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Is nickle the metal of the future?

edsl48

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#1
Nickel: The Secret Driver of the Battery Revolution
JEFF DESJARDINS
on October 30, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Nickel: The Secret Driver of the Battery Revolution
Commodity markets are being turned upside down by the EV revolution.

But while lithium and cobalt deservedly get a lot of the press, there is another metal that will also be changed forever by increasing penetration rates of EVs in the automobile market: nickel.

Today’s infographic comes to us from North American Nickel and it dives into nickel’s rapidly increasing role in lithium-ion battery chemistries, as well as interesting developments on the supply end of the spectrum.

NICKEL’S VITAL ROLE
Nickel’s role in lithium-ion batteries may still be underappreciated for now, but certainly one person familiar with the situation has been vocal about the metal’s importance.

Our cells should be called Nickel-Graphite, because primarily the cathode is nickel and the anode side is graphite with silicon oxide.

– Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and co-founder

Indeed, nickel is the most important metal by mass in the lithium-ion battery cathodes used by EV manufacturers – it makes up about 80% of an NCA cathode, and about one-third of NMC or LMO-NMC cathodes. More importantly, as battery formulations evolve, it’s expected that we’ll use more nickel, not less.

According to UBS, in their recent report on tearing down a Chevy Bolt, here is how NMC cathodes are expected to evolve:

Cathode Year Nickel Manganese Cobalt
NMC Present 33% 33% 33%
NMC 2018 60% 20% 20%
NMC 2020 80% 10% 10%
The end result? In time, nickel will make up 80% of the mass in both NCA and NMC cathodes, used by companies like Tesla and Chevrolet.

IMPACT ON THE NICKEL MARKET
Nickel, which is primarily used for the production of stainless steel, is already one of the world’s most important metal markets at over $20 billion in size. For this reason, how much the nickel market is affected by battery demand depends largely on EV penetration.

EVs currently constitute about 1% of auto demand – this translates to 70,000 tonnes of nickel demand, about 3% of the total market. However, as EV penetration goes up, nickel demand increases rapidly as well.

A shift of just 10% of the global car fleet to EVs would create demand for 400,000 tonnes of nickel, in a 2 million tonne market. Glencore sees nickel shortage as EV demand burgeons.

– Ivan Glasenberg, Glencore CEO

THE SUPPLY KICKER
Even though much more nickel will be needed for lithium-ion batteries, there is an interesting wrinkle in that equation: most nickel in the global supply chain is not actually suited for battery production.

Today’s nickel supply comes from two very different types of deposits:

  • Nickel Laterites: Low grade, bulk-tonnage deposits that make up 62.4% of current production.
  • Nickel Sulfides: Higher grade, but rarer deposits that make up 37.5% of current production.
Many laterite deposits are used to produce nickel pig iron and ferronickel, which are cheap inputs to make Chinese stainless steel. Meanwhile, nickel sulfide deposits are used to make nickel metal as well as nickel sulfate. The latter salt, nickel sulfate, is what’s used primarily for electroplating and lithium-ion cathode material, and less than 10% of nickel supply is in sulfate form.

Not surprisingly, major mining companies see this as an opportunity. In August 2017, mining giant BHP Billiton announced it would invest $43.2 million to build the world’s biggest nickel sulfate plant in Australia.

But even investments like this may not be enough to capture rising demand for nickel sulfate.

Although the capacity to produce nickel sulfate is expanding rapidly, we cannot yet identify enough nickel sulfate capacity to feed the projected battery forecasts.

– Wood Mackenzie
 

Silver

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#2
I'm in - got a couple hundred in rolls of nickels :) That makes me diversified in nickel and copper, to the moon!
 

nickndfl

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#3
Wait until the new tax plan is passed and corporate welfare is cut. Elon Musk won't have all those subsidies to write-off against his unprofitable business model.

If Musk could produce a battery powered rocket to get into space he would have a real invention.
 

andial

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#4
Why don't they try using silver to increase battery power and life for awhile so as to drive up the price of silver?
 

Silver

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Why don't they try using silver to increase battery power and life for awhile so as to drive up the price of silver?
Silver-oxide battery
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)


Silver oxide cells
Silver-oxide battery
Specific energy 130 Wh/kg[1]
Energy density 500 Wh/L[1]
Specific power High
Charge/discharge efficiency N/A
Energy/consumer-price Low
Time durability High
Cycle durability N/A
A silver-oxide battery (IEC code: S) is a primary cell with a very high energy to weight ratio. Available either in small sizes as button cells (where the amount of silver used is minimal and not a significant contributor to the product cost), or in large custom designed batteries where the superior performance of the silver-oxide chemistry outweighs cost considerations. These larger cells are mostly found in applications for the military, for example in Mark 37 torpedoes or on Alfa-class submarines. In recent years they have become important as reserve batteries for manned and unmanned spacecraft. Spent batteries can be processed to recover their silver content.

