NAATBatt International is looking forward to a busy and exciting 2021. This year should see continued interest by the capital markets in advanced battery technology. It should see renewed government interest in promoting the manufacture of advanced batteries in the United States. And it should see continued growth of the electric transportation and stationary energy storage markets, which promise to be the largest consumers of advanced battery technology for the balance of the decade. Three things loom large at NAATBatt in 2021. First is a study of the North American supply chain for lithium-ion battery technology. Three NAATBatt committees--the North American [...]
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Electricity unattached to the grid will power the technologies that shape the 21st Century. Unless and until fuel cells, green hydrogen and other electricity micro-generation technologies mature, advanced batteries, and in particular lithium-ion batteries, are likely to be the source of much of that power. Where those batteries are made and who makes them matters. Ensuring adequate supplies of lithium-ion batteries will be an important national security issue. Lithium-ion batteries are also an important tool in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But most importantly, lithium-ion batteries and the technologies they enable are likely to create substantial wealth and many [...]
Tesla’s Battery Day on September 22 did not disappoint. Whether you came away encouraged (as did many EV enthusiasts) or disappointed (as did the stock market), Elon and the gang provided ample content for the advanced battery community to dissect and debate for the next six months. For me, the most noteworthy content was not the technical detail of where Tesla is going with its battery technology. The move to tabless 4860 cells, more silicon, less cobalt, away from solid state technology (apparently), and the road map to a 56% reduction in battery costs were all very interesting topics, if not [...]
On Thursday, September 10, the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the creation of the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) to accelerate development of a domestic industrial base for advanced batteries. The FCAB is part of the strategy outlined in the DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) Draft Roadmap, an initiative that started earlier this year. Although the FCAB announcement is light on details (see: https://bit.ly/2Rkkwwy), it seems to be an effort to pull experts from multiple agencies, including the DOE, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense and the Department of State, [...]
NAATBatt held its third annual Workshop on Recycling Lithium-Ion Batteries on Tuesday, July 14. Because of the Covid situation, NAATBatt was forced to hold the workshop as a webinar rather than as a live event. I was unsure exactly how that was going to work out. In fact, the virtual workshop worked better than I expected and far better than I had feared. 185 people registered to attend this year’s recycling workshop, almost double the number that attended the highly successful second annual workshop in Buffalo last July. The sudden move in the battery industry, and indeed in all industries, [...]
Interest in revitalizing U.S. manufacturing combined with COVID-19 supply chain disruptions is driving new action in Washington to support strategic industries and protect strategic supply chains. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Intel’s offer to partner with the Pentagon in building a silicon chip foundry in the United States. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. just announced plans to build a chip factory in Arizona based on unspecified incentives from the federal government. NAATBatt believes that a federal initiative to support domestic manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries may soon be announced as well. While NAATBatt can be expected to endorse any initiative to [...]
Twelve years ago a group of U.S. businessmen and battery experts came together to create a consortium to make sure that American companies would be an important force in the global competition to dominate lithium-ion battery manufacturing. The founders named the consortium “NAATBatt”, at the time an acronym for National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries. The idea behind NAATBatt was based on the SEMATECH consortium founded by leading companies in the American semi-conductor industry in the 1980’s. SEMATECH was to help U.S. semi-conductor manufacturers fight off competition from an aggressive Asian competitor, which was seeking at the time, perhaps by [...]
As the Covid-19 crisis grabs headlines in most of the United States, it is important to appreciate that for a good part of the U.S. oil patch, COVID-19 is second page news. First page news is the collapse of worldwide oil prices. The price of West Texas Intermediate Crude closed this week at $22.76 per barrel. This is nothing short of a disaster for the U.S. petroleum industry and for a significant portion of the U.S. workforce that depends on its health. There are many reasons for the oil price collapse. The petroleum market is nothing if not complex. This [...]
During a recent telephone meeting of the NAATBatt Strategic Planning Committee, one committee member noted that the next stage of the COVID-19 stimulus package was likely to include investments in national transportation infrastructure. The committee member suggested that NAATBatt advocate for allocating part of those new investment to building up the lithium battery supply chain in the United States. I have argued in this column on many occasions that lithium-based battery technology is one of the most important technologies of the 21st Century. Countries that control that technology will have the inside track on leadership in the development and manufacture [...]
One of the most interesting sessions during the NAATBatt 2020 annual meeting was the Industry Leaders Roundtable: How To Make the U.S. a Leader in Lithium-Ion Battery Manufacturing. The session featured a discussion among government and industry leaders in energy storage about what the United States might do better to support the domestic manufacturing of lithium-ion battery cells. The panelists generally agreed on a number of points: that building a supply chain is important but building demand for the batteries may be more important; that the U.S. does not have the same tools to work with that China does; and [...]