Group14 Technologies launches first commercial-scale factory
Group14 Technologies - a global provider of silicon-carbon composite materials for lithium-ion markets - has launched its first commercial-scale manufacturing factory to onshore domestic battery supply chain in the United States (US).
The new Woodinville (Washington) factory
Group14 Technologies’ new commercial-scale manufacturing factory will be 27,000 square foot, and located in Woodinville, Washington (US).
The development of the new factory - the first of several planned sites to solidify its position as a global leader in advanced energy storage - will help Group14 Technologies meet the demands for higher performing lithium-silicon anode materials. The factory will also be home to a new research and development (R&D) centre and corporate offices.
Features of the factory
The commercial manufacturing factory will allow Group 14 Technologies to produce 120 tons a year of its lithium-silicon technology - SCC55™ - which can deliver up to 60% more energy density per volume than lithium-ion batteries.
"We leveraged our team's deep commercial manufacturing experience to prioritize process development and designing for cost from the beginning, which is key to scaling as rapidly as possible without sacrificing quality, performance and safety. The process to manufacture SCC55™ was designed from the start to be scaled quickly and efficiently, an approach that has kept us on track to bring our technology online to help power consumer electronics, electric vehicles and more — immediately,” said Rick Costantino, CTO of Group14 Technologies.
Already delivering SCC55™ to the top consumer electronics and automotive manufacturers around the world by leveraging its international footprint in Asia.
What can SCC55™ provide the automotive industry
Those that are currently in the validation process of 82 Ah automotive batteries using SCC55™ combined with or in place of traditional battery anodes for electric vehicles (EVs), the latter - Group 14 Technologies reports - boosts an EV’s range by 50% between charges at the pack level.
"We built our technology for real-world impact that enables cost parity with gas-powered vehicles while reducing global reliance on fossil fuels. This commercial factory is the first big step forward towards fulfilling our mission, and we're excited to play our part to ensure more equitable access to cleaner electric vehicles of all forms,” added Rick Luebbe, CEO of Group14 Technologies.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.