Lithium Battery and Energy Storage


2022-04-19

Global Proportion of Installed Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Capacity Expected to Reach 60% in 2024, Becoming Mainstream of Power Battery Market, Says TrendForce

As a consequence of rising power battery raw material prices, a number of global new energy vehicle (NEV) brands including Tesla, BYD, NIO, Li Auto, and Volkswagen, have successively raised the sales prices of electric vehicles (EV) in 1Q22. TrendForce believes that power batteries are the core component that account for the greatest portion of an EV’s overall cost and reducing the cost of power batteries will be an important strategy for companies to remain competitive in the future. As technology continues to innovate, lithium iron phosphate batteries are expected to account for more than 60% of installed capacity in the global power battery market by 2024.

TrendForce indicates, from the perspective of the world’s largest EV market, China, the power battery market reversed in 2021 and lithium iron phosphate batteries officially surpassed ternary batteries with 52% of installed capacity. Lithium iron phosphate installed capacity continued to grow in 1Q22, rising to 58%, and demonstrating a growth rate far beyond that of ternary batteries. However, from the perspective of the global EV market, thanks to the increase in the penetration rate of NEVs in Europe and the United States, ternary batteries still accounted for a market share of more than 60% in 2021, far exceeding that of lithium iron phosphate batteries, which captured a market share of approximately 32~ 36%.

Although the current gap between these two materials remains substantial, according to production capacity planning of global new energy battery cathode material manufacturers in the past two years, the scale and speed of lithium iron phosphate materials expansion will far exceed that of ternary materials. According to TrendForce investigations, planned expansion projects announced by global cathode material manufacturers are currently concentrated in China and South Korea, with a nominal total planned production capacity of over 11 million tons, of which planned production capacity of lithium iron phosphate cathodes accounts for approximately 64%. However, since planned production capacity exceeds market demand, there will be a certain shortfall between the industry’s total planned production capacity and actual future production capacity. It remains to be seen to what level actual effective production capacity can rise in the future.

It is worth noting, as the price of core battery raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel has moved up clearly since 2H21 and the global power battery supply chain is plagued by uncertainty including the Russian-Ukrainian war and the global pandemic, there will be a short-term disparity between the growth rate of supply and demand and companies will focus more on reducing the cost of battery materials and supply chain security, two major issues related to future competitiveness. As a result of this trend, TrendForce expects the cost-effective advantage of lithium iron phosphate batteries to become more prominent and this type of battery has an opportunity to become the mainstream of the terminal market in the next 2-3 years. The global installed capacity ratio of lithium iron phosphate batteries to ternary batteries will also move from 3:7 to 6:4 in 2024

2022-02-25

[Russia-Ukraine] War Rages in Ukraine, Global Raw Nickel Prices for Power Batteries Likely to Rise, Says TrendForce

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has escalated in recent days. In addition to the surge in natural gas and crude oil prices, the conflict may also impact the supply of non-ferrous metals including aluminum, nickel, and copper. According to TrendForce, nickel is a key upstream raw material for the manufacture of electric vehicle power batteries and mainly used in the production of ternary cathode materials. In 2021, global nickel mine production was approximately 2.7 million tons, originating primarily from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Russia. Russian nickel production accounts for approximately 9% of the world’s total (including low, medium, and high-grade nickel), ranking third globally. At present, the market penetration rate of new energy vehicles is accelerating and ternary power batteries account for nearly half of power battery market share, which signals strengthening demand for upstream raw material nickel for automotive power batteries. Although Russian nickel exports remain unaffected for the time being, if the situation on the ground between Russia and Ukraine continues to deteriorate, global nickel supply may be impacted in the short term, pushing up nickel prices, and further increase cost pressures on end product markets such as the electric vehicle industry.

TrendForce states that in the medium to long term, since the lion’s share of new nickel ore smelting and processing projects have been located in Indonesia in recent years and Indonesia’s nickel ore production accounted for approximately 37% of the world’s total production in 2021, Indonesia’s concentrated production of nickel is expected to improve supply and demand in 2H22. TrendForce also emphasizes, regarding the export ban on mines announced by Indonesia last year, this ban only prohibits the export of raw ore and does not prohibit Chinese companies such as Zhejian Huayou Cobalt, Tsingshan Holding Group, Lygend Resources, and GEM from investing in the processing end of nickel mines in Indonesia. Therefore, smelting nickel ore and highly processed products are not affected by the export ban.

