Industry Trends

January 2022

See what has been happening in Asia’s petrochemicals, agrochemicals, automotive, bio energy, and mining industries over the last weeks. What are experts and industry magazines talking about?

What has been happening?

EV battery costs set to rise in 2022, Deep-sea research aim to tap world’s largest source of EV battery metals, USDA maintains forecast for soybean use in biofuel, and more. See what journals and industry experts have been discussing in the last four weeks.

Latest Industry Articles

EV battery costs set to rise in 2022

The cost of batteries for electric vehicles is set to rise in 2022 as supplies of raw materials fail to keep up with rising demand. Prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate in China jumped this year to a record high of 261,500 yuan ($41,060) per tonne, more than five times higher than last January. Other commodities used in cathodes have also been rising. The cobalt price has doubled since last January to $70,208 a tonne, while nickel jumped 15% to $20,045 a tonne.
Deep-sea research campaign aims to tap world’s largest known source of EV battery metals

The Metals Company (NASDAQ: TMC), formerly Deep Green Metals, an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, announced Thursday the completion of its latest offshore research campaign, Environmental Expedition 5E, a targeted sampling campaign of both benthic and pelagic fauna with wider investigations to characterize ecosystem function on the abyssal seafloor.
USDA maintains forecast for soybean oil use in biofuel
Biodiesel Magazine

The USDA maintained its 2021-’22 forecast for soybean oil use in biofuel production in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released Jan. 12. Soybean production is expected to be higher, with soybean oil prices unchanged.
CO2 storage project in America’s coal country one step closer to becoming a reality

A second deep test well for site characterization is being drilled near Basin Electric’s Dry Fork Station near Gillette, in Wyoming, where the CarbonSAFE program is working to determine the suitability of the underground geological formations for commercial-scale carbon dioxide storage.
BHP warns of difficult outlook for iron ore
Mining Technology

BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, has warned investors of an increasingly troubling outlook for its iron ore business due to the proposed easing of border restrictions in Western Australia (WA). In an operational review, BHP said that the planned reopening of WA’s borders on 5 February was likely to “introduce some short-term disruption to the operating environment as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves in the state”.
Cleantech boom 2.0: Does mining have a place?
Mining Technology

The climate crisis is back at the forefront of political discussions following COP26 and several initiatives aiming to reduce carbon emissions have been announced. Decarbonising our economy is a difficult but urgent task and continued technological innovation will help. Although new technologies will aid the reduction of carbon emissions, the sheer volume of raw materials required to innovate are significant.
Price of nickel reaches 10-year high
Mining Technology

The price of nickel, a key component in the production of electric vehicle (EV) batteries, has hit a decade high. The rise reflects a broader boom in the commodity market due to falling stockpiles of critical metals and a production increase of EV’s from car manufacturers. On Wednesday, the price of nickel rose by 4% to a high of $22,745 a tonne, with stockpiles falling for the 51st day.
Innovations in mining and the future of the industry
Mining Technology

There are two headline factors that are driving the future of the mining industry, namely digitisation and sustainability. Planning and designing a fully digitally connected mine, that also has a zero-carbon footprint, is the nirvana most mining companies across the world are hoping to achieve.
Indian sugar mills earn $4.7B in ethanol sales over past four years
Biofuels Digest

In India, the Hindu Business Line reports that during the past four years, sugar mills have earned $4.7 billion from ethanol sales which has gone a long way towards helping pay off farmer dues. During the 2020/21 sugar year that ended in September, 2.2 million metric tons of sugar was diverted towards ethanol production. The country has a chronic sugar surplus which has led in part to policies urging a rapid increase in ethanol production and consumption.
Indian researchers develop lithium-ion battery that can be recharged with solar energy

Researchers at India’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have developed a compact lithium-ion battery with photosensitive materials that can be directly recharged with solar energy. According to the scientists, previous efforts to channel solar energy to recharge batteries used photovoltaic cells and batteries as separate entities. Solar energy, thus, was converted by the photovoltaic cells into electrical energy that was consequently stored as chemical energy in the batteries.
US expected to be top exporter of LNG in 2022; China top importer
Petroleum News

In 2021 the United States was the third largest exporter of liquefied natural gas – after Australia and Qatar – but this year the U.S. is projected, for the first time, to top the list. On the import side, China surpassed Japan last year as the largest importer of LNG, the first time Japan has not…
China State Refiners Led Record Oil Processing Volumes

China’s oil processing volumes rose more than 4% to a record last year as state-owned refiners boosted output and new integrated plants came online. Crude refining climbed to 703.55 million tons, or 14.13 million barrels per day.
Indonesia plans B40 biodiesel road tests next month
Biofuels Digest

In Indonesia, Reuters reports the government will launch B40 road tests in February as it works to eventually roll out the higher blend. Currently 30% biodiesel in blended with fossil diesel but the country wants to push for 40%, 50% and eventually 100% biodiesel to support the local palm oil industry while reducing foreign exchange expenditures on fossil fuel imports. The road tests are planned to take five months, after which a decision about the increased blending mandate will be made.
Indonesia to review coal export ban
Mining Technology

Indonesia’s state utility planner announced that it secured an extra 7.5 million tonnes of coal supplies on 4 January and will hold talks with government officials today regarding the country’s coal export ban. This follows an announcement by the energy ministry that the government would seek an export ban on coal for January.
Malaysian biodiesel exports seen at five-year low in 2022 due to EU policy
Biofuels Digest

In Malaysia, Reuters reports the country’s biodiesel exports are expected to fall to their lowest in five years in 2022 due to the European Union’s phasing out of palm oil-based biofuels at just 250,000 metric tons. Exports last year were 300,000 tons. With the European Commission expecting biofuel use to fall by 2031, the situation isn’t likely to improve for palm oil producers even if a trade solution was found between the EU and Malaysia over the controversial policy shift away from palm oil.
Lycopodium selected for Indonesia’s Batu Hijau Plant expansion project
Mining Technology

Lycopodium has received an engineering and construction management services contract for the Batu Hijau Process Plant Expansion Project in Indonesia. Valued at more than $25.8m (A$36m), the contract has been awarded by PT Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara (PT AMNT), part of Newmont Mining, that runs the Batu Hijau mine. Under the contract, Lycopodium will undertake detailed engineering and construction management services for the development of several key process plant areas.
Palm oil being sold via mobile market truck in Yangon region
Global New Light Of Myanmar

The palm oil is being sold via mobile market truck in the Yangon region, according to Myanmar Oil Dealers’ Association.
French energy giant Total joins push for Myanmar sanctions
Manistee News Advocate

French energy conglomerate TotalEnergies has asked the American and French governments to support targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s oil and gas funds, the largest single source of income for the country’s military leaders.
Philippines awards contract for 380km railway
The Construction Index

The Philippines Department of Transportation has signed its largest single rail contract, which is expected to generate more than 5,000 direct jobs a year during construction.
Philippines biodiesel association assures DOE of supplies for B5 mandate
Biofuels Digest

In the Philippines, the Manila Times newspaper reports that the national biodiesel association TPBA is again trying to convince the Department of Energy to boost the biodiesel blending mandate, assuring it that there is more than enough coconut oil to supply a 5% blend. Currently there is a 2% blending mandate, but a 5% mandate would require 650 million liters of B5 annually. TPBA says production capacity is currently at 877 million liters, so more than enough for the higher blend.
Japan, Thailand to launch new energy initiative for decarbonisation
Bangkok Post

Japan and Thailand agreed on Thursday to launch new energy policy dialogue and implement joint projects to promote decarbonisation, Japan’s industry ministry said, as the two countries aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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