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Russia Building World's Largest Li-Ion Battery Plant

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the watt-could-go-wrong? dept.

China 128

MikeChino writes "Russia and China are gearing up to dominate the lithium-ion battery industry by launching the world's largest Li-ion plant (press release). Planned for Novobirsk, Russia, the facility will be a joint venture between Chinese firm Thunder Sky and RUSNANO (a Russian state-run corporation) and it will be able to produce up to 500,000 batteries (of all sizes) per year."

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Li? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529134)

And where are they getting all the lithium from?

Re:Li? (2)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529160)

China and Russia? Those two are among the major producers of lithium.

Re:Li? (3, Insightful)

nwf (25607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529514)

China and Russia? Those two are among the major producers of lithium.

And the two counties with the lowest product standards and safety laws.

Re:Li? (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529688)

Not even close. The problem in both is failure in making companies follow the laws that are in place, not making laws. At least a third of countries in the world has worse product standards and safety laws then China and Russia.

Re:Li? (2)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530024)

There are numerous other countries with shittier conditions than China and Russia. The latter one is generally quite good, actually. China too, especially compared to the truly cheap countries.

Re:Li? (4, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530530)

There are numerous other countries with shittier conditions than China and Russia. The latter one is generally quite good, actually. China too, especially compared to the truly cheap countries.

Yes yes, Russian products still use trusty vacuum tube! Not like in west. Our mono stereo sys-tems truly go to eleven, perhaps even twelve if you run outside in winter times or heating not working.

Re:Li? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38530608)

Please cite this and explain. Until then I call bullshit.

Re:Li? (1)

LanceUppercut (766964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532624)

Well, it is all about comparative qualities, not absolute ones. Low or not, Russian product standards happen to be the highest available today. If you can find better ones - feel free to buy your batteries from them instead.

Re:Li? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534656)

Actually, Russia has some pretty stringent standards for its products, largely inherited from the USSR. So much so that "Soviet quality" is a frequent advertising slogan. I understand that most Westerners think of cars first and foremost when they encounter the words "Russian" and "quality" in the same sentence, but there are many more industries in the country, and many of them are much better at what they do.

Re:Li? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529186)

Their shrink

Re:Li? (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529590)

Contrary to many scare reports, lithium is not particularly rare or expensive -- under $10 a kilogram for lithium carbonate, which is used to make a dozen or two percent of the mass of batteries that sell for hundreds of dollars per kilogram. It's a couple percent of the cost. The main risk for lithium is temporary supply shortages, where demand outgrows production rates (it takes many years to get a new mine started). And of course, everyone wants to produce the cheapest stuff, but the cheapest stuff isn't always in the best of locations (producing from seawater -- a basically boundless supply -- costs ~$30 or so per kilogram of carbonate, versus a couple dollars per kilogram from a good lithium-rich playa.

It's not batteries that will be displaced by elevated lithium prices, but the other uses, which currently make up the vast majority of lithium consumption -- alloys, greases, glass, ceramics, etc.

Re:Li? (2)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530126)

Re:Li? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533214)

Jesus Christ it's a Li-ion, get it in the car [wikia.com]

I want someone to produce a Titanium-Germanium based cell as well, just so I can make a bad joke about a Ti-Ger.

Re:Li? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530142)

A rise in prices will make the market enticing to Bolivia, so I doubt there will be a shortage for very long.

Re:Li? (1, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530432)

And where are they getting all the lithium from?

From American medicine cabinets.

So, if... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529146)

... a charity pays $35 fee for each fake CC donation, shouldn't be be donating to a PAC like Citizens United?

Re:So, if... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529346)

I think you fail at even trolling

Re:So, if... (0)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530586)

I think he fails at life altogether.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529158)

In Soviet Russia, battery charges YOU!!

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529190)

Oh look, AC fails...

In Soviet Russia, YOU charge the battery.

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529336)

In Soviet America, you are charged with battery with a battery!

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529668)

Nope, nope, sorry.

In Soviet Russia, battery replace YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529290)

In Communist China, battery is fully charged. Please ignore actual reading on dial.

Re:In Soviet Russia (0)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529870)

Evidently, this doesn't seem to have deterred Wal-Mart. At least we can begin to see where leadership in technological development is going to come from. One can only hope that the Tea-Party republicans are paying attention.

