Extremely Fast Charge Battery Technology for Electric Vehicles Could Drive Lithium Demand Even Higher
LOS ANGELES, November 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
USA News Group - November 14, 2017 - News from a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology company of a new HD-Energy® Technology for Electric Vehicles (EVs) which features extreme fast charging in only 5 minutes, could add yet another layer to the massive demand for lithium.
Leading lithium companies that could benefit greatly from the news include Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Pilbara Minerals Ltd (OTC: PILBF), Orocobre Ltd. (OTC: OROCF), and NRG Metals Inc. (TSX: NGZ) (OTC: NRGMF).
Lithium continues to be widely in-demand, with news about electric vehicles (EVs) filling headlines daily and market prices for the metal edging ever upward.
EVs depend on lithium-ion batteries for efficient storage and their very operation.
Now comes news from Enevate Corporation of a new HD battery Technology for Electric Vehicles, which features extremely fast charging in only 5 minutes with high energy density and long driving range that adds up to 240 miles (390 km)-or up to 50 miles (80 km) range with a 60-second charge.
The massive demand for global lithium is already creating expectations of a significant shortfall in the very near future. This added demand from a fast charging battery for EVs could be the tipping point for suppliers who are not going to be able to keep pace.
In an effort to answer the added demand, lithium companies are increasing their production capacities and searching for new sources of lithium. This includes a number of early stage lithium mining companies who are using the market's momentum to advance more quickly toward production.
A high profile company among the juniors is NRG Metals Inc. (TSX: NGZ) (OTCMKTS: NRGMF), which is already developing potentially very large lithium brine projects in South America's so called Lithium Triangle.
Larger and advanced lithium companies are experiencing strong price support fuelled by demand including Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Pilbara Minerals Ltd (OTC: PILBF), as well as Orocobre Ltd. (OTC: OROCF), another Australian lithium miner.
FAST CHARGE TECHNOLOGY IMPORTANT TO ALL
Fast recharge capacity has long been considered the holy grail of battery technology. In fact, the long recharge times and short range have been major challenges even for the leaders in the lithium-ion battery space.
This new extreme fast charge technology could be a considerable factor in breaking down the barriers to electric vehicle adoption. EVs have been challenged primarily due to their limited range and drivers' "range anxiety," long charge times, and high cost.
Enevate's groundbreaking silicon Li-ion battery technology in EV cells can reportedly be charged in 5 minutes at up to a tested 10C charging rate to 75% capacity with uncompromised range and energy densities of over 750 Wh/L, where conventional graphite cells suffer significant degradation with extreme fast charging.
The idea is that this short charge time can facilitate flow-through charging stations where EV drivers wait just a few minutes to "fill up", just as they would with regular gas stations.
In addition, with such short charging times, smaller batteries could potentially be used in certain EVs, making them significantly more affordable.
Lithium-ion battery pioneer Dr. John Goodenough at University of Texas in Austin welcomed the new technology, saying "Enevate's film-based silicon-dominant anode and cell is a truly novel approach and great practical fit for use in EVs addressing the major barriers to EV adoption."
Faster, better charging technology with longer ranges could be a driver to adding major increased demand in the already hot lithium market.
PRICE FORCASTS: GOING UP
At present, battery-grade lithium carbonate prices are forecast to average $13,000 a ton over the 2017 to 2020 period from around $9,000 in 2015 to 2016, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Lithium hydroxide, which is also battery-grade, is expected to average $18,000 a ton between 2017 and 2020 compared to $14,000 from 2015 to 2016.
The demand for lithium has been increasing continuously with each new announcement from not only supply chain and industry contributors, but also from governments.
For example, earlier in 2017, France and the UK outlined plans to ban the sales of all fossil fuel cars by 2040. That sounds like it's a long way off, but this is the first whisperings of fossil fuel bans, which have since been followed by a whopper.
China, which leads in the EV space, announced in September that it plans to ban all fossil fuel vehicles in the near future.
Analysts in the space see these moves as positive for the battery mineral space overall and see China showing the largest growth in the EV cycle.
Just four companies account for about 86% of global lithium production at present, but new sources are coming online.
NRG METALS HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING
About two-thirds of proven reserves of lithium are concentrated in a small area of South America around the intersection of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Newcomer NRG Metals is well positioned on ground there with its lithium efforts focused in the Puna Region, widely regarded as one of the most productive areas in Argentina.
NRG Metals is a Canadian-based company, but has managed to attract some very high profile management in-country. Their Chief Operating Officer is Jose Gustavo de Castro, the former country manager for lithium leader Orocobre in Argentina until 2015.
Gustavo de Castro helped to grow the operation of Orocobre from 10 employees to 800 in construction and some 200 people in operations. He is credited with the exploration and development of the Orocobre Oraloz lithium project being brought to commercial production.
With solid mining management in place, NRG Metals has put itself squarely on course. Its two core projects are the Salar Escondido lithium project; a well-developed project heading into drilling, and the Hombre Muerto North lithium project; with exploration now under way in the province of Salta.
The region is host to the Hombre Muerto Salar. This is the spot where large chemical company FMC is producing approximately 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year. It's also home to Galaxy Resources' large development stage Sal de Vida project.
NRG Metals recently released news of its VES geophysical survey that has identified "a highly conductive horizon that is interpreted to represent a brine target with potential to host lithium." The company is drilling the property in order to specify the potential for significant lithium resources that it plans to take through to production.
New and better technology is almost certain to increase the demand for lithium to unprecedented levels over the next few years.
Fast charge technology is one of several advancing technologies in the power and battery space that could play a heavy role in driving the demand, and therefore prices.
Producers and near-term producers of lithium are going to need to maximize lithium resources and juniors like NRG Metals can certainly use this climate to their advantage.
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB)
Albemarle Corporation is a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals. The Company operates through three segments: Lithium and Advanced Materials, Bromine Specialties and Refining Solutions. Lithium and Advanced Materials segment consist of two product categories: Lithium and Performance Catalyst Solutions. The bromine and bromine-based business includes products used in fire safety solutions and other specialty chemicals applications. The Company serves various end markets, including petroleum refining, consumer electronics, energy storage, construction, automotive, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food safety and custom chemistry services. As of December 31, 2016, the Company and its joint ventures operated 31 production and research and development (R&D) facilities, as well as a number of administrative and sales offices, around the world.
Pilbara Minerals Ltd (OTC: PILBF)
Pilbara Minerals is an emerging lithium and tantalum producer focused on the development of its world-class 100% owned Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project, located approximately 120kms from Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Pilgangoora has been confirmed as one of the largest spodumene (lithium pyroxene) and tantalite projects in the world and is set to be developed into one of the world's largest lithium mines, also producing tantalite as a valuable by-product.
Orocobre Ltd. (OTC: OROCF)
Orocobre Limited operates primarily in Argentina in the mining industry. The Company engages in the production ramp up of its Olaroz Lithium Facility and the operation of Borax Argentina S.A. (Borax Argentina). Its segments include Corporate, the Olaroz project, South American Salars and Borax Argentina. Its primary focus is on exploration for and development of lithium, potash and salar mineral deposits. The Company's assets also include boron mines and processing facilities of Borax Argentina and a portfolio of brine exploration projects. Its Olaroz Lithium Facility is located in the Puna region of Jujuy Province in northern Argentina, over 230 kilometers northwest of the capital city of Jujuy.
For a more in-depth look into NGZ you can view the in-depth report at American News Group: http://usanewsgroup.com/2017/11/12/how-south-americas-lithium-triangle-is-gearing-up-to-feed-our-battery-addiction-3-2-2-2-2/
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