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Europe wants to make lithium batteries on its own

(Summary description)Europe wants to make lithium batteries on its own

Europe wants to make lithium batteries on its own

(Summary description)Europe wants to make lithium batteries on its own

Information

 

Europe begins to hope to make lithium batteries on its own, but nowalmost all of its graphite comes from Asia, mainly China. Graphite is on of the most important materials for making batteries.

 

As a result, the only two European companies considered capable of taking up the challenge are France's Carbone Savoie and Germany's SGL Carbon. The two companies have now been included in an ambitious battery alliance that was part of the European Union last year.

 

Carbone Savoie also says it has developed a new production technologythat uses only half the energy, which currently requires and cuts waste emissions by half. It will be cheaper, more efficient and use less energy than China's graphite. The hard part is that we have to act quickly. To catchupwith China, we have to invest heavily, he said.

 

Carmakers are racing to switch to electric vehicles amid growing pressure to cut carbon emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Batteries account for about 40% of the value of electric cars, but are now made by companies in South Korea, China and Japan.

 

For example, a tesla electric car would need about 70 kilograms (150 pounds) of graphite, according to Sebastian gautje, CEO of Carbone Savoie. While the material can be mined, battery makers generally prefer more expensive, technically superior synthetic materials. It is the only key component of a lithium-ion battery that can be made in a factory - nickel, lithium, manganese and cobalt must be mined.

 

But few of Europe's industrial giants are willing to invest heavily to buildtheir own batteries without government help. Just five years ago, Carbone Savoie's parent company, anglo-australian mining giant BHP billiton, was on the verge of collapse. The company has long focused on producing anodes for electrolytically extracted aluminum, but fierce competition has cut sales. It was subsequently bought in 2016 by Alandia Industries, a French transformation company, which hasinvested 40 million euros to diversify -- dedicated graphite now accounts for 15 percent of its output, up from zero a few years ago. The bet paid off, with profits rising to 17 million euros last year on sales of 127 million euros.

 

Even so, the company with 120 years’ old history still hasn't produced enough graphiteto to meet Europe's electric car dream and its goal of becoming the European leader in battery graphite by 2025.

 

The battery alliance says this will require substantial funding from the European Union, which has already been pledged by Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Sweden and Finland.

 

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The company strives to be the leading manufacturer of lithium batteries