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530650)

Evidently, this doesn't seem to have deterred Wal-Mart. At least we can begin to see where leadership in technological development is going to come from. One can only hope that the Tea-Party republicans are paying attention.

To what? They all buy nice GERMAN products...

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534672)

In Communist China, battery is fully charged. Please ignore actual reading on dial.

... and keep pedaling.

At least the workers (3, Funny)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529184)

will never feel bad about working there.

Re:At least the workers (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529270)

But mood stabilization also nixes the irrationally happy workers who bring in donuts for everyone.

So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529204)

Just how big is this battery going to be?

Re:So.. (3, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529298)

Probably large enough to power a car but not large enough to threaten your deluded sense of manliness.

Re:So.. (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529380)

Probably large enough to power a car but not large enough to threaten your deluded sense of manliness.

OMG, LOL

that is all.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529214)

We battery YOU!

Li-Ion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529226)

Jesus Christ, it's a Li-Ion! Get in the Ca-ar!

Re:Li-Ion (3, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529998)

Jesus Christ, it's a Li-Ion! Get in the Ca-ar!

the chemistry cat
wants his puns back
before they argon

Re:Li-Ion (1)

sreid (650203) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530368)

How about the chemical workers--are they unionized?

Re:Li-Ion (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38531092)

How about the chemical workers--are they unionized?

Ziiiiiiinnnnggg! Subtle is your pun, but malicious it is not. I'm guessing their work-force has bonded quite covalently. I wonder their lithium potentials are strong enough to work in bipolar junctions?

Cheap electric cars! (1)

naroom (1560139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529236)

On the upside, electric cars should become much more affordable.

Re:Cheap electric cars! (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530674)

On the upside, electric cars should become much more affordable.

Muhahhahaha..... just no....

that's it?? (1)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529244)

500,000 doesn't seem like a lot. what are the unit prices? if the largest plant in the world is grossing under $1B a year, i'd be surprised.

Someone Screwed Up the Rewrite (4, Informative)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530028)

Perhaps the poster should have read the article. The 500,000 figure comes from the number of buses they expect to be able to equip with batteries each year. It seems while we can't even read, the Chinese and the Russians are moving ahead to OWN the battery market for vehicles.

Re:Someone Screwed Up the Rewrite (1)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530150)

perhaps the submitter should not have presented false and misleading information.

who is going to OWN the buses after they are equipped? put them on the USA tab... it's a fiat currency, we OWN capitalism.

slashdot = stagnated.

If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529256)

This might just kick the electric car into mainstream mass production, as the cost of reasonable battery technology falls below production costs with illegal subsidies.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529648)

Meh. Even with idiotic US subsidy, the cars lack range, a consequence of poor energy density. Acceptance of second-rate cars is necessarily minimal.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529830)

Li-Ion can fix this to a large extent. The Tesla's 6000 Li-Ion batteries give it a 200 mile range at freeway speeds- and a 54 mile range at racetrack speeds. Plasma Boy's White Zebra here in Oregon gets 300 miles to a charge at highway speeds- or can go into drag race mode, and dump the full charge of the batteries into a quarter mile in under 9 seconds.

But Li-Ion is very expensive currently- which is why I said what I said. Chinese subsidized Solar Panels pushed solar below $1/watt, and made companies like SolarCity profitable for the first time ever. I could easily see something similar happening with say, the 40 mile range on the plug-in-electric Ford Focus to bring it's costs down to what normal people can afford.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529950)

Yes, but coupled with highly efficient internal combustion engines that kick in only once in a while, humans could save burning a lot of fossil fuel and spare ourselves of much of the adverse consequences associated with unnecessarily warming the atmosphere.

It seems kind of sad that its the Russians and the Chinese who are generating both the business mojo and jobs. It looks as if America is too jaded to act, perhaps because it just doesn't seem cool or limit the freedom of the American worker to go unemployed.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530052)

It is rather inefficient to lug big, heavy combustion engines around. What electric cars need to be efficient are the same features that are needed to make a really efficient petrol car: A small vehicle, very lightweight in construction. Basically a European car - but that is something that just won't work in the US market, where customer expectations are quite different.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38531032)

Basically a European car - but that is something that just won't work in the US market, where customer expectations are quite different.

