Week of February 21, 2024

Student at work in North Carolina BATT CAVE research center.

BMW deal grows Albemarle's innovation aims

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | Feb 22, 2024

Long-term partnership will secure battery-grade lithium hydroxide for automaker and accelerate both companies' expansion into EV space. This week, Albemarle announced a long-term partnership with BMW to deliver battery-grade lithium hydroxide for the automaker's next generation of high-performance electric vehicles and to work together to develop technology for safer and more energy-dense batteries. "Albemarle is committed to building a more resilient world," said Albemarle...

A complex metamaterial metal cube printed using aluminum.

Scientists print new titanium material

A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News | Feb 20, 2024

Titanium metamaterial unlocks strength beyond nature. Pushing beyond what is found in nature, scientists from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have engineered a lightweight and high-strength titanium material that holds promise for applications in medical, transportation, military, energy, and everything else that could benefit from an already widespread metal. Using a common titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V (titanium-aluminum-vanadium), the research team constructed...

Close-up of an electric vehicle charging on a snowy winter day.

Fluorspar: the forgotten battery mineral

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | Feb 19, 2024

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts more than 1.6 million metric tons of fluorspar per year will be needed for lithium-ion batteries by 2030. While Elon Musk has not yet implored the mining sector to "please mine more fluorspar," the demand for this mineral critical to lithium-ion batteries has been rising with the adoption of electric vehicles and is expected to continue its upward trajectory through the end of the decade. "While cobalt, nickel, and lithium hog the...

Gloved hands holding a GMG graphene-aluminum battery pouch.

Graphene-aluminum battery keeps it cool

A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News | Feb 14, 2024

The GMG battery maintains less than body temperature when charged and discharged over long periods, high speeds. Following its successful production of a prototype 500 milliampere-hour graphene-aluminum battery, Graphene Manufacturing Group Ltd. (GMG) continues to demonstrate the performance of its potentially game-changing batteries compared to conventional lithium-ion. This includes keeping their cool during rapid charging and discharging. Capitalizing on its proprietary...

Puzzle pieces of Chinese and U.S. flags over a globe.

Critical minerals cold war heats up

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | Feb 19, 2024

Massive geothermal lithium reserves give U.S. leverage while superpowers employ protectionist measures around supply chains. There's a new international race, not into space or to establish military superiority, but to secure critical minerals in a worldwide resource grab for the feedstocks that will fuel a global green energy transition. While we're all on the same side – or, in this case, the same planet – the superpowers have been at odds with how to achieve net-zero...

A large pile of raw, unused bituminous coal ores.

DOE funds more REE from coal research

A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News | Feb 22, 2024

Three projects that will advance coal-derived rare earths and critical minerals. Further attempting to strengthen America's critical mineral supply chain and by proxy its national security, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $17 million in funding for three projects focused on establishing a domestic supply of rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal-based resources. Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as part of President Biden's Investing in...

Artist John Sabraw with reclaimed pigment on a steel table.

Acid mine drainage to earth tone paints

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | Feb 16, 2024

Gamblin Artists Colors introduces oil paints pigmented with waste from acidic water draining from old coal mine. Paints throughout the ages have been uniquely colored by crushed gemstones, rare shellfish, and even powdered Egyptian mummies. With that same pioneering spirit, the Portland, Oregon-based Gamblin Artists Colors began recycling dry pigment dust collected by their Torit air filtration system during the 1990s and mixing it into a paint color they called Torrit Grey....

Futuristic EV fast charging station.

An EV battery that charges in five minutes

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | Feb 21, 2024

Indium for lithium battery anode makes fast charging a reality; Cornell researchers look for lighter alternatives. Engineers at Cornell University have developed a lithium battery capable of charging in less than five minutes, with stable performance over extended cycles of charging and discharging. The secret ingredient? Indium. "Range anxiety is a greater barrier to electrification in transportation than any of the other barriers, like cost and capability of batteries, and...

Aerial shot of Tesla’s lithium-ion battery gigafactory in Nevada.

First US graphite AAM production begins

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | Feb 21, 2024

Syrah begins production of lithium-ion battery anode material for Tesla and others at Vidalia. A major milestone in breaking America's reliance on China for the minerals critical to the clean energy transition has been reached with the start of operations at Syrah Resources Ltd.'s Vidalia graphite anode materials plant in Louisiana. Being the primary material used for anodes, graphite is the single largest ingredient that goes into the lithium-ion batteries powering electric...

A miner registers at desk at sign that reads “For Freedom’s Sake” in 1943.

DOD increases Idaho antimony funding

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | Feb 21, 2024

Pentagon agrees to invest an additional $34.6 million to establish a domestic source of metalloid critical to military and civilians. To help break America's reliance on China and Russia for the antimony needed for military hardware and munitions, the U.S. Department of Defense has conditionally agreed to invest up to an additional $34.6 million into Perpetua Resources Corp.'s Stibnite gold-antimony mine in Idaho. "This latest award from the Department of Defense brings us a...

A cobalt blue Chevy Silverado battery-electric pickup.

GM, Panasonic secure clean NA graphite

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | Feb 20, 2024

Invests in Nouveau Monde Graphite and locks up 85% of the zero-carbon lithium-ion battery anode material to be made in Canada by NMG. General Motors and Panasonic Energy have entered into a deal with Canada-based Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) for a supply of low-carbon graphite anode material produced in North America for the lithium-ion batteries powering their electric vehicles. As part of a larger deal that spurred a total of $87.5 million in new investment and sent NMG...

Jars of colorful terbium, dysprosium, holmium, and erbium rare earth oxides.

Canada doubles down on rare earths tech

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | Feb 20, 2024

NRCan invests $5 million in SRC's REE separation plant. With a C$5 million (US$3.7 million) investment into Saskatchewan Research Council's (SRC) rare earth processing and separation facility in Saskatoon, Sask., Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is doubling down on its support of technologies that will help bolster Canada's leadership in responsible production of critical minerals needed for the clean energy and digital economy. "Separating these rare earths is instrumental...

A Nexys mapping system being carried in a backpack at a construction site.

The Nexys for next-gen mine mapping

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | Feb 21, 2024

Exyn Technologies unveils a new 3D mapping solution to dock with its industry-leading autonomous drones and other delivery systems. Whether carried in a backpack, on the back of a Boston Dynamics Spot robot dog, or docked with one of its own state-of-the-art autonomous drones, Exyn Technologies' new Nexys modular 3D mapping system offers unmatched flexibility, speed, and accuracy for surveying and inspecting mines, construction sites, and other demanding environments. As a...

3D rendering of the Hitachi all-electric EH4000 AC3 haul truck.

Hitachi unveils all-electric mining truck

A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News | Feb 21, 2024

Works with ABB to develop prototype that seldom needs a recharge due to innovative trolly assist and regenerative braking system. Heavy equipment staple Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. and electrification and automation leader ABB Ltd. have reached a milestone in their collaboration to develop a battery-powered electric mining haul truck that never needs to break for a recharge. Under development since 2021, with the goal of meeting the growing demand for reducing...

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