Monday, 7 September 2015

Lithium Fever Goes Upstream: Buying Spree Of Battery Start Ups And Lithium Projects Expected.

  


  InsideEVs reports on the recent Lux Research release about the heating up M&A activity in the Lithium Battery Start Ups space. If you are following my journey here it does not come as a surprise to you. Hedge Funds and Venture Capital are going on the fishing trips upstream of Electric Cars after Tesla induced Lithium Fever and they will find Lithium Story itself very soon …





Lithium Race In "War On Pollution": Investors Swarming Lithium Battery Market In China.




  "I continue to map the fast changing landscape for Lithium Battery business. Today we can start to add more Megafactories to the list. Tesla Gigafactory is being chased not only by Warren Buffet with BYD, but other well established players that we have discussed before: LG Chem, Foxconn, Boston Power and A123. Today we can start to dig out 17 new players in lithium battery space. I think that in the end we will have very similar situation to the Solar Panels - lithium batteries will become a commodity and price will drop dramatically. For my personal Holy Grail we need $100 per kWh - it will bring us my magic 20/200: $20k electric car with 200 miles range. 
  In the end we will have the overcapacity built and consolidation in the lithium battery space, but for now: the more - the better! State-level government policy to build new strategic industry: electric cars,  brings its fruits already and new stimulus money which are fighting stock market collapse are sipping in the incredibly high growth lithium space.
  The best players will be rising faster with this tide and Ganfeng Lithium is very well positioned for this growth. Ganfeng is building vertically integrated lithium  business with International Lithium as strategic partner to develop the secure supply of lithium. Ganfeng newly built facility with 6,000 t/y of Lithium Hydroxide capacity is ready to supply this rapidly growing demand for high purity battery grade lithium. China now controls 75% of Lithium Hydroxide battery grade production facilities in the world. Prices are already going up even before all these Gigafactories will be coming on-line. Joe Lowry will be your best guide into the building shortages in the lithium market and a lot of broken dreams and promises in this industry. He forecasts the dramatic 150% rise in Lithium Demand over next 10 years and Apple Electric iCar is not even accounted for!
  Ganfeng has bought a small Chinese mobile lithium battery maker last year and has secured 10% stake in revamped Boston Power, which is building its own Megafactory in China now. Check out our latest news from both J/V projects of International Lithium financed by Ganfeng in Argentina and Ireland.
  "War on Pollution" and state-level plan are driving this incredible advance in technological leap into post carbon world by China now. Leapfrog into EV space mass production is happening already. Not a lot of people realise that Warren Buffet is one of the major players now in China with his BYD investment and Elon Musk talks Tesla production in China while building Superchargers Network. It will charge the mass market with Tesla Model 3 rolling out in 2018. Apple iCar will change our landscape overnight and connection with Foxconn can be a very interesting twist to the whole story. Ganfeng Lithium already supplies LG Chem, BYD, Boston Power and Panasonic which supplies cells to Tesla Motors and investing in Tesla Gigafactory. International Lithium new aggressive stage of development will bring us closer to potential production for this well established top lithium materials producer in the world. Read more."


Joe Lowry - Lithium Supply & Demand: Origins, Growth and Investment.

  


  "Joe Lowry has published another brilliant piece on the state of lithium industry, exploding demand and  very sober outlook for the supply side. Joe brings more than twenty years of deep inside technical knowledge in this very opaque market place and knows almost all major lithium producers by "kicking all the tires" of their field operations. Lithium race is upon us and President Obama opens the new chapter for the sustainable clean economy. Where lithium will come from? Read more."



International Lithium Corp. - A Green-Energy Metals Company.




