Samsung SDI Drops Fuel Cell Business To Focus More Intensely On Batteries

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 38

Samsung SDI introduced new battery products include the prototype of high energy density battery cell for EVs that enables them to drive for up to 600 kilometers by charging once, 'low height pack' and 'low voltage system (LVS)' for EVs at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI introduced new battery products include the prototype of high energy density battery cell for EVs that enables them to drive for up to 600 kilometers by charging once, ‘low height pack’ and ‘low voltage system (LVS)’ for EVs at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI's high-performance 18650 battery, which will be inserted in JAC Motors's new electric SUV iEV6S

Samsung SDI’s high-performance 18650 battery, which will be inserted in JAC Motors’s new electric SUV iEV6S

Samsung SDI is in the process of dropping all non-profitable divisions.

As it turns out, the fuel cell division is one of Samsung’s loss leaders and, as such, it will exit the fuel cell market completely.

A company spokesman stated:

“Samsung SDI decided to drop fuel cell-related business projects, as the outlook of the market isn’t good.”

Samsung will unload all of its fuel cell-related equipment for a “few million dollars,” which will then be re-invested in core division at Samsung, including battery development.

Starting last year, Samsung began to dump all non-profitable divisions. This included both its chemical division and plasma display program.

Samsung SDI is now almost solely focused on electric car batteries and EV-related parts, in addition to general lithium-ion batteries.

As Korea Times explains:

“Samsung SDI plans to invest more than 3 trillion won in batteries for EVs and the EV-related parts businesses over the next five years in what the company believes is enough to become the world’s top battery supplier by 2020.”

Source: Korea Times

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38 responses to "Samsung SDI Drops Fuel Cell Business To Focus More Intensely On Batteries"

  1. tftf says:

    Depending on FX rates that’s about 3 billion USD. Impressive given what they already invested in batteries.

    1. Cavaron says:

      Hope they invest in a production rampup.

  2. Leptoquark says:

    You can keep a balloon inflated only so long when it’s full of holes. Toyota is making heroic and expensive efforts at it’s own balloon. How long will Toyota keep trying?

    1. The last numbers I heard for Toyota’s cash balance, was $65 Billion, a couble years ago! Maybe, if they are having a dwindling balance due to Mirai & FCV development, they will give it up before they reach ‘Only’ $10 Billion in cash reserves!

      They could take just One Billion $ now and go out into the world and install DC QC’s, in the amount of $100,000 per unit, and have 10,000 such units installed!

      (I would hope, with such a large number of units to be installed, they could refine the process sufficient that they could average two DC QC’s installed per $100,000, making it possible to install 20,000 units for their Billion $!)

      1. Seth says:

        Fastned is installing a double DCFC with Canopy and street work for 200k euro.

        They use ABB Terra 53 CJG units and I doubt you can make an entire installation with labour for 100k. Permits need grease too, without someone guiding and watching the process it is prone to stall.

      2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        They can but what is the point? It is easy but it is not a substitute for 3 minute refuel time gas or hydrogen station and doesn’t work for trucks or their whole product line. Fuel cells are more difficult and more long term, so you better drop it or don’t even try if you don’t have $50 billions cash file and can’t afford luxury of decade long development. If you have though it may pay off in the long term.

        1. Priusmaniac says:

          Long term, yes indeed that will be extremely long term. In the order of a trillion years, if they are lucky enough to see physical laws start to change over this extremely long period.

        2. Nick says:

          I suspect the laws of physics are going to be the same in decades. 😉

          Low efficiency leaves fuel cell passenger cars DOA.

          PS. It takes closer to 10 minutes to fill a 14GGE 3600 psi CNG tank, and that’s for an 80% fill. I’ll bet H2 fills are similar.

          Thanks!

          1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            You may get out of the cave and look around. Fuel cell stack & tank in existing Mirai car weights about third of 1000+ lb Bolt or Tesla battery that has shorter range, that may get shorter by half in winter because batteries don’t produce much excess heat. What kind of efficiency tale you can tell when you need to carry around extra 1000 lb? Efficiency from your outlet to wheels? Sure, but your outlet isn’t powered by pink unicorns. Primary source of its power is inefficient burning of coal or gas many miles away using expensive electric grid with overhead that raises energy cost at least couple of times. The electric grid can’t use non-dispatchable solar/wind energy on wide scale without converting it to hydrogen first for longer term storage.

            How long it takes refuel is well known. There are few cars on the road and no need to speculate. It is by order of magnitude shorter time than charging at “fast” charger.

            1. Speculawyer says:

              You have a lot of false info there. The grid is 96% efficient. The grid does not raise the energy costs ‘a couple times’. And, yes, despite an extra 1000 pounds an ev is far more efficient.

              And do you think hydrogen comes from pink unicorns? It has a terrible supply chain that either emits mass amounts of co2 and/or is very inefficient.

              There are good reasons every company except one has largely given up on fuel cells.

