France, Germany manufacturers recovering despite COVID-19
According to data compiler IHS Markit, France’s final Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.2 in September from 49.8 in August. This figure slightly rose from a preliminary reading of 50.9 and was further ahead of the 50-point line dividing expansions in activity from contractions.
The recovery in Germany’s manufacturing sector was even higher as output grew at the fastest rate in over two years. The PMI for manufacturing consists of about a fifth of the economy and rose to 56.4 in September. The figure was lower than a flash estimate of 56.6 but much higher than August’s reading of 52.2.
Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases to record levels, the survey has showcased that manufacturer's output and new orders from clients improved in September. IHS Markit economist, Eliot Kerr, commented: “With the winter months approaching, we may yet see a renewed tightening of restrictions which would severely hinder the progress of many firms in the manufacturing sector.
“A second lockdown would likely lead some goods producers to question the sustainability of their business models, with the virus potentially reducing factory capacity for a prolonged period.”
Phil Smith, principal economist at IHS Markit, added that both orders and output were rising all across the manufacturing sector, helped by growing export demand. “Even investment goods producers, who have generally underperformed in the recovery up to now, enjoyed a much better month in September.”
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.