From the perspective of suppliers, among the top five nickel ore manufacturers in the world, Russian manufacturer Norilsk supplies approximately 9% of the world’s raw nickel materials, or 90% of overall Russian production, and its high-grade nickel production accounts for 22% of the world’s total (Note: according to nickel content, nickel materials can be divided into high-grade nickel, medium-grade nickel, and low-grade nickel with high-grade nickel referring to Ni content ≥ 10%), ranking first in the world. China’s Jinchuan Group ranks second at 17%, followed by Switzerland’s Glencore at 13%, and Brazil’s Vale S.A. at 12%. TrendForce believes, looking at the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, if Europe and the United States impose sanctions on Russia, a change in the flow of Russian nickel may occur due to the high concentration of production and processing by Norilsk.

TrendForce states, at present, high-nickel-based ternary cathode materials (primarily referring to ternary materials with high nickel content such as NCM622, NCM811, and NCA) rely on the two advantages of higher energy density and less dependence on the precious metal cobalt as a raw material, its market share of ternary cathode materials has increased rapidly, 10% in 2019 to nearly 40% in 2021. The development of high nickel content means that consumption demand for nickel corresponding to each ton of ternary cathode materials has increased. With the acceleration of the penetration rate of new energy vehicles in China, Europe, and the United States, the market demand for lithium power batteries is strong and overall nickel inventories continue to decline. At present, the global refined nickel inventory is only 100,000 tons. In the context of tight supply and increasing demand, inferring from the Chinese market where new energy vehicles accounted for 53% of the global market in 2021, the spot market price of electrolytic nickel in China reaching RMB130,000 to RMB150,000 per ton in 2021, and prices jumping in early 2022 to RMB160,000 to 170,000 per ton, the possibility of continued pricing spikes in the future cannot be ruled out.

2022-02-09

[Russia-Ukraine] Impending war between Russia and Ukraine may squeeze supply of certain semiconductors

As of February 8, 2022, it has been 3 months since Russia began amassing troops on its border with Ukraine and tensions have yet to ease. Since Ukraine is a major producer of gases required for semiconductor manufacturing, once the two sides go to war, some gases may be in short supply.

Ukraine primarily produces neon, krypton, and xenon, which are key materials for exposure and etching processes

According to TrendForce research, Ukraine supplies approximately 70% of the world’s neon gas. In the semiconductor manufacturing process, neon gas can be used in KrF lasers utilized during exposure. In addition to neon gas, Ukraine also supplies approximately 40% of the world’s krypton gas. Krypton gas is also used in KrF lasers and both neon and krypton gas are closely tied to the exposure process. Furthermore, Ukraine produces xenon which can be used in semiconductor etching processes, accounting for approximately 30% of the world’s supply. Since Ukraine is a major supplier in the neon, krypton, and xenon markets, if a war breaks out, shortages of neon, krypton, and xenon are likely to follow. Even if the market is quick to find new gas suppliers or expand gas production capacity, product certification will take several months or even more than half a year, plunging the supply of electronic gas required for semiconductor manufacturing processes into scarcity.

A shortage of neon and krypton due to the war will affect the shipment of mature process products

TrendForce indicates, the large supply of neon and krypton in Ukraine is primarily used in KrF lasers and KrF lasers are utilized in mature 8-inch wafer 250-130nm nodes. At present, products manufactured at the 250-130nm nodes include power management chips (PMIC), micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and power semiconductor components such as MOSFET components and IGBTs. Once Ukraine and Russia go to war and the war expands into a stalemate, the shortage of neon and krypton will affect shipments of the aforementioned products to varying degrees. From the perspective of end-user products, the automotive industry, which requires large quantities of power management chips and power semiconductors, will face a new wave of material shortages.

