Nissan Opens Plant to Give Second Life to Lithium-ion Batteries

4R Energy, a joint venture between Nissan and Sumitomo, will sell rebuilt replacement lithium-ion batteries for the first-generation Leaf.

Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor (TSE:7201) has opened a plant to give lithium-ion batteries new life after they pass their peak performance, the company announced earlier this week.

4R Energy, a joint venture between Nissan and Sumitomo (TSE:8053), will start selling rebuilt replacement lithium-ion batteries for the first-generation Leaf in May. The batteries will be produced at the new factory in Namie.

“By reusing spent EV batteries, we wanted to raise the (residual) value of EVs and make them more accessible,” Eiji Makino, CEO of 4R, told Reuters.

The new plant can process 2,250 battery packs a year, and they will cost 300,000 yen each — half the price of brand-new replacement batteries. Nissan will initially offer 24-kilowatt-hour refabricated batteries, with plans to expand the lineup.

According to the company, 4R has developed a system that quickly measures the performance of used batteries, and it plans to apply this technology to batteries collected from all over Japan.

Initially, the plan is to refabricate “a few hundred” units annually. 4R will see whether the process can also be used for batteries from the latest Leaf model, which uses a different battery chemistry.

Nissan’s move comes at a time when carmakers are looking to decrease costs by reusing and recycling batteries, as prices for key elements in lithium-ion batteries continue to surge.

Makino said it would be difficult for 4R to completely break down and recycle electric vehicle (EV) batteries on its own, but it may consider partnering with another company to retrieve reusable materials.

“Second use is potentially a really great option, but at the end of it all, batteries still need to be recycled,” said Jeff Spangenberger, energy systems researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory, adding that the profitability of battery recycling operations will depend on the volatile prices of component materials.

Nissan continues to seek ways to regain the lead in the electric vehicle market, as more competitors join the race. The Japanese carmaker is aiming to sell 1 million new energy vehicles by 2023. It also plans to develop eight pure EVs and introduce 20 electrified models by 2022 in China, the world’s biggest market.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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It’s important for zinc-focused investors to understand the basics of the zinc spot price and zinc futures.

The zinc market may have had a few rough patches in recent years, but supply disruptions and economic recovery promise to spur a revival for the zinc spot price and zinc futures.

The underdog of the base metals family is appealing in large part because its fundamentals remain strong, with many analysts optimistic about the long-term outlook for zinc.


With that in mind, it's worthwhile for investors interested in zinc to understand how zinc pricing works. Here's a brief overview of what investors need to know about the zinc spot price and zinc futures.

What is the zinc spot price?

InvestingAnswers defines "spot price" as "the current market price at which an asset is bought or sold for immediate payment and delivery." Taking it further, Investopedia states that the spot price of a security, commodity or currency "perhaps has more importance in regard to the large derivatives markets."

That might sound complex, but InvestingAnswers simplifies the idea with an example, noting that on November 29, 2010, the spot price of gold was US$1,367.40 per ounce on the Comex. "That was the price at which one ounce of gold could be purchased at that particular moment in time," notes the publication.

So what does all that information mean in terms of zinc? Put simply, the zinc spot price is the current price that zinc is being bought and sold for. Investors looking for that information often turn to Kitco, which publishes a 24 hour zinc spot price chart, as well as 30 day, 60 day, six month, one year and five year zinc spot price charts. These charts are a great resource for those looking for current and historical information on the price of zinc and its spot market.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is also a good source for the zinc spot price, but unlike Kitco, the LME publishes zinc spot price information in US dollars per tonne, not US dollars per pound. It's worth noting that some of the LME's zinc market details are only accessible to those who log in to the site.

What about zinc futures?

An understanding of the zinc spot price would be incomplete without knowledge of zinc futures. Why? As InvestingAnswers notes, the spot price of a security is important in and of itself, but "becomes an even more important concept when it's viewed through the eyes of the US$3 trillion derivatives market." As a side note, today's derivatives market is worth much more than that.

A derivative is a contract whose value is derived from the performance of an underlying entity. Examples of derivatives include forwards, options and, of course, futures, which let buyers lock in a price that they commit to buying an asset at in the future. That's desirable because it allows investors to reduce risk.

The key concept to understand is that the spot price of a security refers to its current price, while the futures price of a security refers to its price at a future date. The two are connected because spot prices, along with the risk-free rate and the contract's time to maturity, are used to set futures prices.