              1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

                Grid is no way 96% efficient. Direct transmission and distribution losses are 6% in the US according to EIA. These are direct losses only. Do you seriously think the diesel truck that electric utility response team uses is powered by unicorns? There are much bigger indirect losses to maintain grid, and big overhead to maintain close 100% availability that Musk followers conveniently ignore as it ruins their logic.
                Average residential rate is 12cnt/kWh in the US. Industrial rate is 6cnt/kWh.
                Wind power purchase agreements in 2014 went under 2.5¢/kWh:
                http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/08/10/study-finds-that-the-price-of-wind-energy-in-the-united-states-is-at-an-all-time-low-averaging-under-2-5%C2%A2kwh/
                Yet you pay to utility about 5 times more than wind power generator receives. Or maybe 10 time more than these 2.5 cnt if you are on in Germany or California. So all-inclusive efficiency goes to 10-20%. That is when wind share is low. When wind share is high, with 20%-40% wind power availability,
                it is totally impossible. You need to operate dispatchable coal & natural gas plants for grid. You don’t need fracking to produce hydrogen but you can use existing natural gas network and whole season storage for it:
                http://www.itm-power.com/project/wind-hydrogen-development-platform
                http://phys.org/news/2016-04-hydrogen-natural-gas-network-greener.html

  3. It would be decent of them if they would set up a business wing to provide batteries and battery pack building tech support to the aftermarket world of EV Conversions!

    They could also build 12V, 24V, 36V, and 48V Modules, each with internal BMS and Series/Parallel Connectivity capability!

    That would allow faster uptake and Battery building for smaller businesses in the EV Conversion process, as well as rapid usability by OEM’s looking to get a quicker start into BEV’s and PHEV’s!

    1. mr. M says:

      Dear Robert,

      A decently developed product,a battery easy scalable, with high desity and mid power?

      So basically each battery a own battery pack. Battery pack cost are huge. It’s not uncommon that pack price is double the cell price. I dont think such a soultion would be possible to produce below 600-800€/kWh.

      At that price most people will say no. Since they will have only little interest in the product, economic of scale would shift the price closer to 800€/kWh.

  4. Anon says:

    Yay, they finally did the math! Fuel Cells S T U P I D.

  5. ffbj says:

    Like rats deserting a sinking ship.

    1. Joshua Burstyn says:

      Well… maybe but fuel cells do have valid applications. Cars don’t appear to be one of them at this point hence Samsung’s exit of the market.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        Yes indeed but they are very rare. The only one that make sense is for Moon night time energy storage. It require less mass imported from Earth than batteries and is possible for large volumes. In more it doubles as reserve Oxygen supply and rocket fuel supply.
        Apart from that very specific one, there is not much interest.

        1. Just_Chris says:

          Nonsense, batteries are about 10 times cheaper per kW than fuel cells and fuel cells are about 10 to 100 times cheaper than batteries per kWh. Any application where you need a lot of energy but not much power a fuel cell works out as a better match than a battery.

          I really despise the stupid faith based debate on technology that seems to be the ways things are done these days. Solar is ineffective at night so if you need power at night maybe you need a wind turbine but it doesn’t mean solar is a waste of time. Same with batteries and fuel cells, if you can charge your car at home and drive short distances every day you’d be crazy to go with a fuel cell but that doesn’t mean there is no application for the technology.

          1. Priusmaniac says:

            If you need a lot of energy, on Earth, a pump storage unit is more efficient and cheaper than a fuel cell. If the energy is lower batteries are more interesting. So, indeed the fuel cell as energy storage system is under competition from both sides and kind of fall off the boat. The Moon with very high energy for an underground dome city is an exception because low gravity makes a pump storage unit difficult especially since you need also more water than for a fuel cell.
            On the other side direct ethanol or methanol fuel cells can have other application like submarines but hydrogen one have very few interesting application potential.

  6. nwdiver says:

    Yep… FUD is not a renewable resource 😉

    1. Anon says:

      It is at Toyota…

  7. Holger says:

    Put attractive cars on the road and the rest will follow.

    1. beta995 says:

      They may need an ugly cycle, before the beautiful cycle.

  8. Bill Howland says:

    I still can’t get over the statement TOYOTA made at the unveiling of the MIRAI, stating that it was a more important vehicle than the Prius.

    Toyota has to know that their accidental ‘mistake’ of developing the Prius to counter an imaginary (at the time) GM threat (this was during the big-bad GM days), was the car that actually got the second EV revolution going (the first was over 100 years ago).

    So you would think the management must have been totally brainwashed to think that a super-complicated (both in the car AND the infrastructure – something we hear almost nothing about) development with huge up-front costs would ever convince John Q. Public that he should ever buy one.

    It takes a while, but even in my poor neck of the woods, I’m seeing more Volts, especially the new ones, around here every day. I think it is because it is a value-leader, and it is a safe gamble by the purchaser.

    You would have to be a “Hydrogen Nerd” to want to fork over beaucoup bucks for a Mirai or a Fuel Cell Clarity -….. Now apparently Honda is circumspect and is offering a TOTALLY BEV, and PHEV models so they can at least keep making the last two types of clarities when the Fuel Cell car market drops through the basement – or should I say, never gets out of it, Free Fuel for 3 years not withstanding.

