolio company Interplex, a world leader in innovative and customized interconnect and mechanical products, has announced the strategic launch of ENNOVI, a new mobility electrification solutions business that designs, develops, and engineers innovative interconnect solutions for battery, power and signal systems for the next generation of electric vehicles (EVs). The launch of ENNOVI marks the culmination of a strategic reorganization and transformation of Interplex’s core business to better serve its customers. As a new standalone company, ENNOVI will focus primarily on the automotive electrification solutions and will be led by Stefan Rustler as CEO. ENNOVI is committed to serving world’s leading EV brands and manufacturers and helping them reach an electric future faster, from anywhere in the world. The new company designs and engineers battery, power platform and signal interconnect solutions for the next generation of electric vehicles. Interplex will continue to prioritize the datacom and industrial market with high-precision mechanical solutions and busbar technologies. Through this carveout of ENNOVI from Interplex, the new business will better serve its global customer base and invest in its manufacturing and R&D sites, currently across major geographies. Press release.

Ionblox has launched its extreme fast charging lithium-silicon cells designed for electric vehicles (EVs). Leveraging the superior energy storage capability of silicon, the company’s new cells dramatically reduce charging times while extending driving range, offering EV manufacturers a significant leap in performance and efficiency. The Ionblox technology enables extreme fast charging (XFC), achieving 60% of the battery’s capacity in just 5 minutes and 80% in 10 minutes. These advancements make it possible to charge electric vehicles in nearly the same time it takes to fill up a gasoline tank, effectively eliminating one of the key barriers to EV adoption. In addition, Ionblox’s high-energy cells allow EV manufacturers to either extend the range of an EV by 30% to 50% using a similarly sized Ionblox battery pack or to reduce weight and cost with a smaller Ionblox battery pack. Ionblox’s lithium-silicon cells not only charge more efficiently but also maintain their performance over the vehicle life time. Under rigorous testing of large-format 32 Ah capacity pouch cells, Ionblox’s batteries can endure greater than 1,000 extreme fast charge cycles with minimal degradation. This is made possible using a patented pre-lithiated silicon monoxide anode, and a unique cell architecture that can be built on existing cell manufacturing equipment. Press release.

Aqua Metals and 6K Energy have announced plans to create the first truly sustainable circular supply chain in the United States for the critical minerals essential to domestic lithium battery manufacturing. Aqua Metals and 6K Energy have signed a multi-part memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering the scope of the collaboration in the coming years. This novel partnership marks a pivotal moment for decarbonization and electrification in the U.S., further enabling the nation’s ambitious goal of establishing a robust domestic supply chain for clean energy technologies. The co-located facility at 6K Energy’s PlusCAM site in Jackson, Tenn. will be the first sustainable circular supply producing low-carbon cathode active materials (CAM) for new batteries using domestically sourced end-of-life batteries and scrap materials from manufacturing partners as feedstock. Press release.

Freudenberg e-Power Systems (FEPS) has introduced its new battery pack XRANGE for the electrification of trucks and buses. With this new battery system, FEPS strengthens its positioning as one of the world’s leading suppliers of emission-neutral energy solutions for heavy-duty applications. The company will produce the new pack in their gigafactory production line in the U.S. The launch of the new XRANGE battery pack is an important milestone for FEPS on its mission to which allow end users to lower their emissions and gain independence from fossil fuels. The battery pack is designed to power a variety of heavy-duty vehicles, ranging from school and long-haul transit buses, medium-duty trucks, mining to construction applications. Long-term performance and robustness are key characteristics making XRANGE withstand the rough conditions of the above-mentioned use-cases. The design follows an easy-to-integrate solution allowing a versatile installation respecting the vehicle architecture. XRANGE comes in a fully integrated enclosure reducing the correlated work needed for the vehicle connection. FEPS will produce the pack in a state-of the art factory with a scalable capacity up to 6GWh. Press release.

China’s Henan Lingchuang Special Material Co. is installing a supersized Cold Isostatic Press (CIP) from Quintus Technologies to raise the bar for domestically produced high-quality Isostatic Graphite. The press itself is setting new standards, with its world’s- largest vessel dimension—2400 mm x 4500 mm (7.87’ x 14.7’)—along with a new energy management system that offers energy savings of more than 30% compared to conventional intensifier solutions. Lingchuang’s CIP will be equipped with a new, first-of-its-kind feature: a redesigned pressure vessel that is fully floating during pressurizing, extending the life of the guide rail system and ensuring maintenance- free operation over a very long period of time. Press release.

