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Magnesium News 2018, February - Japan (Nov-Dec)
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February 2018

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (October/November)

The Japan Magnesium Association

NEDO et al. - Successfully developed fire-resistant magnesium alloy extrusion method improving mechanical property

(Source: Mynavi News, November 7, 2017: ALUTOPIA, December 2017)

4 parties; NEDO, The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (a member of Innovative Structural Materials Association(ISMA)), Fuji Light Metal Co., Ltd and its reassignment Tobata Seisakusho Co., Ltd, announced that they successfully achieved extrusion process using fire-resistant magnesium alloy which performs tremendously improved mechanical property comparing to conventional method. This key technology is to spheroidize and harden the crystallized precipitates by newly developed heat treatment, which results in restraining becoming origin of destruction during fire-resistant mg alloy shaping. The details were announced at the 132th conference of The Japan Institute of Light Metals on November 4 to 5, 2017.

Magnesium alloy has a disadvantage inferior to conventional aluminum alloy as structural use. To improve, it is generally effective to add rare earth elements such as Yttrium and Neodymium but its application is limited since they are very costly and unstable supply. It is required magnesium alloy redesigning not using rare earth for fire-resistant and improving plastic processability for further train body parts application. By existing method of heat treatment at diecasting, there remains issue that high strength and elongation could not gain due to destruction triggered by crystallized precipitates in extruded billets. Combining with organization-control-technique by AIST, extrusion technique by Fuji Light Metal and casting technique by Tobata Seisakusho, this new technology was accomplished.

By this effort, fire-resistant alloy application for train parts and construction parts are widely expected and  hopefully further weight saving of train body will be accelerated.

Tokyo University of science - Magnesium battery positive electrode developed enabling repeated charge-discharge

(Source: The Nikkei, Vol.47, No.10, December 7, 2017)

Prof. Yasushi Idemoto of Tokyo University of science et al have developed positive electrode of magnesium secondary batteries which is expected replacing lithium ion battery as a next-generation battery.  It was impossible to charge repeatedly, manganese addition enables to enhance durability. In addition, layer structure enables increase capacity, resulted in surpassing Lithium ion battery.

They closely observed at magnesium and cobalt oxide, which are used for Lithium ion battery positive electrode and replaced 20% of cobalt to manganese.  5 times charge-discharge test still kept 80% at 60 degree, while conventional electrode deteriorated intensely and unable repeated charge-discharge. 

Instead, removing Lithium containing Nickel by dipping in chemical and replaced by magnesium, which formed layer structure enabling magnesium ion easy to come in and out. Investigation showed this capacity surpassed Lithium ion battery. Further improvement on durability for repetition and easier way to design the electrode is the future issue.  Prototype work for magnesium battery will be continued jointly with cathode developing team.  Eying advance on electric power storage generated by Solar power and wind power

 AMITEC - Magnesium Air cell to research on Trailer for emergency use

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, December 12, 2017)

AMITEC Corporation (Mizuho-ku, Nagoya-shi) started commercialization research of trailer operated by both magnesium air cell and photovoltaic power generation, located at research facility called “Knowledge Hub Aichi (Toyota-shi, Aichi)”. The purpose is to structure and commercialize a power supply system such as administrative services to issue disaster certificate in case of disaster (Earthquake etc.).  This research is supported by Aichi prefecture jointly with Seven Corporation, System development firm.  Trailer occupies 21.6 square meter and output target is 5 KW.  Assuming the blackout be the case, research ways are examined in various patterns if lightning, air-conditioning and PC, business office devices are possible to use for 3 days at least.

Subsidy on magnesium battery development eying commercialization research for emergency in Fukushima

(Source:Reuters news, December 15, 2017)

Magnesium battery development project, expected as next-generation energy, was chosen and adopted as next national project by both Japan Government and Fukushima Prefecture.  Experimental project of Emergency battery will get started at a certain welfare facility in the area in next spring.  Project promotor, honorary professor Takashi Yabe of Tokyo institute of Technology is pushing forward negotiation and enticement to full-scale industrialization with several makers.

