The London REE Report: Graphene and L-ion Batteries

Xingcheng Xiao, Ping Liu, John S. Wang, M.W. Verbrugge and Michael P. Balogh (2010) Vertically aligned graphene electrode for lithium ion battery with high rate capability. Electrochemistry Communications doi: 10.1016/j.elecom.2010.12.016

The big news today is the interpretation of yesterday’s release of China’s REE export quotas for the first half of 2011. With that subject well covered on the RMB in three places, I’ll refrain from adding a fourth. Though I will give my traders perspective at the end of this update.

Just before Christmas there was an interesting update on the application of graphene in the improvement of Lithium-ion batteries. Faster charging, more power, and a cheaper battery looms. For us, that should eventually translate into better products, and increased REE demand in the second half of this decade. Dare to think big, as Westinghouse, Ferranti and AEG once did.

GM and HRL team use vertically aligned graphene nanosheets to increase Li-ion electrode capability
december 28, 2010

Researchers from General Motors Global Research & Development Center and HRL Labs report enhancing the high rate capability of Li-ion anode materials through the use of vertically aligned graphene nanosheets.

Their paper is in press in the journal Electrochemistry Communications. “In this paper, we demonstrated that the high rate capability of electrode can be achieved by engineering the existing electrode materials. A simple approach has been developed to align the graphene nanosheet vertically on current collector, which not only facilitates both lithium ion and electron transport, but also simplifies the electrode fabrication without involving binder and conductive additives.

over the next 10 years, Japanese manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries are investing heavily in new production facilities.

Since 2009 they have spent more than $3 billion in Japan and, counting low-interest loans and grants awarded to Nissan Motor Co.’s overseas affiliates, an estimated $5 billion globally

All are hoping to compete for a global market in 2020 – depending on which forecast proves correct – of between 5 million and 15 million electric cars and hybrids.

My traders take on the Chinese export numbers – buyers fear will probably drive the market. Even though this is only one half of the story, we have yet to see China’s intended production numbers for 2011, and of course we don’t know what the export numbers will be for H2 11 which in theory could be higher but probably won’t be, buyers will probably scramble to lock up supply as fast as they can, prepared to overpay if necessary, prepared to build inventory too. With articles like the one below, appearing in the WSJ, it’s safer to hold excess inventory, rather than run out later in the year.

DECEMBER 28, 2010

China Squeezes Foreigners for Share of Global Riches

BEIJING—Foreign companies have been teaming up with Chinese ones for years to gain access to the giant Chinese market. Now some of the world’s biggest companies are taking a risky but potentially rewarding second step—folding pieces of their world-wide operations into partnerships with Chinese companies to do business around the globe.

General Electric Co. is finalizing plans for a 50-50 joint venture with a Chinese military-jet maker to produce avionics, the electronic brains of aircraft. The deal with Aviation Industry Corp. of China would give GE access to a Chinese government project aimed at challenging Boeing Co. and Airbus in the civilian-aircraft market.

General Motors Co. established joint venture this year with SAIC Motor Corp., its longtime partner in China, to produce and sell their no-frills Wuling-brand microvans in India, and eventually in Southeast Asia and other emerging markets as well.

More.

More on Sunday. A very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all.