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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up November 5, 2021

Lux Research
November 5, 2021

Every day our researchers read through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert opinions on important developments and industry news. Our analysts then evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the top news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the past week below. 

Tesla introduces LiFePo cathodes for all its standard-range vehicles

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate, Lux Research

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"The announcement comes amid the rising nickel and cobalt prices across the globe. Tesla's switch to LFP can be viewed as a move toward cheaper production costs and mitigating supply chain risks in rare earth metals like nickel and cobalt. It should not be a surprise, as Tesla offers the LFP-based batteries for the Model 3 in China and has seen a rapid increase in production and sales. Although LFP-based cells are less energy-dense, their long cycle life and lower costs are the key factors for Tesla to switch to a cobalt-free cathode; the same was predicted through our Tesla Battery Day report. Key players should view this as a significant step by Tesla, as it will likely diversify its vehicle lineup by introducing short-range budget models.

Bloom Energy receives $4.5 billion fuel cell contract and $500 million equity investment from SK Ecoplant

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"The major supply deal and equity investment is an expansion of Bloom Energy and SK Ecoplant' strategic partnership formed three years ago, which has transacted 200 MW of projects worth more than $1.8 billion. The companies have also agreed to establish two hydrogen innovation centers in the U.S. and South Korea to advance fuel cell and water electrolyzer products. The new agreements will boost Bloom Energy's market growth and reflect the progress in the electrolyzer business it started last year. South Korea seems to become a pivotal hydrogen hub in Asia, with corporations like HyundaiSK, and Doosan all committed to hydrogen. Companies should raise expectations for Bloom Energy but recognize that its SOFC products still cost about $9/W.

Memsift and Aditya Birla Group enter strategic partnership for resource recovery from cellulose fiber waste streams

Abhirabh Basu, Analyst, Lux Research

Abhirabh Basu, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"This is likely the biggest development in membrane distillation (MD) in nearly a decade. Memsift Innovations and Birla Cellulose will co-develop a zero liquid discharge and resource recovery solution. ABG is spearheading efforts in resource efficiency by closing the loop of its manufacturing to recover 95% of water and chemicals from its waste streams. While this first project will focus on ABG's cellulose plants, the Indian conglomerate plans to trial the solution at its other sites. ABG also plans on licensing Memsift's technology for sales in India and neighboring regions. Companies should note that MD technology has had commercialization challenges in the past, but Memsift has overcome technical hurdles and is scaling up operations."

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U.S. and EU end tariffs on steel and aluminum while promising pact on emissions

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director, Lux Research

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director 
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"The Trump-era tariffs also covered a wide range of goods, including Harley-Davidson bikes and American bourbon. Importantly, the deal promises an international arrangement to address both carbon emissions and overproduction for these key metals – though it remains to be seen how much the U.S. and EU can accomplish, given that China controls more than half of global steel production. While the details will take two years to hammer out, companies should view this as a major test of the effectiveness of international cooperation in decarbonizing heavy industry."

Infineon partners with Pionierkraft, enabling improved peer-to-peer energy trading for German homes

Michael Sullivan, Analyst, Lux Research

Michael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Peer-to-peer energy trading is active in many pilots, especially in countries like Germany, but regulatory frameworks have limited broad commercialization. Infineon has introduced new energy sharing hardware and partnered with Pionierkraft's software platform, enabling up to 2,000 W of electricity to be transferred between households using the low-voltage grid or energy storage. Designed to address the needs of 80 million German households, the solution appears to be an improvement over the energy storage-based minigrids. That said, it may not be widely applicable, as it relies on the gateway used in Germany to control home devices. Companies should monitor this development as one of the ways excess residential capacity can be utilized."

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Foxconn unveils three electric vehicle prototypes and plans to make shift to electric vehicles

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate, Lux Research

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"The three models, Model C, Model E, and Model T – an SUV, a passenger car, and an electric bus – were unveiled during Foxconn's tech day. This does not come as a surprise, as Foxconn previously announced a joint venture with Thailand's PTT for the manufacturing of electric vehicles, and the company has also been aggressively pursuing multiple avenues of partnership to be part of the electric vehicle (EV) segment. The company recently acquired the Lordstown Motors car plant to manufacture trucks in the U.S. and will be developing the cars in a joint venture with Yulon Motor in Taiwan. With this, Foxconn joins a list of electronics companies that have ventured into the EV segment and can be a key regional player in the competitive market."

Mitsubishi Power partners with El Paso Electric to advance hydrogen thermal power

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Mitsubishi Power and El Paso Electric (EPE) will develop a hydrogen roadmap to support the utility company's goal of an 80% carbon-free resource mix by 2035 and 100% by 2045. The first step is to convert EPE's Newman Power Stations' newest unit from 100% natural gas generation to a 30% hydrogen blend, targeting 100% hydrogen operation by 2045. By sealing the deals with EPE, Entergy, and Intermountain Power Project, Mitsubishi Power has established its position as a leading hydrogen turbine supplier. Switching to low-carbon hydrogen is a technically feasible pathway for utility companies to reduce their carbon footprint and avoid stranded assets, while the limited hydrogen supply and low efficiencies will remain bottlenecks moving forward."

Another milestone from eMagin in microOLED display brightness

Vladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Vladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"MicroOLED developer eMagin demonstrated a long-sought result of 10,000 nits' brightness for a display with 2,500 ppi pixel resolution and 1,920 × 1,200 size using its direct patterning method. The announcement brings the company to the leading combination of resolution and brightness on the market and aims to gain it a greater share of the growing virtual reality (VR) display market. While the U.S.-based public company serves specialty applications and military clients, the improvement renders eMagin's technology highly competitive for the potential far greater volumes in emerging consumer VR uses, strengthening its (and its supply chain partners') business outlook."

Did you miss last week's news round-up? Check out the blog here. Make sure you never miss a headline by subscribing to our newsletter.

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