I live in Minnesota. If it can reach highway speeds, operate in cold weather and has a range greater than 20 miles between charges, I'm psyched. It doesn't have to be appealing to half the population, just the ones with the intent to specifically own an electric car.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533058)

Perhaps so, but the Prius is pretty popular worldwide and Toyota is making quite a bit of money off their sales. Getting 50+mpg isn't bad either.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530736)

Until the Chinese start to jack up the prices, after they control the market. That's the purpose of dumping (selling below production cost): to destroy competition, opening the door to unrestrained price increases. It's an investment in monopoly.

Solar prices are temporarily dropping rapidly because of Chinese dumping. Chinese companies (that aren't connected enough to maintain subsidies and dump their own panels) are already starting to fold, as are others around the world. After China has the last suppliers standing, they will jack their prices up.

Of course they will do this with Li-Ion, too. They will do it everywhere. That's the kind of unrestrained capitalism a mafioso Communist state can generate.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532142)

Within China, dumping is illegal and is punished by the death penalty.

It is popular here in the US to accuse China of "dumping" whenever they're selling something cheaper than we could have made it, but it never seems to be actually cheaper than they did make it for... and so it isn't actually dumping.

Cheap Chinese products do not get followed by expensive Chinese products, they get followed by even cheaper Chinese products!

The dumping meme is surely being dumped at below it's cognitive value.

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532456)

It does seem to be sold cheaper than China makes it. That is what is putting Chinese solar businesses out of business, that aren't connected enough to the subsidies. Even though they all benefit from the currency manipulation that makes it harder for non-Chinese companies to compete with them.

And what makes you say that cheap Chinese products don't get followed by expensive Chinese products? When has China cornered a market before, as it's doing now with lithium? And when has cornering a market by anyone ever been followed by cheaper products instead of more expensive ones? When has selling below cost ever continued after the competition has been eliminated by it?

Re:If China treats this like they did Solar Panels (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532082)

I doubt they would bother if the sale price was so low they would have to subsidize it. On the contrary, this is likely to be a major money-maker for them.

Subsidies are usually for established industries that are no longer competitive, or that are have some sort of political utility, not for new cutting edge industries.

Just because certain subsidies are illegal under WTO doesn't mean that legitimate investments by governments are banned, or that government owned businesses are banned.

Novosibirsk (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529338)

There is no Novobirsk in Russia. It is most likely Novosibirsk ().

Re:Novosibirsk (0)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530242)

Pendant.

Re:Novosibirsk (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530638)

Pedant.

Yes, I know.

Re:Novosibirsk (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533950)

Whoosh *

* The sound a swinging pendant makes

Re:Novosibirsk (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532184)

There isn't any Novosibirsk either, though there is a .

Re:Novosibirsk (2)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532208)

wow censored by slashdot. Well we may not be able to say the name here, but it isn't Novosibirsk.

world's largest??? (3, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529340)

500,000 batteries per year is considered that large? When Apple is selling close to 20,000,000 iPads/year? And iPhones, and all the PC manufacturers laptops/netbooks, and all the Android phones, and all the other phones? What do they all do, buy batteries from dozens of different manufacturers for each of their popular products? Really?

Re:world's largest??? (5, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529444)

500,000 batteries per year is considered that large? When Apple is selling close to 20,000,000 iPads/year? And iPhones, and all the PC manufacturers laptops/netbooks, and all the Android phones, and all the other phones? What do they all do, buy batteries from dozens of different manufacturers for each of their popular products? Really?

Those piddly little things are called cells. If you only have on in a device, yes you might call it a battery, but you would be bringing shame to the likes of REAL batteries. In TFA, they have a pic of a 40V/40AH *battery* which means it can deliver 1600 WH, or the equivalent of around 1,000 of those piddly little "batteries" you refer to that inhabit iThings.

Re:world's largest??? (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530064)

Actually, if you read the original article, evidently something the original poster didn't do all that carefully, it says they expect to be able to produce enough batteries to power 500,000 buses per year. It seems that the Russians and the Chinese are busy preparing to dominate the world battery for vehicles market, while we are hung up on our iPads.

Re:world's largest??? (2)

pz (113803) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530256)

Yeah, that photo is impressive.

1600 WH, for those who are uncalibrated, is approximately enough power to run a hair dryer non-stop for an hour: the maximum amount of power you can get out of a standard US wall outlet, for a solid hour straight. It would run your laptop for 2 to 3 years without sleeping. In other words, a highly non-trivial amount of electrical oomph.

