On May 19, Gotion High Tech launched its L600 Astroinno LMFP battery cell and pack at the 12th Gotion Technology Conference in Hefei, China. The manganese-doped LMFP Astroinno battery is capable of powering an electric car for up to 1000 kilometers, the company says. (Of course, any car can travel 1000 km without charging if you stuff enough batteries into it.)
Dr. Cheng Qian, executive president for international business at Gotion High Tech, told the audience in Hefei: “In recent years, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) technology has regained the recognition of the market with market share continuing to increase. Meanwhile, the energy density growth of mass produced LFP batteries has encountered bottlenecks and further improvement requires an upgrade of the chemical system, so LFP batteries doped with manganese were developed.”
In a press release, Cheng said, “Our Astroinno L600 LMFP battery cell, which has passed all safety tests, has a weight energy density of 240 Wh/kg, a volume energy density of 525 Wh/L, a cycle life of 4000 times at room temperature, and a cycle life of 1800 times at high temperatures. The the volumetric cell to pack ratio has reached 76% after adopting the L600 cell, and the system energy density has reached 190Wh/kg, surpassing the pack energy density of current mass produced NCM cells. It is due to the high energy density of Astroinno battery that we can enable a range of 1000 km without relying on NCM materials.”
According to Cheng, after ten years of in-house research on lithium-manganese-iron-phosphate (LMFP) materials, Gotion High Tech has solved the challenges of manganese dissolution at high temperatures, low conductivity, and low compaction density through utilizing co-precipitation doping encapsulation technology, new granulation technology, and new electrolyte additives.
The company’s research center in Cleveland, Ohio, has developed a new electrolyte for LMFP batteries which has greatly improved the cycle and storage performance at high temperatures. Production of the L600 battery cells is expected to begin in 2024.
According to Cheng, in addition to the upgrade and innovation of the battery material system, there are also several technical breakthroughs and innovations concerning the Astroinno battery pack developed based on the new battery cell. It uses a double-sided liquid cooling sandwich and a minimalist design approach to reduce the number of structural parts in the battery pack by 45%. Those techniques also lower the weight of structural parts by 32%. The wiring harness for the battery pack drops from 303 meters to 80 meters. The pack energy density has reached 190 Wh/kg, which exceeds the energy density of many NCM battery packs currently on the market.
The Astroinno battery pack uses thermal insulation materials than can withstand temperatures up to 1200°C and provide four layers of rapid heat exhausting channels. It has passed all penetration, hot box, overcharge, over-discharge, thermal runaway, crush, and short circuit tests based on the latest standards.
Volkswagen Group owns 26% of the shares in Gotion High Tech, whose wholly owned subsidiary, Hefei Gotion High Tech Power Energy Co, has received a procurement letter from Volkswagen saying it is now a designated supplier for VW’s overseas markets.
Gotion & Xenophobia
Gotion is planning to build a $2.3 billion battery factory in northern Michigan. The state has ponied up a long-term package of incentives to promote the idea, partly because the factory would add about 2,300 jobs to an area where employment opportunities are limited. But battery factories have become a flash point in the culture wars that are being promoted by xenophobic Americans.
According to MLive, last month a group of concerned citizens gathered in the rain to protest the proposed factory. “We’re wanting to push back because we don’t want this company here,” said Lori Brock, 58, who hosted the rally at her Majestic Friesians Horse Farm, which is near the proposed factory site. The land where the factory will be built has been zoned commercial for the past two decades.
Residents and Michigan Republicans have mobilized against the project citing concerns about Gotion ties to China and the possible environmental impact of a 500 acre battery park. “I don’t like communism. That’s a big thing. I don’t want our rivers to be polluted. I don’t want our air to be polluted. This is beautiful country; I don’t want it torn down,” said Dick Clark, who lives nearby. Chris Ward from Green Charter Township said she’s concerned about “the effects on the environment, the water and the politics of it all.”
Michigan GOP chair Kristina Karamo told the protesters, “To think they (China) will set up a battery factory in our state and they will just play by the rules, that makes no sense whatsoever.” Hard to argue with that, eh?
Mining & Fracking In Michigan
And who wouldn’t be worried? Those scary battery factories are a blight, unlike the mines that have operated in the state for 150 years. According to the State of Michigan, copper resources were first mined by Native Americans around 3000 B.C. Michigan’s iron mining began when the Marquette Range opened in 1845, followed by the Menominee Range with their first shipment of ore dating 1877, and finally the Gogebic Range in 1883. In the early 1870s, Michigan’s ore production passed the 1 million ton mark with production peaking in 1920. Today, two iron mines remain active in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — the Tilden Mine and the Empire Mine — both of which are in the Marquette Range.
Industrial copper mining began in the 1860s. During the earlier years of the copper mining era, Michigan produced up to 90 percent of the nation’s copper. Copper ranges opening in the west caused competition for the Michigan mines and in 1916, copper mining reached its peak in the Upper Peninsula with the production of almost 267 million pounds of copper.
Recently, Michigan has seen an increase in mining interest for nonferrous minerals. This shift is due to new technology and higher metal prices. Currently, there are multiple exploration efforts underway in the Upper Peninsula. These efforts are focused on the discovery of major copper, nickel, gold, zinc, platinum, palladium, uranium, and cobalt ore bodies. Fortunately, none of those activities cause any environmental damage at all.
Nor do any of the 12,000 fracked wells in the state that have been injected with chemical-laden water deep underground to release the oil and methane buried there. They are as pure as the driven snow, apparently. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Communists? No. Permanently poisoning the groundwater? Yes, please. Can we have some more?
The Beating Of Gotion Goes On
In a letter sent last week to Aaron Keatley, acting director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, eight GOP lawmakers said because of concerns about the project, it’s necessary to provide documents about water withdrawals and “any other reviews or assessments that have been conducted by the local, state or federal governments.”
“We trust that fulfilling this request will not be a time consuming or difficult endeavor as these all would seem to be commonsense inquiries to perform and documentation to create ahead of committing significant natural and fiscal resources of Michiganders to such a large and controversial project,” the lawmakers’ letter said. The GOP lawmakers said Gotion representatives have “admitted in open hearings that the facility will be withdrawing approximately 715,000 gallons of Michigan groundwater per day.”
Hugh McDiarmid Jr., spokesman for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, said the agency hasn’t yet received any permit requests for the project and the documents that relate to the permits, when they come, would be open to public inspection.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has touted the Gotion battery factory as “the biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan.” Our readers will recall that the State of Virginia recently said “No thank you” to a proposal by CATL to build a battery factory with Ford in that state. That project — and the employment opportunities it brings — was then moved to Michigan.
The people opposed to the Gotion factory are apparently blissfully unaware that Michigan is hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs as companies move their operations to southern states where unions are nonexistent, wages are low, and moves are afoot to weaken child labor laws that have been in effect for nearly a century.
The United States and China are locked in a titanic struggle to see who will dominate the global economy in the years to come. We are not unaware of Chinese spy balloons wafting across America or reports of secret Chinese police stations operating in US cities. We know the dangers of TikTok. We are not saying there are no issues raised by China’s domination of battery technology. But these are concerns that deserve the attention of our national leaders, not a sodden collection of malcontents in a muddy field in northern Michigan.
Not to put too fine a point on it, this xenophobic fear of “the other” is precisely the kind of thinking that led to the internment of tens of thousands of American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II. Have we learned nothing from the horrors of McCarthyism? Apparently not. Our primary products today are fear and rage. Neither is in the best interests of America.
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