  "I have written extensively about International Lithium and our strategic partner Ganfeng Lithium. Our J/Vs in Argentina and Ireland are financed by this giant from China and we have very important access to the technology. Basically we are building the secure supply chain for Ganfeng Lithium using their expertise in raw materials needed for production of battery grade lithium from the very beginning. Our brine bulk sample from Mariana is being tested at Ganfeng state-of-the-art R&D facilities in China and in Ireland we have identified 22 exploration targets. Now, according to our latest NR, we are waiting for the approval of the budgets for both projects to be rapidly advanced after very encouraging results were received from the last exploration stage this year.
   Today I would like to show you another side of International Lithium. We have the very strong technical team headed by our CEO Gary Schellenberg. Anthony Kovac - our COO and John Harrop - our VP of Exploration are among very few top level exploration managers and geologists in lithium sector. This Team depth has allowed International lithium to attract Ganfeng and strike two major J/V deals in all our industry. These days we are getting the first fruits of this very hard work. Coming volume shows that market is waking up and we are receiving at least some recognition of the value we have been building all these years. 
  I am talking a lot about the security of lithium supply and Tesla Lithium Hydroxide Supply Deal is another proof and was noticed by market overnight. Now venture capital is knocking on all doors chasing the upstream supply chain for electric cars and Energy rEVolution. 
  We have another great project at International Lithium: Mavis Lake Lithium And Tantalum Project which is located in mining friendly Canada in the area with excellent infrastructure and very encouraging initial exploration results with high grade Lithium and Tantalum. It will be our next strategic advance for the company. With J/Vs moving forward we are looking for the strong Strategic Partner to develop this project for the potential supply of this strategic commodity for the ongoing Next Industrial rEVolution. West will wake up one day to the fact that China has managed to control now not only over 90% of REE production, but 75% of Battery Grade Lithium Hydroxide as well. 
  Security of Supply means exactly this - Security. When the price is taking the second consideration and availability of critical materials is taking the central stage. My personal mission is to make this Security happen for the Western world for real as well, even if this part of the World still lives by HFT rules and Q by Q performance reflecting the coming bonuses. Our Asian friends are beating us all here with the state-level plans looking for The Next Fifty Years and building new strategic industries like Electric Cars in China.
  We have Elon Musk, we need more like him, but it is a very good start. Our strategic partner for Mavis Lake is waiting somewhere in between of latest Q performance reviews. If you know the one - you know whom to call. Now I do not have really to explain any more What Is Lithium For - Elon Musk has made the great job and every single Tesla Model S is the best moving ad of the things to come. All cars will be electric and it will be very soon. And by the way any new hard rock mine for Lithium will take 5-7 years to build Lithium brine operations will take 4-5 years at best. 
  Why International Lithium? You can check presentation above. Read more."

InsideEVs:


"Investments in battery start-ups are (like in the case of most start-ups) risky. The recent acquisition of Seeo by Bosch convinced Lux Research to post a blog article.
Seeo is developing solid-state batteries with high energy density and Bosch believes that Seeo’s IP and research staff will succeed in producing its own battery cells.
Lux Research monitors the whole industry, including not only large manufacturers but also start-ups and, as it turns out, a bunch of them already were classified in the “Caution” category. Even Sakti3.
Here is Lux Research’s insights into Bosch’s risky bet:
  • Bosch’s acquisition of Seeo (see the full Lux profile of Seeo here — client registration required) comes at a crucial time for the fragile startup. Seeo has been trying to pivot from lower-energy LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cathodes towards higher-energy NCA (nickel cobalt aluminum) cathodes to keep ahead of the competition. It was also looking to set up joint ventures to help it scale up production of cells capable of 350 Wh/kg, a crucial step in proving its new technology. However, its high appetite for burning through cash, its unproven cost claims, and technical issues like low ionic conductivity (which limit power and require the battery be heated to about 80 °C) place it mid-pack in our Lux Innovation Grid of interviewed solid-state battery developers:
  • Bosch is taking a risk on a mid-pack player, but if the acquisition price was low enough (terms were undisclosed) it was a move worth making. Seeo’s technology will require quite a bit more investment and time before it is ready for a commercial debut. Nonetheless, the buy is an almost necessary one for a supplier like Bosch that has ambitions to be a key battery player in a crowded, competitive space that our recent report, Watch the Throne: How LG Chem and Others Can Take Panasonic’s EV Battery Crown by 2020 details (client registration required). As Bosch’s CEO commented earlier this year, the supplier is hoping its batteries reach the 300 Wh/kg to 400 Wh/kg mark by 2020, and that at the same time costs fall by 50% in that timeframe. Such ambitions are well-matched to taking a risk on next-generation batteries beyond lithium-ion (Li-ion), like Seeo’s.
  • As our Lux Innovation Grid shows, there remain some intriguing companies in this solid-state space that present better targets for partnerships or acquisition than Seeo – like Imprint EnergyIlika, and ProLogium on the start-up front, and Hydro-Quebec’s IREQ arm on the industrial laboratory front. While all of these players have their own associated strengths and weaknesses, it does mean that the next-generation solid-state battery space remains open, despite starting to heat up.  In addition to Bosch buying Seeo, Apple is rumored to have quietly acquired distressed thin-film battery developer Infinite Power Solutions at the end of 2014 (not to mention GM’s investments into Sakti3 and SolidEnergy, and VW investing into Quantumscape and working with Oxis Energy, two other beyond-Li-ion players).
So, a lot of large companies investing in battery start-ups are trying to seize an opportunity. A big part of those companies probably will fail, but some have a chance at succeeding.
Source: Lux Research"