Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lithium: Power battery: key to electric vehicle commercialization TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, BYD, TTM, TM, NSANY, F, DAI, GOOG, RIMM, AAPL, HUI, XAU

Now we have more insight into power batteries market space in China. Lithium becomes the strategic commodity for Electric car revolution there and car sales are booming.

"China's precious metal reserves are shrinking at an alarming rate. Over-exploitation and cut-throat competition in exportation, on the other hand, have driven prices considerably low in the international market. Rare earth, for example, witnessed a reserves decline from 88 percent of the world's total more than ten years ago to 52 percent in 2008, while export increased almost 10 times."

China is moving into Canada junior market to secure supply of Lithium:

"TNR Gold has attracted interest from Canada Zinc Metals and its shareholders including Chinese Tongling and Lundin mining with opportunities opened in Lithium and REE market.Los Azules project is getting a new valuation with rising Copper prices, signs of recovery and its recent development.TNR Gold opens a new page in its history with access to Canada Zinc Metals solid record of developing mineral deposits and attracting Major industry players for financing and mine building expertise.Canada Zinc Metals with this move has secured its strategic entry into Lithium and REE markets and TNR Gold's Gold and Copper projects, including Los Azules opened for future strategic deals under further consideration of the company."

Power battery has become an attraction of automobile industry because of the series policies of the State, which encouraged the development of electric vehicle. The commercialization of high power battery has just started globally, it still remains elusive. This time, the power battery project in Jilin province, although at an elementary stage, still has something that the industry could learn from.
The two demonstration buses are equipped with high power and high capacity Lithium li-power battery manufactured by Lithium Energy (liao yuan) New Energy Co., Ltd. The reporter heard that on March 29th, FAW Bus and Coach Co., Ltd. has signed the purchase order of 2009 with Lithium Energy, covering 55,000 LY-LFP-300AH lithium batteries that could equip 500 buses and the order value was RMB148.5 million yuan. Cai Qingsong, Director General Manager of Lithium Energy (liao yuan) New Energy Co., Ltd., introduced that the company has delivered 550 batteries up to April 23rd.
The challenge of electric vehicle lies in power battery, and the key point of power battery is material selection. Lithium li-power battery is ferrous phosphate li-power battery developed by a group of people led by Professor Wang Rongshun, former Schoolmaster of Northeast Normal University. This kind of big power battery has advantages such as long lifetime, low cost, high power, high capacity, good security, green and non-pollution, high energy density and quick recharge, quite suitable for electric vehicle. Ordinary city buses, after being modified into pure electric busses, the one-time recharge driving distance could be maximum 300 km. The recharging time is also quite short; the life time of the battery could be as long as 600,000 km, which could be recharged for over 2000 times. The operation cost of modified busses is only between one tenths and one ninths fuel busses. This kind of pure electric bus with li-power battery, after being fully recharged, could run over 300 km; the maximum speed could reach 120 km and the electricity consumption per hundred kilometers is 35 KWH.
On March 27th 2009, Lithium li-battery passed 7 items of safety test co-conducted by eight departments including Jilin Provincial Science and Technology Commission, Jilin Province Electronic & Information Products Superintending & Inspecting & Research Institute, Northeast Normal University and FAW Academy of Electric Vehicle, etc. The tests covered stabbing, water-proof, short circuit, fire resistance, shock, extrusion, over (current, time) etc. Just after the test, Lithium received purchase order from FAW Bus and Coach Co., Ltd.
Doctor Xie Haiming from Northeast Normal University explained that Lithium li-battery mainly solved the two big problems of electric vehicle use power battery, like high power and safety. He said that taking 300AH battery for example, the battery may get overheat when 300A current lets through. Therefore the whole structure design and module management must have its own special craft so as to prevent high power battery from getting overheat and make sure its long lifetime. In addition, in order to guarantee the security of high power battery, Lithium battery selects high temperature resistant diaphragm, prevents electrolyte from burning from structure design aspect, and guarantees security from case design aspect. "The battery seems simple, but it includes lots of new and high technologies."
Lithium li-power battery project, invested by Beijing Fortune LT Investment Group, is currently planning to produce three kinds of power batteries: 300AH, 400AH and 160AH. The 300AH battery is mainly manufactured by Lithium Energy (liao yuan) New Energy Co., Ltd., and 400AH battery is mainly manufactured by Lithium Energy (Changchun) New Energy Co., Ltd. Cai Qingsong introduced that Lithium Energy (liao yuan) has one semiautomatic production line, the mass production has started from May 1st. The company plans to input RMB560 million yuan to build an automatic production line and a semiautomatic production line, then the company's yearly output is planned to be 0.12 billion AH. The expansion construction of Lithium Energy (Changchun) is fully underway too, and it is on trial running. Li Zaizhi, Director General Manager of Lithium Energy (Changchun) New Energy Co., Ltd., introduced that the company planned to achieve annual li-battery output of 0.12 billion AH and ferrous phosphate li-battery material output of 3000 tons, the project would be invested around RMB 70 million and would be completed and put into use on June 18th.
In order to improve the quality of battery, assure the consistency and steadiness of battery pack, and realize scale production, no matter Lithium Energy (liao yuan) that has been in production, or Lithium Energy (Changchun) that will be enlarged and put into production, are both introducing advanced technology and equipment and reinforcing management. For example, laser cutting pole piece technology and equipment for cutting piece burr-free production; ultrasonic welding technology and equipment for guarantying the consistency and reliability of battery internal resistance; lithium-ion battery plastic cover vibration and friction welding technology and equipment for assuring the welding gas tightness of shell and cover; battery capacity grading and grouping simulation testing machine for guarantying the consistency and lifetime of battery group, and so on.
The support of industrial chain is also very important for the commercialization of power battery. Looking at the upstream, Changchun and Liaoyuan are building manufacturing plants of doped lithium iron phosphate, which could provide raw materials for the two battery manufacturers. Liaoyuan is even intended to become the base of power battery. As Wang zhaohua, Mayor of Liaoyuan city, introduced that except for raw material factory with planned annual doped lithium iron phosphate output of 10,000 tons; another important battery material plant, namely a diaphragm paper plant with RMB220 million investment, is under construction, and the output of the plant is planned to be 40 million square centimeters. As far as the downstream is concerned, in addition to FAW Bus and Coach, Lithium li-battery project is jointly researching and developing the power system of electric car with FAW Car Co., Ltd. by using the 10 Besturn cars provided by FAW Car; at the same time, Lithium is also co-developing electronic control assembly of electric vehicle with Changchun Qiming In-car Electronics Co., Ltd.
We can describe the most the commercialization of Lithium li-battery as "just at the beginning". But Lithium is grasping the good opportunity of li-battery in the fastest way. At the same time, according to the introduction of Hei Liangqi, President of Beijing Fortune LT Investment Group, except for investing in power battery, the company has also made investment in electric vehicle motor and power assembly. From key components of electric vehicle to finally producing electric vehicles, Beijing Fortune LT Investment Group is grasping the direction of new energy vehicles and is following up rapidly.
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