Currently we produce (world level) about 700,000Tn Class 1, according to Moores of Benchmark Mineral, we will need 494,000tn in 2023 and 928,000tn in 2028, which means respectively an increase in Class 1 production by 70% 2023 and 132% in 2028, it’s a lot of Nickel.
"Electrical. Toyota says it has solution for fuel cells
According to Gerald Killmann, vice president of Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and responsible for research and development, Toyota’s fuel cells used in Mirai, which are first generation (launched in 2014), have no special problems. According to Killmann, “it is complex to produce the extremely thin membrane without wrinkles and the total cells are still very expensive due to the noble materials used.” That is, they work perfectly, but are still out of price.
Suffice it to say that in France, where Toyota sold a 500 Mirai fleet to a Parisian taxi company, these were marketed for € 78,000 a unit, an amount that is more acceptable if we count the € 6,000 of state aid and another € 5,000 the capital’s chamber gives non-polluting taxis. This puts the Mirai 30% above the price of a battery operated electric vehicle with the same autonomy (550 km).
Killmann explains that “all the initial difficulties were overcome, existing units that have covered more than 200,000 km without losing efficiency or revealing the least problem”. Even when operating in extreme climates, such as in northern Sweden during the winter season, "fuel cells run smoothly, unlike batteries, requiring only 70 seconds to reach the optimum operating temperature, when outside the thermometer registers - 30 ºC ", reveals the responsible for the development of fuel cells of the Japanese manufacturer.
Nor is the problem of the danger of hydrogen, since it even has advantages over gasoline. In case of leakage due to rupture of the deposit, during an accident, for example, the hydrogen is lighter, so it rises and dissipates in the atmosphere, unlike gasoline, which spreads on the ground.
Toyota has already announced that it has limited production of fuel cells to 3,000 units per year, manufacturing as many Mirai. But in 2020 it will raise the production rate to 30,000 / year, a brutal leap that Gerard Killmann explains with the introduction of the second generation. New fuel cells will be more efficient, which means they will need less (and expensive) materials to generate the same amount of energy, which will reduce the price of the technology considerably.
But Killmann goes a step further by admitting that for some time now the second generation of fuel cells has not been worrying him, since he is already concentrating on the third generation, with Isotta Cerri, another technique dedicated to the development of this solution, to advance that there is a team already working in the fourth generation, always looking to produce smaller and cheaper cells, by gaining in efficiency.
When will fuel cells compete with batteries?
Despite refusing to come up with a date, Cerri and Killmmann have no doubt that fuel cells will quickly become an alternative. Probably already in the second generation, but certainly in the third and following. New materials are constantly emerging, and technology continues to evolve, a little like batteries, which continue to increase their energy density, making them continuously lighter and more capable.
For heavy vehicles, such as lorries or buses, for cars intended to travel for longer distances or even for the single vehicle of a family, electric cars powered by electricity produced on board by a fuel cell are the ideal solution. For others, smaller, more urban, especially for drivers who have the ability to recharge them at home or in the office, battery-powered electric trams will continue to be a valid solution.
It remains to wait for the presentation of the second generation of Toyota’s fuel cells to evaluate the gains achieved, recalling that the Japanese brand has already made public all the technology and patents that used the first generation, to facilitate the dissemination of hydrogen as a source of energy to drive vehicles"
I suspect there’s a lot of mothballed nickel projects out there just waiting for the price of nickel to improve. As long as it improves significantly before they all rush to enter the market that’s fine by me.
I’m not entirely sure I buy into Toyota’s logic. Hybrids still spew out particulates and Co2. The only way to eliminate that is EVs or fuel cells. By the time we get round to banning all forms of combustion, hybrids included, EVs will be far more advanced technically and so much cheaper than they are now that fuel cell cars will find it impossible to gain any traction.
I think this is Toyota’s betamax moment.
The nickel price does not reflect existing inventories or future demand.
The strength of the dollar does not help Nickel’s prices.
There is pessimism with the slowdown of the global economy (yesterday the OECD revised downward the projections for the main world economies) that is conditioning the stock markets. MSCI World, which measures the performance of global stock markets, is currently falling by the fourth session, representing the worst loss cycle of 2019
We have a problem with China
Trump promised a wall, renegotiated trade treaties, reduced the deficit, promised to fight Iran and North Korea, rebuild the American infrastructure, make America great again.
Where is the reconstruction of the infrastructure? Is it a promise for a second presidential term?
“Nickel: SHFE nickel fell sharply during the day, dragged by news of new smelting capacity coming online in China and Indonesia. The most traded SHFE May nickel contract declined 1.71% to finish the trading day at 104,110 yuan/mt. It is reported that Delong’s project in Indonesia has got its 11th rotary kiln-electric furnace (RKEF) ignited and the project is likely to wholly come online in June. For Shandong Xinhai, its four newly-commissioned 48,000-KVA RKEFs have reportedly seen output as of March 6, which is estimated to grow ferronickel production by 28,000-32,000 mt per month”
We need Class 1 Nickel…
If you look at the amount of class 1 nickel still going in to making stainless steel it seems to me that the battery sector needs to see an increase in the production of either type of nickel. The easiest way to make more class 1 nickel available to make batteries is to produce more NPI and subsitutue it for class 1 currently being used to make stainless steel. That, in my opinion, is what the Chinese are doing.
I agree, however, there are metal alloys that can only be made with class 1