Re:world's largest??? (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530542)

Yeah, that photo is impressive.

1600 WH, for those who are uncalibrated, is approximately enough power to run a hair dryer non-stop for an hour: the maximum amount of power you can get out of a standard US wall outlet, for a solid hour straight. It would run your laptop for 2 to 3 years without sleeping. In other words, a highly non-trivial amount of electrical oomph.

You are off by two orders of magnitude. This 6-cell battery [lenovo.com] is approximately 55Wh and is rated for 8 hours. Thus a 1600wh battery is enough to run your laptop for about 30 times as much, which is 240 continuous hours. That's 10 days.

Re:world's largest??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534314)

If my laptop draws 65w for 24 hours that's 1.56kwh, right? hrmm...that's not even close to 10 days, let alone 3 years. lol.

Re:world's largest??? (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532714)

That puts some things into perspective.

Imagine trying to build a battery-based energy storage system for intermittent power sources, like wind or solar.

The entire yearly output of batteries from this factory would be able to buffer less than an hour [wolframalpha.com] of the power from a 1 GW power plant!

Compared to our ability to generate power, our capability to store it is still quite poor.

Re:world's largest??? (1)

lindi (634828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529472)

How much energy can the iPad battery hold? The article talks about 200 Ah (3.7*V*200*A*3600*s = 2.6 MJ?).

Re:world's largest??? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529522)

Maybe it's the world's largest plant, but other battery sellers must have lots of plants. And yes, big device manufacturers often buy from multiple suppliers.

Maybe this is a big plant, but it doesn't see like it's going to do much to "dominate the lithium ion battery industry."

Re:world's largest??? (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530630)

Not world's biggest plant. The plant builds the world's biggest batteries. Due to a translation error, the batteries measure 1m on a side.

Re:world's largest??? (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38531616)

Not world's biggest plant. The plant builds the world's biggest batteries. Due to a translation error, the batteries measure 1m on a side.

Ah, that's more like it. Although I focused on number of batteries made in a year, I also find it highly unlikely that 40,000 square feet was the world's largest factory for *anything*. Here's hoping you get modded up soon ;-)

Awesome Company Name (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529372)

Thunder Sky is an awesome name. RusNano pales in comparison, then straight up faints. I'd love to see more of these odd pairings... "Thai company Robogasm has announced plans to build a microprocessor plant with British owned Drolltech". "African firm KittenRocket's joint venture with Spain's SpainSoft has analysts excited". "Destiny Blaster LLC of Florida is building a plant in Canada with local firm Polite Neighbor Software Inc".

looks like waste of lithium (1)

SergeyKurdakov (802336) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529394)

from press release it is clear, that the plant is not for plug in hybrids market ( and the possible answer - is low quality,which in below the current plugin batteries ). For buses and for grid storage - molten salt batteries are preferred ( because materials are much more abundant and cheaper and for these applications the biggest problems of molten salt batteries ( high temperature ) could be of less significance than in cars ). There are examples of such uses http://asmoronurhadi.blogspot.com/2011/03/tindo-worlds-first-solar-electric-bus.html [blogspot.com] and http://engineering.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2011/03/11/so-what-battery-technology-powers-our-electric-bus/ [lincoln.ac.uk] etc, there are new developments http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/low-temperature-molten-salt-battery-ten.html [nextbigfuture.com] http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/11/sumitomo-2011111.html [greencarcongress.com] in this field, which could make molten salt batteries even more attractive. and if to consider, that lithium reserves are quite limited - mass production of low quality batteries seems a strange idea. I can't say for any good reasons for RUSNANO except they need to spend huge money on something ( they have a big budget and just few mostly idiotic projects )- it is moronic organization which is run by the man who put Russia into poverty in 90s due to badly designed reforms and any degree of idiotism could be expected, but what drives Chinese in this venture is an intresting question. It might turn out, that both sides are driven by bureaucratic logic and thus the project has no real value.

Re:looks like waste of lithium (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529538)

Laptops, cameras, tablets, smartphones, electric bikes and everything robotic weighing less than a car sure is a tiny market and doesn't benefit at all from more batteries availible...
Oh wait...