(Image credit: iStock)

2021-12-23

Driven by NEVs, Power Battery Demand for Cathode Materials Forecast to Exceed 2.15 Million Tons in 2025, says TrendForce

With the explosion of new energy vehicle (NEV) production and sales, the installed capacity of power batteries has also seen rapid growth, in turn promoting the rising demand for battery materials, according to TrendForce’s investigations. Among battery materials, cathode materials are most in demand for power batteries and their shipments have benefited from the rapid growth of the NEV market. It is estimated that the global demand for power battery cathode materials in 2021 will reach 600,000 tons and this number is expected to exceed 2.15 million tons by 2025.

As the largest downstream application market for lithium batteries, electric vehicles account for more than 60% of total lithium battery consumption. With estimated total consumption of lithium batteries for electric vehicles worldwide reaching 310GWh this year, corresponding demand for cathode materials will reach approximately 604,000 tons.

According to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China’s NEV sales reached 2.99 million vehicles between January and November of this year, accounting for approximately 50% of total global sales of NEVs, and becoming the key to boosting global demand for power battery installations. During this period (January to November), the installed capacity of power batteries in the Chinese market reached 128.3GWh, a YoY growth rate of 153.1%. The cumulative installed capacity of lithium iron phosphate batteries reached 64.8GWh, surpassing the 63.3GWh installed capacity of ternary batteries for the first time.

TrendForce believes, benefiting from strong market demand for electric vehicles, lithium battery material manufacturers (representative of cathode materials) have started a new round of large-scale production expansion this year and are expected to gradually release new production capacity in the next 2 to 3 years, relieving tight market demand. At present, the overall capacity utilization rate of China’s cathode material industry is not high. Taking lithium iron phosphate materials as an example, the capacity utilization rate of China’s lithium iron phosphate cathode materials in 2020 is approximately 44% and expected to rise to 56% this year. Whether or not future global market demand of more than 2 million tons can be met will depend on whether new production capacity of cathode materials can come online according to schedule and whether the supply of key raw material lithium carbonate is sufficient.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Green Energy Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-12-09

China Makes Policy to Promote Waste Battery Recycle Industry, 2025 Market Scale Forecast to Reach RMB26 Billion, Says TrendForce

Along with the swift development of the Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) industry, the number of retired power batteries has risen year over year with Chinese waste power battery volume estimated to exceed 18GWh in 2021 and reach 91GWh by 2025, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Currently, power battery recycle and reuse is primarily divided into echelon utilization and material recycling. Chinese waste battery material recycling already possesses a certain scale with a 2020 market size of RMB2.4 billion and it is estimated to reach RMB26 billion by 2025.

TrendForce adds, the current Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information has officially announced the “14th 5-Year Industrial Green Development Plan,” expressing a wish to promote a transformation in resource utilization. In terms of the recycling and reuse of waste power batteries, it proposes a comprehensive set of laws and regulations for power battery recycling, exploring and promoting new business models such as “internet + recycling,” strengthening traceability management, encouraging upstream and downstream enterprises in the industrial chain to build shared recycling pipelines, and establishing a set of centralized recycling service stations. In addition, scaled echelon utilization in fields such as waste power battery energy storage, backup, charging, and exchange will be promoted to establish a set of echelon utilization and recycling projects and build a more complete power battery recycling structure by 2025.

Power battery recycling and reuse include echelon utilization and materials recycling. In echelon utilization, power batteries with charge capacities that have dropped to 80% or less are used in applications such as power backup, energy storage, or other related fields. Currently, most examples of echelon utilization are at an experimental demonstration stage. In materials recycling, retired power batteries are dissembled, valuable metals such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel recycled, and reused in the recycled manufacturing of battery materials (e.g. ternary precursors).

TrendForce believes the development of NEVs is an important avenue in the promotion of energy conservation. The rapid development the industry will inevitably be accompanied by the large-scale retirement of power batteries in the future and bring industry opportunities for power battery recycling and downstream echelon utilization. Currently, the battery recycling business still faces a number of bottlenecks such as the fragmentation of power battery life cycle information, a lack of testing standards for retired batteries, improvement of technical standards for echelon utilization, and fluctuations in metal pricing affecting the economics of material recycling. These are all factors that restrict the recycling and reuse of power batteries. China’s new battery recycling policy will promote the orderly and healthy development of the lithium battery industry in the future and help break through the constraints of lithium and other key global resources.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Green Energy Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

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