To achieve the recovery for Complex disaster caused by both 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Powerplant accident, this project is one pillar of governmental “Fukushima Innovation Coast conception” which promotes decommissioning of reactor, Robot development and introduction of next generation energy.  According to “Act on Special Measure for the Rebirth of Fukushima” roughly 7 billion yen governmental budget will be applied.  30 million yen for first fiscal year quota is expected and 3 years support for magnesium battery development.

Battery installation and experiments will be carried out by both venture company Prof. Yabe established and Shinei, Welfare facility company (headquarter in Minamisouma). Both applied to Fukushima Pref.’s “promotion business expense subsidy for local revival practical use development” and duly approved as national support project in early this month.

While magnesium battery with several watts output are on sale, it is targeted higher performance possible to operate for several days with several hundred watts output.

Domestic Magnesium Market - October, 2017

(Source: October issue of Import/Export Statistics (customs clearance basis) of METI. Compiled by The Japan Magnesium Association.)


Based on Import/Export Statistics of October 2017, magnesium import increased significantly on major categories while it showed significant drop down to almost half both month-to-month basis and the same month of previous year.

A close watch is needed if this recovery continues. Magnesium metal import was total 2,615.4 tons, 49.4% increased on month-to-month basis (5.0% decrease from the same month of previous year), which recovered back to 2,500 tons level, while it declined for 2 consecutive month.

Magnesium powder was 177.3 tons, 40.0% significant decrease on month-to-month basis for 4th consecutive month (52.8% decrease) due to desulfurization downturn. Other products rebounded up to 332.8 tons, over 13 times increase on month-to-month basis (74.7% increase).   

The grand total was 3,125.5 tons, 50.9% increase on month-to-month basis (5.8% decrease).

The metal category consisted of 4 products as follows: 1) 2,102.2 tons of pure magnesium, 49.4% increase on month-to-month basis (7.1% decrease). Imports from Turkey resumed to 75.0 tons;  2) 494.6 tons of die-casting alloys, 50.9% increase on month-to-month basis (2.1% increase); 3) 0.8 ton of high purity magnesium;  4) 17.8 tons of casting alloy, 18.4% increase on month-to-month basis (207.1% increase) below the usual 20 tons level.

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in October, the price of pure magnesium was 264.6 yen per kg, 16.7 yen or 6.7% increase on month-to-month basis, climbing for 2nd consecutive month after the bottom price at 235.1 yen in August, 39.0 yen higher than same month of previous year. The price of magnesium alloys remained stable at 318.2 yen per kg, 0.6 yen or 0.2% increase on month-to-month basis.

As for the total amount of import from January to October 2017, magnesium metal was 27,533.4 tons (16.5% increase from the same period of previous year), magnesium powder was 3,103.7 tons (4.8% decrease) and other products was 2,039.3 tons (2.1% increase).  The grand total amount of import from January to October was 32,676.4 tons, 13.1% increase comparing to same period of previous year.


The export of magnesium in October consisted of 0 kg of pure magnesium, 11.8 tons of magnesium alloys (59.3% decrease). Magnesium powder was 5.5 tons, almost 70 times on month-to-month basis (35.6% increase) including 4.5 tons and 1.1 tons for Thailand and Indonesia respectively.  And other products was 3.5 tons, 24.9% decrease on month-to-month basis (51.1% decrease) including 0.5 tons and 2.9 tons to China and Vietnam respectively.  The grand total export was 20.8 tons, 342.2% increase on month-to-month basis (48.3% decrease).

As for the total amount of export from January to October, pure magnesium metal was 106.1 tons (34 fold increase from the same period of previous year), magnesium alloy metal was 104.8 tons (73.2% decrease), magnesium powder was 12.7 tons (32.8% increase) and other products was 25.8 tons (12.4% decrease).

As for the grand total amount of export from January to October was 249.4 tons (42.4% decrease at the same period of previous year).

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