Re:looks like waste of lithium (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529920)

Yeah, because more supply in the market for batteries that weigh tens or hundreds of pounds will have all sorts of influence on the market for sub-1 pound batteries used in laptops, cameras, tablets and phones.

Re:looks like waste of lithium (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529550)

But not a bad way to accumulate a lot of lithium while it's still widely available.

Re:looks like waste of lithium (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530030)

Lithium is extremely common, being element #3 and all.

Re:looks like waste of lithium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533974)

That makes no sense whatsoever. It's like saying Gold is more prevalent than Lead, because it occurs earlier on the periodic table of elements..

Re:looks like waste of lithium (1)

emilper (826945) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529720)

they put it in Novosibirsk, which means the batteries won't be exported ... the army needs batteries too :)

Not sure all the projects are idiotic ... they might not make sense per se, but you need to train engineers and line managers before you get to build the real stuff, no matter how good your research and design team is.

Worked with a couple of guys from Novosibirsk, they were good ... to bad the management was crap, but the management was in yet another country.

Re:looks like waste of lithium (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530112)

Molten salt batteries are nice for grid storage (though I gather flow batteries ha an advantage there: If space is no object, it'll give you the lowest Ah-per-$), but.. busses? Do you really want to put something inside a bus that, in the event of a crash, will either explode or splash molten salt over the passangers?

Li-ion does have the advantage of being an established, tested technology, and only dangerous if you are stupid enough to short one.

The situation with molten salt will change if Sumitomo's developments pay off and get it down to the claimed 57c, but I'm dubious regarding how well they'll live up to the press release. Doing it in the lab is one thing, a bus is quite another.

Also, molten salt would be useless for cars... the cells take time to warm up! No-one will buy a car that needs to be warmed up ten minutes in advance of any journey. Not a problem for busses, when all trips are scheduled in advance.

Re:looks like waste of lithium (1)

SergeyKurdakov (802336) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532336)

no cells do not warm up, they are kept warm all the time using insulation ( consider that on the other temp range is a liquid hydrogen and it it stored for quite a while in cars ), the insulation adds cost, but less, than difference between lithium and molten salt cost. for that reason molten salt vehicles work ok at - 40 C while lithium cars just stop working. also molten salt does not explode, though can splash, but in buses it is situated such that it is last thing to be hit from outside. li ion batteries actually is a sort of relatively recent breakthrough, that is why so much hype around. but there are other alternatives, btw, such as aluminium air or zink air batteries (and even li air batteries). there are still problems with them - but at the cost/weight side - they are the only batteries which can compete with gasoline, so it is really strange that instead of attempts to improve in a way which can finally resolve gasoline dependance relatively scarce lithium is wasted.

Not Really. (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530168)

Maybe the Chinese figure that if they ship large quantities of lithium to Russia for use in their green bus technology efforts, they will build out their lithium industrial manufacturing base, and help them further dominate the alternative energy technology markets.

Given our addiction to products like iPads and cellphones, we will buy them at any price and since most of that production is already in China now, our economy simply serves as a conduit to feed theirs. They have to do something with all those dollars we are sending them right? It would seem that Chinese energy plans are light-years ahead of those in the US, where corporations are doing all they can to keep us dependent on post-peak oil. The location of the plant makes sense, as its not too far from Chinese lithium sources, so freight costs on their expanding rail networks will actually work to their advantage providing a double pay off to two industries, as well as strengthening their strategic ties with the neighbors.

Re:Not Really. (3, Interesting)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38533312)

Please cease the cheer leading for China. They deal with any country in the world that can provide them with cheap resources. They are extreme pragmatists (which is not totally bad) and don't give a shit about anything as long as they get what they want. Environmental protection, rouge regimes of all kinds, and worker safety do not enter into the way they conduct business. If the US operated in the same manner they would be criticized even more than they are already. And it has been predicted that China is going to surpass the US economy and that China is taking US manufacturing jobs but the US still has the highest GDP and is still the number one manufacturer in world with 1/3 of the population China. China has started posting trade deficits after years of surpluses. Some of their rising trade deficits are due to their increased food imports from the US by a factor of 6 over the past 5 years. Currency manipulation is their economic weapon of choice to make sure thier exports are cheap. However, they have pushed the currency manipulation as far as possible and the cost of their exports are rising which is creating opportunities for others to compete. This has also led to a high level of inflation in the country which will also contribute raise the costs of their exports because the workers will require higher salaries to compensate for the inflation. If the Chinese government can not control this trend they would be in danger of destabilizing the country. The only thing they offer to the international market is low prices. Quality and innovation are absent in their economic system. And if push ever came to shove the US could increase import tariffs and impose import quotas because China does not supply anything the US can not produce domestically or obtain from someone else. Contrary to popular belief China is also not loaning the US money. They are making investments that they consider low risk. They only account for approximately 6% of the outstanding US bonds and securities so they hardly own the country.

