A plant to make components for lithium-ion batteries is to be built in South Korea by Belgian company Umicore. The high-tech recycler and specialist materials maker will double its capacity of the product as it expands into the market. The plant should be operational in 2014 to make parts for rechargeable batteries.
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South Korea's Samsung SDI and German auto-parts maker Bosch will be ending their four-year old joint venture of SB LiMotive, an electric car battery manufacturing unit due to . Samsung will acquire the 50% stake in the venture held by Bosch, but both firms will continue to maintain close business relations.
Samsung will take full ownership of the lithium-ion battery unit while maintaining a collaborative working relationship with Bosch. Samsung and Bosch had jointly established SB LiMotive in July 2008 under an equal ownership arrangement, where each partner held 38 million shares. SB LiMotive currently operates a battery cell production line in Ulsan, South Korea with a monthly capacity of 200,000 battery cell packs. Production at the plant will be raised to 400,000 packs per month by 2013 and 1.5 million packs per month by 2015.
From the outset of the partnership, Samsung was in control of the research & development and production, while Bosch took care of the battery management system and sales. Bosch has recently shown an interest in running its own battery cell production line.
Bosch is working with German chemicals firm BASF to build a pilot line for lithium-ion battery cells. Test production will start this year, and the plant will produce up to 200,000 cells by 2015.
A Japanese hybrid train company has made an engine 45% smaller and 20% more economical on fuel than conventional diesel locomotives. Kinki Sharyo use a diesel engine combined with lithium-ion batteries. Unlike diesel trains the hybrid only requires one engine for two locomotives making it lighter and more economical on fuel.