  9. midimal says:

    Psst don’t tell that Toyota, Huyndai or Honda 🙂

  10. Lad says:

    I see hydrogen as an excellent application in hybrid airliners using fuel cells to generate electricity into a buffer battery and then to ducted electric motor fans for propulsion. The steering will be by gimbaling the drive fans to reduce control surface drag. Burning hydrogen instead of fossil fuels in the upper air will greatly reduce emissions. FC caars are truly a waste of resources and make no sense.

    1. SparkEV says:

      If you’re doing that, why bother with extra weight and complexity of FC and fan? Just carry oxygen and burn it like rocket motor. If FC+fan is more efficient, SpaceX would be using that, at least in atmosphere, instead of rocket motor.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        The Falcon 9 rocket is only spending 60 seconds in the atmospheric zone dense enough for an electrofan to work. In more it is already supersonic within that 60 second timeframe. So it is not that simple and would add in complexity. But perhaps it would be possible to add strap on GE 90 that would assist at take off and separate at 20000 m before coming back and landing back vertically in the form of quadripods with 4 GE 90 each. Four of those quadripods GE 90 on a Falcon 9 would serve as boosters. Later on when batteries, not FC, are more energetic, the GE 90 would be replaced by battery powered electrofans as a way to start the electric hybridization of the Falcon 9.

        1. Priusmaniac says:

          Watching the last launch in detail, the Falcon 9 is actually not yet supersonic after 60 seconds and only at 7000 m, it goes supersonic after 75 seconds at 11000 m. So, GE90 fans could act a little longer and spare rocket push up to that altitude and speed. The rocket works for 75 more seconds after that point, so the GE90 strap on would allow a halving of the rocket operation. This mean that at term the Falcon 9 first stage could at least be half electrofan based which could be enough to justify the extra complexity.
          You can watch back the last launch here at 19 minutes mark and by the way take some pleasure watching the 27 minute mark drone ship landing again too.
          http://www.spacex.com/webcast

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          Looking further the GE90-115B has a rated thrust of 513 KN (115,300 lbf), so that would be 2052 KN for a quadripod and 8208 KN (1844800 lbf) for 4 stap on quadripods. The first stage Falcon 9, 9 Merlin engines produce 6,806kN (1530000 lbf). The landing legs on the Falcon 9 provide 4 anchor points where the quadripods could be attached at take off. Vertical landing of turbofan based quadrupod has to be demonstrated but the X-22 landed vertical with four ducted fans which indicate reasonable feasibility.

  11. M st. J says:

    I would like to see Samsung get into the after markets. Bump the range o a 2012 Leaf to 125-150 mile range. Mine was like new when I turned it in. The range was down to about 65 miles and that was just not acceptable An aftermarket kit would have made it better than new.

    1. mr. M says:

      The small numbers of Leafs (~400.000) don’t justify a conversion kit yet. Especialy when chances are high that nissan themselves will sell a high mile Leaf in less than 2 years and potentialy will provide battery upgrades in 5-7 years.

  12. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “Samsung SDI decided to drop fuel cell-related business projects, as the outlook of the market isn’t good.”

    Ya think?

  13. Chris says:

    M st. J – your 2012 Leaf was a batch made in the early days of the model, that were produced with inferior battery packs to what were used later in the production cycle. Nissan and its battery partner managed to overcome those early degradation issues. Ay such aftermarket kit as you describe, would need to be a substantial upgrade to make it worthwhile for both consumer and battery maker. I don’t think this is impossible anymore given Samsung already have a 600km range EV pack. They just need to sell it.. and sell it soon! Back on topic, today’s news is proof the Hydrogen fool cell’s days are numbered, and the tech should finally be on death row.

  14. Michael B says:

    Hydrogen is not a solution and is only a way for oil companies to survive in the future. Glad we seeing the demise of some hydrogen work

  15. JR says:

    Sorry to hear that almost everybody dislike fuels cells, this is a great technology for storing electric Energy for a long time (for cars I don’t see much use for it).
    I would love to see a solution for houses, with hydrogen tanks instead of oil tanks, supplying energy and heat for all winter and using solar panels to produce the energy.
    And for short term Electricity (night) a small battery pack

    1. Scott Franco says:

      Fuel cells worked great for applications like spacecraft that had plenty of pure hydrogen available. For cars and fixed uses, ie., houses and buildings, the availability of hydrogen never made sense. For a long time the miracle solution of a “stripper” that could make hydrogen from natural gas or even regular gasoline and fit into a small space was sought. It never came about, and even if it had, it would have just replaced one emission source with another. A good example are the few fixed applications for electrical backup generators, such as for hospitals or very remote installations that needed power. Fuel cells would be perfect for that, but most such applications use far cheaper conventional ICE running on NG.

      It helps to remember that fuel cells have not changed that much since the spacecraft days.

  16. G2 says:

    Fuel cells may be the way to get ships off of (the majority of) fossil fuels to move goods around the planet.