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EVENT REVIEW The Sixth China International Battery Industry Fair August 26-27, Shanghai, China

Sea change as lithium loses its flavour Size doesn’t mean importance and this year’s — and sixth — China battery conference in Shanghai was huge but it proved perhaps less than important to the international battery industry in terms of business opportunities. That said it did highlight a seachange in what’s fashionable in energy storage. Over the years we’ve had talk of the next big thing — supercaps, fuel cells and latterly lithium ion batteries are set to dominate the planet — but this year it seems clear that supercaps have returned to favour. Perhaps it was inevitable after Toyota’s bold announcement in the spring that supercaps would form the basis of its next generation electric vehicle fleet. The event — branded as an international battery industry fair — strictly speaking is a combination of three different meetings; one looking at the lead acid business, another about batteries in general and another about ultracaps. However, it isn’t particularly international, the lingua franca of the meetings and exhibitors was Mandarin and coverage was confined to the Chinese press and an occasional representation from the trade press. But the underlying theme of the fair would have probably verged on the depressive to most sections of the international lead battery market. With supercaps being the flavour of the day — at least half of the 200 plus exhibitors was related to the supercapacitor industry — the overwhelming sense was that the energy storage business was about to bow under the hype that engulfed it in the 2010s. In terms of lead acid, the picture is confused in that China’s battery market is running at various levels of over-capacity. Those in the market continue to keep their heads above water — the ebike market is here to stay and lead acid batteries are relatively inexpensive — but the new entrants are not enjoying the success

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that the late starters had previously achieved. The price of lead continues to be of real concern to the Chinese market and there are clear indications that secondary lead prices are making smelting difficult to make a profit from. Market talk of operating offshore, most likely in south-east Asia, remains a theme that continues to be examined. One Chinese firm even suggested a move to the US was being considered. How times have changed.

One international delegate told Batteries International that it was clear that the lithium ion market in China had appeared to give up on making a breakthrough into the SLI market — “they can’t get their costs down and get the batteries accepted” he said. “They now want to make their mark in hybrid electric vehicles and the challenge to traditional areas of the lead acid battery market appear to has started to fizzle out. “There were roughly the same numbers of lead acid players as lithium.”

ILZDA International Conference & Exhibition on Lead & Lead Batteries — Towards Sustainable Development July 28-29, New Delhi, India

ILZDA brought the great and the good of the Indian lead acid battery community together ILZDA — the India Lead Zinc Development Association — organized the conference which brought the great and the good of the Indian lead acid battery community together. “About 25 technical papers were presented by overseas and Indian speakers, followed by thought-provoking technical discussions,” said one of the organizers. “In all, 240 delegates participated in the deliberations.” An exhibition also showcased the latest in plant and equipment, technology and services; 18 companies took part in the exhibition. The concluding session was a panel discussion, where the panelists and the delegates gave meaningful recommendations and suggestions for the sustainable growth of the lead as well as lead battery industry. The conference was sponsored by Hindustan Zinc, Exide Industries, Amara Raja Batteries, Luminous

Power Technologies, Gravita India, Engitec Technologies, Supreme Batteries, Arya Alloys, Nile, Metenere, Sumetco Alloys & VMCO Alloys. Media partners were Batteries International, MMR, SSRL Battery Directory, Steel & Metallurg. Dreamz Conference Management was the hospitality partner. The conference focused on global and Indian scenarios for lead and lead batteries, battery technology, markets and environmentally friendly lead battery recycling.

Batteries International • Fall 2014 • 101

Batteries International — issue 93  

UPS embracing the latest technology — The global implications for energy storage of the latest UK TSO report — The changing rules on transpo...

Batteries International — issue 93  

UPS embracing the latest technology — The global implications for energy storage of the latest UK TSO report — The changing rules on transpo...