Articles in Category: Product Developments

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A team of researchers in India have introduced an eco-friendly and energy-efficient battery that is being touted as “the future” of batteries — not only for the automobile world but for drones and other tech gadgets, too.

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Researchers tout energy efficiency, cost savings

Researchers at the Shiv Nadar University and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay claim to have developed a technology for production of this eco-friendly lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery. The researchers claim the battery is three times more energy-efficient and cost-effective than the Li-S batteries currently in use, the Hindu Business Line reported.

The Li-S battery technology deploys the principles of “green chemistry,” the Financial Express reported.

The technology incorporates the use of: byproducts from the petroleum industry (sulfur); agro-waste elements and copolymers, such as cardanol (a byproduct of cashew nut processing); and eugenol (clove oil) as cathodic materials.

The university said it decided to introduce the technology after five years of research by Dr. Bimlesh Lochab, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. The university claimed the Li-S battery technology would be significantly cheaper and sustainable. while offering up to three times higher energy density and intrinsic flame-retardant properties.

For this research, Lochab’s team had tied-up with the IIT-Bombay team of Dr. Sagar Mitra, professor in the Department of Energy Science and Engineering.

New features

So, how is this battery different from what’s available on the market?

It synthesizes a bio-based molecule and also boasts of a new type of cathode for Li-S batteries. These developments can help push the promising battery technology to higher performance levels.

“The research will aid the production of cost-effective, compact, energy-efficient, safe and environment-friendly Li-S batteries, offering a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries commonly used at present,” Shiv Nadar University said in an official release.

Sulfur in the battery comes from industrial waste. Meanwhile, the cardanol comes from bio-renewable feedstock.

In addition, the eugenol (derived from clove oil) copolymer is also environmentally sustainable, halogen-free and flame-retardant, all of which make the battery safe to use.

When this tech will be commercially exploited, this new Li-S tech-based battery will have a longer life and can be manufactured in very small units. That means those benefiting from it will include technologists who make gadgets requiring a power source.

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This morning in metals news: Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the U.S. may follow up its reinstatement of aluminum tariffs with tariffs on Canadian steel; utility-scale battery storage continues to become more prevalent; and China imported a record amount of iron ore in July.

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Ontario premier readies for potential steel tariffs

Late last week, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation reinstating tariffs on some Canadian aluminum. The U.S. rescinded its Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs for Canada and Mexico in May 2019.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speculated steel tariffs might follow.

Utility-scale battery storage on the rise

According to the Energy Information Administration, installation of utility-scale battery storage continues to rise in the U.S.

“In 2010, the United States had seven operational battery storage systems, which accounted for 59 megawatts (MW) of power capacity (the maximum amount of power output a battery can provide in any instant) and 21 megawatthours (MWh) of energy capacity (the total amount of energy that can be stored or discharged by a battery),” the EIA reported.

China iron ore imports soar in July

China’s iron ore imports surged to a record high in July, Reuters reported.

According to General Administration of Customs Data cited by Reuters, iron ore imports totaled 112.65 million tonnes in July. The July monthly import total marked a 10.8% increase from the previous month, according to Reuters.

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In this month’s Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) report: Ford CEO Jim Hackett will retire, the company announced this week; General Motors has plans to add more than 2,700 electric vehicle charging stations across the U.S.; and U.S. sales continue to show signs of recovery, but July sales remained down compared with a year ago.

The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) gained 2.4% for this month’s MMI reading.

Automotive MMI

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) gained 2.1% this month. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel.) 

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When traditional power generation companies start talking retail solar power, it’s time to sit up and take note.

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Tesla’s Model 3. Source: Tesla

The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped one point for a March MMI reading of 97. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel.)

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The Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI), which tracks a basket of precious metals, rose four points this month for an MMI reading of 129.

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The electric vehicle (EV) market is facing significant headwinds.

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On the one hand, consumer anxiety over EVs’ limited range and extended recharge periods is making the majority reluctant to commit.

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This morning in metals news, 2019 proved to be a down year for Ford Motor Company’s sales in China, Norsk Hydro plans to ramp up production of recycled aluminum this year and Rio Tinto awarded an A$400 million contract for the design of a new mine in Australia’s Pilbara.

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Ford sales drop in China

Ford saw its sales in the Chinese market drop 26.1% in 2019 compared with the previous year, according to the company’s most recent sales results release.

Ford sold 567,854 vehicles in China last year.

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The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held flat this month, posting a reading of 86 for the December MMI.

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U.S. auto sales

As noted previously, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler all report sales on a quarterly basis.

As for the monthly reporters, Honda’s U.S. sales surged 11.1% on a year-over-year basis, with Honda brand truck sales surging 21.3%.

“With one month to go in 2019, robust sales of light trucks are leading the Honda and Acura brands to a strong finish, with record November auto sales for American Honda,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of Automobile Sales at American Honda Motor Co. “Based on the strength of our products and disciplined approach to sales, American Honda is bucking industry trends, with record sales in three of the last four months.”

Toyota Motor North America also posted a strong November in the U.S. market. Toyota’s sales increased 9.2% year over year on a volume basis and 5.0% on a daily selling rate basis.

Nissan sales, however, were down 15.9% year over year.

Hyundai reported November sales increased 6% year over year.

A forecast released jointly by LMC Automotive and J.D. Power indicated November new-vehicle retail sales would be up from a year ago, increasing 1.2% on a selling day adjusted basis.

“The industry is expected to show growth in November with the benefit of an additional weekend, but the gains are being accompanied by rising incentives,” said Thomas King, senior vice president of J.D. Power’s data and analytics division. “Strong promotional activity over the holiday weekend is expected to drive spending to the highest level ever.”

GM-Isuzu JV to develop new diesel engine plant

As we noted last week, DMAX — a joint venture of General Motors and Isuzuplans to invest toward construction of a new diesel engine plant in Ohio.

“Due to the growing strength of GM’s all-new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, General Motors and Isuzu announced today a $175 million investment through its DMAX joint venture to build an all-new, diesel engine components plant in Brookville, Ohio,” General Motors said. “The new 251,000 square-foot facility would expand the production of critical engine components for the company’s current DMAX diesel engine manufacturing operation in Moraine, Ohio.”

According to GM, the JV will invest approximately $175 million toward the new plant.

Ford’s Mach-E, Tesla’s Cybertruck join the fray

In product developments, both Ford and Tesla recently unveiled additions to their electric lineups.

At the recent L.A. Auto Show, Ford showcased its Mach-E Mustang, the first addition to its Mustang lineup in over half a century.

The automaker touted the all-electric SUV’s aesthetics and power, which will be available in standard- and extended-range battery options.

Meanwhile, Tesla unveiled its new Cybertruck, which features a stainless steel body. The base single-motor, rear-wheel drive model will come in at a price tag of $39,000, according to the automaker.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Actual metal prices and trends

U.S. HDG rose 6.8% month over month to $797/st as of Dec. 1.

LME three-month copper rose 0.5% to $5,877/mt. U.S. shredded scrap steel rose 4.4% to $235/st.

The Korean 5052 coil premium fell 3.1% to $3.11/kg.

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