NEW YORK, March 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
According to data compiled by Grand View Research, the global lithium-ion market is expected to reach $93.1 billion by 2025 and growing at a CAGR of 17%. The increased usage of lithium-ion is due to rising demand for batteries that are used to power everyday portable and rechargeable consumer electronics and electric vehicles. The shift in national governments' stances to push out more environmentally friendly solutions have also driven the market. Although, utility storage devices control majority of the lithium-ion market, it is projected that electric vehicles will take over that market in the coming years. MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF), Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM), Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), Nexa Resources S.A. (NYSE: NEXA), Hudbay Minerals Inc. (NYSE: HBM)
The rechargeable battery market is becoming more competitive and more diverse. Recent technology that uses zinc, known as Zinc-air batteries, are metal-air batteries that are light weight, which supports their usage in various applications including in electric vehicles. According to Transparency Market Research, "most of the properties of zinc-air batteries are comparable with those of lithium ion batteries; however, the former provides an additional advantage of not requiring any volatile material for their production. Thus, unlike lithium ion batteries, they are not prone to catching fire when used in high-temperature working environments." As These batteries are likely to become more prominent, demand for zinc is expected to increase as well. According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global zinc market is projected to grow to 19.68 million metric tons by 2021, at a CAGR of close to 4% over the forecast period.
MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the Ticker 'XMG'. Earlier this week the company announced that, "it has commenced optimization of charging and oxygen fuel generation functions for its zinc-air fuel cell battery as part of the mass production design phase.
The charging function of the zinc-air battery occurs in the regeneration module. Design work is now focused on optimization of the bubble field that is generated during the zinc regeneration process. A deeper understanding of the bubble field and how to optimize its effects will enable to operate at higher efficiency and offer improved reliability at a lower cost.
The regeneration module functions by charging zinc particles, which form the electrolyte that is then passed to the fuel tank. The fuel tank may be of any size and hold a full charge for six months without any significant loss. The system may be powered by a variety of renewable and traditional sources including solar.
The carbon-dioxide scrubber module is used in the generation of the oxygen-fuel from air. Oxygen is combined with zinc to create the electrolyte used in the fuel cell where power is generated. Testing of an alkaline solution in removing carbon dioxide from the ambient air is also underway. The outcome of these tests will be used to further optimize the scrubber module for production systems. The liquid-based scrubber promises to deliver much higher capacity and lower cost than comparable solids-based methods.
This next generation system will continue to be modular and offer capabilities to combine multiple 20kW systems at the electrical interface, allowing for deployment of containerized systems capable of providing up to one Megawatt or more. The expanded range of the system will address the need for long duration energy storage when coupled with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The system may be housed in a shipping container for deployment at remote locations or installed in free-standing racks in warehouse-type environments.
ZincNyx has developed a patented regenerative zinc-air flow battery that efficiently stores energy in the form of zinc particles and contains none of the traditionally high-cost battery commodities such as lithium, vanadium, or cobalt. The technology allows for low-cost mass storage of energy and can be deployed into a wide range of applications.
Unlike conventional batteries, which have a fixed energy/power ratio, ZincNyx's technology uses a fuel tank system that offers flexible energy/power ratios and scalability. The storage capacity is directly tied to the size of the fuel tank and the quantity of recharged zinc fuel, making scalability a major advantage of the flow battery system. In addition, a further major advantage of the zinc-air flow battery is the ability to charge and discharge simultaneously and at a different maximum charge or discharge rates since each of the charge and discharge circuits is separate and independent. Other types of standard and flow batteries are limited to a maximum charge and discharge by the total number of cells as there is no separation of the charge and discharge components."
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is an integrated producer and distributor of lithium, iodine, specialty plant nutrients, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals. Recently, the company reported earnings for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 of US$427.7 million (US$1.63 per ADR), an increase from US$278.3 million (US$1.06 per ADR) reported for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016. In January 2018, the Company announced that it reached an agreement with CORFO to finish the arbitration processes that started in May 2014. The agreement included a one-time payment of approximately US$20 million that is reflected in the fourth quarter 2017 results. As part of the agreement, SQM is allowed to produce and sell up to 2.2 million MT of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) through 2030, albeit at higher lease payments to CORFO and other associated cost. The new payment structure will become effective, as of the moment the agreement is approved by regulatory authorities in Chile, which we expect to occur during March 2018.
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. Tesla has broken new barriers in developing high-performance automobiles that are not only the world's best and highest-selling pure electric vehicles-with long range and absolutely no tailpipe emissions-but also the safest, highest-rated cars on the road in the world. According to a blog by the Tesla Team in 2017, Tesla and Panasonic begin mass production of lithium-ion battery cells, which will be used in Tesla's energy storage products and Model 3. The high performance cylindrical "2170 cell" was jointly designed and engineered by Tesla and Panasonic to offer the best performance at the lowest production cost in an optimal form factor for both electric vehicles and energy products. Model 3 cell production will follow in Q2 and by 2018, the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, nearly as much as the rest of the entire world's battery production combined.
Nexa Resources S.A. (NYSE: NEXA) is a large-scale, low-cost integrated zinc producer with over 60 years of experience developing and operating mining and smelting assets in Latin America. The Company operates and owns five long-life underground mines, three located in the Central Andes of Peru and two located in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Two of the Company's mines, Cerro Lindo in Peru and Vazante in Brazil, are among the 12 largest zinc mines in the 2 world and combined with the Company's other mining operations, place the Company among the top five producers of mined zinc globally in 2016, according to Wood Mackenzie. On February 15, 2018, the company announced that the board of directors of the Company resolved to distribute a share premium to its shareholders in an aggregate amount of US$80 million, which is equivalent to US$0.600057697 per share
Hudbay Minerals Inc. (NYSE: HBM) is an integrated mining company primarily producing copper concentrate (containing copper, gold and silver), zinc concentrate and zinc metal. With assets in North and South America, the company is focused on the discovery, production and marketing of base and precious metals. On February 21, 2018, the company released its fourth quarter and full year 2017 financial results. Net profit of $99.7 million and basic and diluted earnings per share of $0.38 in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a net loss of $47.3 million and loss per share of $0.20 in the fourth quarter of 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2017, operating cash flow before change in non-cash working capital was $171.9 million, compared to $122.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase in operating cash flow is the result of higher realized copper and zinc prices, while higher zinc sales and precious metals sales offset lower copper sales.
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