In terms of how that all relates to zinc, the Options Guide notes that investors interested in zinc can trade zinc futures on the LME under the contract code ZS in lots of 25 tonnes. The physical specifications for these lots call for zinc at a minimum of 99.995 percent purity conforming to BS EN 1179:2003.

As mentioned, futures trading allows investors to manage risk. Another article on the Options Guide explains how that works using the following chart:

chart explaining a zinc futures example

In the scenario displayed in the chart, the zinc price moved only 10 percent, yet the return on investment was 61 percent.

According to the publication, "This leverage was made possible by the relatively low margin (approximately 17 percent) required to control a large amount of zinc represented by each contract." Of course, leverage can work both ways, and it can be harmful for investors in adverse market conditions.

Investor takeaway

As can be seen, having some knowledge of the zinc spot price and zinc futures can be beneficial for investors interested in entering the zinc space. While stockpile supply concerns have been prevalent in the zinc market, some analysts believe that high annual benchmark treatment charges for miners will continue to remove higher-cost supply and support prices.

It will certainly be interesting to watch how the market develops and to see what profits can be made.


This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2016.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

With interest in ETFs on the rise, now may be the time for environmentally minded investors to think about clean energy ETFs.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been gaining popularity in North America in a wide range of industries, including clean energy ETFs.

ETF inflows have reached record levels in recent years. So far, 2021 is on track to be a record year for global ETF inflows, totaling US$639.8 billion in the first half of the year — more than double the same period in 2020.


The rising demand for these investment products has spurred fund houses to launch more ETFs in 2021 and even to convert their existing mutual funds into ETFs. Reuters reported that, according to Refinitiv data, 709 ETFs have been launched in 2021 as of July 21, 2021, compared with just 428 in the same period in 2020.

In terms of clean energy ETFs, they are a safe way for investors to gain exposure to the clean energy industry while avoiding the volatility that comes with investing in individual stocks.

Below is a look at the five top clean energy ETFs to consider, ranked by total assets under management (AUM). All numbers and figures were gathered using ETFdb.com and were current as of November 10, 2021.

1. iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQ:ICLN)

AUM: US$6.826 billion

The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF was created on June 24, 2008, and has a large portfolio with domestic and international stocks in its holdings.

An analyst report on the ETF states that the fund "likely doesn't deserve" a large weighting in an investor's long-term portfolio. It suggests that the fund could be useful as a "satellite holding" that looks at a fraction of the market that is often overlooked by less focused ETFs.

Three of the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF's top-weighted holdings include: Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH) with a 9.37 percent weighting, Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) at 6.09 percent and SolarEdge Technologies (NASDAQ:SEDG) at 5.36 percent.

2. First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (NASDAQ:QCLN)

AUM: US$3.38 billion

The First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund, which officially came into existence on February 14, 2007, is a "unique member" of the alternative energy category, according to ETFdb.com. Why? Because it invests in companies that have interests in different green energy subsectors, such as biofuels, solar energy and advanced batteries.

ETFdb.com also states that because of this ETF's focus, it may be appealing to investors looking for broader exposure in the alternative energy sector. Three of its highest-weighted holdings are Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) at 9.31 percent, Enphase Energy at 7.7 percent and NIO (NYSE:NIO) at 6.92 percent.

3. Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (ARCA:PBW)

AUM: US$2.175 billion

Begun on March 3, 2005, the Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF focuses on clean energy companies using green and renewable energy and technologies that help with cleaner energy.

Currently this ETF's top-weighted holdings include Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) at 2.21 percent, EVgo (NASDAQ:EVGO) at 2.11 percent and Enovix (NASDAQ:ENVX) at 2.02 percent.

4. ALPS Clean Energy ETF (ARCA:ACES)

AUM: US$1.12 billion

The ALPS Clean Energy ETF was formed recently, on June 29, 2018. The majority of the companies in this ETF are based in North America.

The top three holdings of the ETF are Plug Power, Tesla and Enphase Energy with weightings of 6.88 percent, 6.22 percent and 6.14 percent, respectively.

5. SPDR S&P Kensho Clean Power ETF (ARCA:CNRG)

AUM: US$422.72 million

The SPDR S&P Kensho Clean Power ETF was launched in October 2018 and tracks companies whose products and services are driving innovation behind the clean energy sector, which includes the areas of solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power.

The fund currently has 44 holdings. The top three by weight are Tesla at 4.82 percent, Enphase at 4.09 percent and First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) at 3.57 percent.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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