Re:looks like waste of lithium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38530828)

I agree - the Russians and Chinese forming this venture have made a grave mistake, and should have consulted with you first on the question of efficiency, among other things.

Alas, if they had only written about their intent to do this, then read the Slashdot comments, they could have saved so much money...

Good Luck with That (1, Informative)

Kagato (116051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529426)

A lot fo american companies went into Russia in the 90s and most of them got burned. The corruption in Russia makes Chinese corruption look quaint. One company I worked for would send crates full of high tech computers and equipment to the factories in Russia, only to find a bunch of rocks in the crates when they opened them up in the factory.

Re:Good Luck with That (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38530186)

I look forward to watching the results of this investment (corrupt China investing in corrupt Russia).

Novobirsk? (2)

Svenne (117693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529460)

For some reason, the summary says Novobirsk. It should of course be Novosibirsk.

Re:Novobirsk? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529744)

Washington, Wangton, same thing!

Re:Novobirsk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38530010)

ivan: "can I buy a wowel, Wanna?

Largest, by what measure? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529628)

The article alludes to the plant's status as "largest" is due to the fact that it is 40,000 sq. feet (quote: "The collaborative facility, named Liotech, will have an area exceeding 40,000 square feet – making it the largest lithium-ion battery factory in the world.")... But in the US a plant recently opened totaling 291,000 sq. feet (see http://ir.a123systems.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=506787 [a123systems.com] ). Which is it? Largest by cell count perhaps?

Re:Largest, by what measure? (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530882)

It's supposed to be 40,000 square meters (check the press release) which would be >400,000 square feet.

Novosibirsk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38529714)

You mean Novosibirsk?

Novobirsk? (2)

idji (984038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38529900)

Is that a city in Beria, or do you mean Novosibirsk in Siberia? Please spell check before you submit.

Re:Novobirsk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38531216)

I doubt any /. spellchecker would pick up the correct spelling.

For those who don't have a clue, Novosibursk is the 3rd largest City in Russia and the capital of Siberia.I worked there from time to time in the 90's.

Yo Dawg (1)

bwayne314 (1854406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530002)

I heard you like battery, so we put some batteries in your bat so you can battery while you batter.

That's Nothing (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530532)

500,000 batteries a year? Google just activated 37 million Android devices in a single day, 74 times as much. The world would need over 22,000 of these factories to keep up, if that rate persists, as it will soon enogh, for only Android devices. How is this a big deal?

It's good for China and Russia to have mutual trade in high-tech stuff that's cheap. If the world's consumers can be organized to force the two countries to clean up their filthy lithium refining industry (the reason it's cheaper in places like Russia and China), that would clean things up and give Russia and China more work in this productive industry. Which is a good alternative to the gangster alternatives.

And better than the war between Russia and China that has raged periodically for dozens, even hundreds or thousands of years.

factory capacity 1 GWh (1)

jfb2252 (1172123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38530746)

From the press release: "The new factory has design capacity of more than 1 GWh"

in Soviet Russia, the battery spies on you (1)

jsepeta (412566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38531664)

actually, that's a beautiful way to get secrets from Americans

Re:in Soviet Russia, the battery spies on you (1)

LanceUppercut (766964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38532584)

Last time I checked most of American secrets were secret for one reason only: so that no one would know that these secrets were stolen from Russians in the first place.

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532580)

"...Thank you for calling USA-One Credit. My name Peggy..."

read planet instead of plant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38532582)

I misread it as planet instead of plant for some reason... hahaha battery planet...

Titanium Germanium batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38533570)

Well, they've already mastered Titanium-Germanium batteries (Ti-ger), so all they need to do is combine that with their Li-Ion factories to make Tigons and Ligers, which are always awesome.

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