Innolith has announced the I-State Power Cell, a battery cell specifically designed for the most demanding e-mobility applications.  Providing best-in-class power density and burst pulse currents, the new cell will be used to drive sports and luxury battery electric vehicles (BEV), industrial vehicles and electric aviation. In an official partnership for the new cell, Innolith also announces that it will be cooperating on the development and testing of the new I-State Power Cell for electric aviation company Væridion to power electric Conventional Take-Off and Landing (eCTOL). The I-State Power Cell is based on NMC/graphite electrode technology in a full 21700 cell format, but using Innolith’s proprietary non-flammable liquid electrolyte that extends voltage cut-off to 4.6V with NMC and 5.0V with other cathode materials.  This enables the cell to deliver top end energy density of 280 Wh/kg, with rapid 3C discharge rates for constant current and long cycle life of over 800 cycles at 1C.  To power performance applications such as sports cars and e-aviation, the cell can also deliver pulse currents of 5C for 60 seconds, 8C for 30 seconds and up to 15C for 10 seconds to deliver 2700 W/kg of power.  The cell also supports fast charging from 10% to 80% SoC in 12 mins while demonstrating some of the lowest internal resistance numbers amongst 21700 cells in the market. Press release.

Arcimoto has entered into a contract manufacturing agreement with Corporation to enhance the charging capabilities of its electric vehicles (EVs), develop MUV based mobile charging solutions, and build ultra lightweight aviation batteries. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the electric vehicle industry, paving the way for faster, more efficient charging and expanding Arcimoto’s reach into the charging market. Under the terms of the contract agreement, Arcimoto will manufacture MOBIUS packs for their current and future customers. The MOBIUS packs are set to radically transform EV charging with rapid charging capabilities. Upon the successful launch and testing of the prototypes, Arcimoto plans to integrate MOBIUS technology into its production vehicles for mobile charging and achieve charging times of less than ten minutes, from zero to full charge. Press release.

Dragonfly Energy Holdings Corp. has successfully used high-purity lithium hydroxide recovered by Aqua Metals from recycled lithium-ion batteries to manufacture a lithium-based battery cell using Dragonfly Energy’s patented dry battery electrode coating technology. The successful recovery of battery-grade lithium hydroxide and cycle testing of a sustainably manufactured lithium battery cell is a significant advancement for sustainable lithium-ion battery production for the companies. The process demonstrates a potential path towards a more circular and sustainable lithium battery manufacturing industry that addresses the finite and costly nature of battery materials. Aqua Metals provided this high-purity lithium hydroxide to Dragonfly Energy, where it was used in the production of a standard CR2032 cell using the company’s patented dry powder coating process. This strategic initiative confirms that sustainably recycled materials can meet the high standards for advanced battery cell production and can be an essential part of building a circular supply chain for the domestic battery industry. Press release. Press release.

Enovix Corporation has acquired privately-held Routejade, an established Korean battery manufacturer for a total consideration of approximately 6.2 million shares of Enovix common stock and $16.5 million in cash assuming purchase of 100% of Routejade. The acquisition provides Enovix with vertical integration of electrode coating and battery pack manufacturing while adding an established lithium-ion battery business with factories in Korea, along with complementary products, customers, and suppliers. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023 and be immediately accretive. Routejade has been qualified as a supplier of coated rolls of electrodes for Enovix batteries with capacity to support the Fab2 scale-up that begins in 2024. By bringing coating capability in-house, Enovix intends to realize significant cost savings while speeding up battery development cycles as modern materials are quickly incorporated to improve energy density. Securing the coating supply chain is also intended to ensure the quality of incoming battery materials which can positively impact manufacturing yield and throughput. Press release.

Eaton has announced its new portfolio of digital solutions designed to further increase uptime, optimize performance and enhance sustainability. The platform, part of Eaton’s Brightlayer Data Centers suite, is the first in the industry to unite asset management, IT, and operational technology (OT) device monitoring, power quality metrics and advanced electrical supervision in a single, native application. Eaton’s Brightlayer Data Centers suite provides a single application to manage, monitor, and control critical site power management assets. These include uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), power distribution units (PDUs), switchgear, generators, cooling equipment, battery storage, solar equipment and more. The platform offers three solutions that can be used alone or together based on customer needs: Data Center Performance Management software; Electrical Power Monitoring System software; and Distributed IT Performance Management software. Press release.

The University of Birmingham is to be the UK lead for a new £6.2m Global Centre in Clean Energy. Funded by UK Research and Innovation, the Global Centre for Clean Energy and Equitable Transportation Solutions (CLEETS), will focus on reducing emissions from road transport, using three regions as case studies: the West Midlands and South Wales in the UK, and the Great Lakes megaregion of the US. The University of Birmingham, which has received £3.2m in funding for the Centre, is joined by Cardiff University as a UK project partner. The Discovery Partners Institute, part of the University of Illinois System, will be leading the project in the US with a $5m award from the National Science Foundation. Press release.