Silver-oxide primary batteries account for over 20% of all primary battery sales in Japan (67,000 out of 232,000 in September 2012).[2]

A related rechargeable secondary battery usually called a silver–zinc battery uses a variation of silver–oxide chemistry. It shares most of the characteristics of the silver-oxide battery, and in addition, is able to deliver one of the highest specific energies of all presently known electrochemical power sources. Long used in specialized applications, it is now being developed for more mainstream markets, for example, batteries in laptops and hearing aids.[3][4]

Contents
Chemistry
A silver-oxide battery uses silver oxide as the positive electrode (cathode), zinc as the negative electrode (anode) plus an alkaline electrolyte, usually sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH). The silver is reduced at the cathode from Ag(I) to Ag and the zinc is oxidized from Zn to Zn(II). The chemical reaction that takes place inside the battery is the following:


The silver–zinc battery is manufactured in a fully discharged condition, and has the opposite electrode composition, the cathode being of metallic silver, while the anode is a mixture of zinc oxide and pure zinc powders. The electrolyte used is a potassium hydroxide / water solution.

During the charging process, silver is first oxidized to silver(I) oxide: 2Ag(s) + 2OH− → Ag2O + H2O + 2e− and then to silver(II) oxide: Ag2O + 2OH− → 2AgO + H2O + 2e−, while the zinc oxide is reduced to metallic zinc: 2Zn(OH)2 + 4e− = 2Zn + 4OH−. The process is continued until the cell potential reaches a level where the decomposition of the electrolyte is possible at about 1.55 volts. This is taken as the end of a charge, as no further charge is stored, and any oxygen which might be generated poses a mechanical and fire hazard to the cell.

Characteristics
Compared to other batteries, a silver oxide battery has a higher open circuit potential than a mercury battery, and a flatter discharge curve than a standard alkaline battery[citation needed].

Experimental new silver-zinc technology (different to silver-oxide) may provide up to 40 percent more run time than lithium-ion batteries and also features a water-based chemistry that is free from the thermal runaway and flammability problems that have plagued the lithium-ion alternatives.[3]

History
This technology had the highest energy density prior to lithium technologies. Primarily developed for aircraft, they have long been used in space launchers and crewed spacecraft where their short cycle life is not a drawback. Non-rechargeable silver–zinc batteries powered the first Soviet Sputnik satellites as well as US Saturn launch vehicles, the Apollo Lunar Module, lunar rover and life support backpack. The primary power sources for the command module were the hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells in the service module. They provided greater energy densities than any conventional battery, but peak power limitations required supplementation by silver–zinc batteries in the CM that also became its sole power supply during re-entry after separation of the service module. Only these batteries were recharged in flight. After the Apollo 13 near-disaster, an auxiliary silver–zinc battery was added to the service module as a backup to the fuel cells. The Apollo service modules used as crew ferries to the Skylab space station were powered by three silver–zinc batteries between undocking and SM jettison as the hydrogen and oxygen tanks could not store fuel cell reactants through the long stays at the station.

Mercury content


Several sizes of button and coin cells, some of which are silver oxide.
Silver oxide batteries become hazardous on the onset of leakage; this generally takes five years from the time they are put into use (which coincides with their normal shelf life). Until recently, all silver oxide batteries contained up to 0.2% mercury. The mercury was incorporated into the zinc anode to inhibit corrosion in the alkaline environment. Sony started producing the first silver oxide batteries without added mercury in 2004.[5]
 

Buck

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#6
The electric car industry is going to be downsizing soon, real soon

when customers realize they need to reinvest $5k into their efficient cars every 5-7 years, and there are no subsidies to assist with the purchase, the interest will wane
 

Silver

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#7
The electric car industry is going to be downsizing soon, real soon

when customers realize they need to reinvest $5k into their efficient cars every 5-7 years, and there are no subsidies to assist with the purchase, the interest will wane
I don't think so, Mercedes is getting into the electric car business in a big way (Mercedes said anything Tesla can do, they can do better) and BMW is planning to produce electric cars only in the future. I don't think cars will go all electric right away - they will have a gas powered generator for extended distance. The Chevy Volt already does this - you get about 40 miles on battery (not a large battery bank, so not expensive to replace) and then the generator kicks in and powers the batteries. Someone I know gets about 120 mpg on a tank of gas the way they drive - mix of commuting 30 miles on all battery and weekends getaways on battery and generator.

I think it is pretty cool, especially if you have a solar array.

http://www.chevrolet.com/electric/volt-plug-in-hybrid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt
 
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