More than four decades following the conception of Earth Day, international interest in alternative energy sources has become a strong focus of social, political and commercial enterprise. It is not just a matter of coincidence that a significant number of electric vehicle and lithium battery technology conferences have been scheduled at this time of year.
Earth Day was celebrated for the first time nearly 41 years ago this month. Intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the natural environment, the celebration became popular in the United States and around the world. The date was conceived by an environmental activist and Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, with over 20 million people participating that year, and currently observed each year by more than an estimated 500 million people and several national governments in 175 countries. Outraged by the devastation of an oilspill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, and the ensuing Washington political inertia, Senator Nelson proposed a national teach-in on the environment to be observed by every university campus in the U.S.
More than four decades later, some of the residual inertia remains; however, it is particularly evident this month that international interest in alternative energy sources have become a strong focus of social, political and commercial enterprise. It is not just a matter of coincidence that a significant number of electric vehicle and lithium battery technology conferences have been scheduled at this time of year.
International conferences, symposiums and forums
The 2nd Annual Green Fuels & Vehicles Chinawas held at the Renaissance Beijing Hotel in Beijing China on April 7-8. As China’s leading international networking and information exchange platform for the new energy vehicle industry, the event featured over 200 participants from global green fuels and vehicles fraternities including battery manufacturers, OEMs, auto component suppliers, service & solution providers and regulators discussing the policy incentives, market outlook, technical innovations and charging infrastructure development of the industry.
For lithium investors key, takeaways from the event included: plans and strategies to develop electric vehicles and technical advancements in terms of powertrain; the latest policy incentives and technical standards from the government; energy storage and charging; and major obstacles faced by the industrialization and commercialization of new energy vehicles.
This week in Barcelona, the EV Battery Forum is expected tofeature sixty speakers primarily from the Asian and European battery and vehicle markets with twenty-three vehicle manufacturers represented. Speakers will be focusing on Materials, Recharging Infrastructure, Safety, Standards and Testing issues, BMS and Powertrain. This event follows the success of the Shanghai 2009 EV Battery Forum and the Beijing 2010 EV Battery Forum. It has promised to bring an even stronger variety of topics and contacts featuring global representation, with countries such as Japan, India, USA, China, and Taiwan, in addition to a strong European contingent.
The 2011 Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) Conference is scheduled for April 19 to 21. The EDTA conference brings industry and government leaders together to advance electrified transportation. Professionals from more than 250 organizations are expected to gather in Washington, DC, for events, workshops, breakout sessions and networking with policymakers and their peers from the electric drive industry.
A motorcade of electric drive vehicles will parade through Washington, DC, on Tuesday, April 19, as part of the EDTA conference. The Honorable Steven Chu, Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE), will open the conference with the “Innovation Motorcade” from the DOE at 10 a.m. with a press conference. After the initial address, vehicles will tour the Nation’s Capital and end at the Ride, Drive and Charge event, which will be open to the public.
The following day, the Honorable Ray H. LaHood, secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, will be the keynote speaker at the opening plenary of the 2011 EDTA Conference, where leading government and industry experts will discuss the latest advances in electric drive technology and policies to accelerate the electrification of transportation.
Lithium industry investors and industry stakeholders will take note of two breakout sessions on April 20. The first session involves “Materials and Rare Earth Metals: Ramping Up for the Future” and features representatives from Chemetall Footesubsidiary of Rockwood Holdings (NYSE:ROC), Western LithiumUSA Corporation(TSXV:WLC), Envia Systems and the Rare Earth Industry and Technology Association. Themes range from the mineral extraction and production to refining and how these materials are used in components being a key to a future that includes more efficiency with less energy.
The second session will involve the “Opportunities and Advances in Lithium Batteries” and includes speakers from A123Systems (NASDAQ:AONE), JohnsonControls (NYSE:JCI), ElectrovayaInc.(TSX:EFL), Ener1Inc. (NASDAQ:HEV), Celgard and Dow Kokam. With the Recovery Act of 2009 providing a new source of funding, much of the future success and adoption rate of vehicles in the marketplace is dependant on the research, development and advancements from recycling and charging, to end-of-life issues.