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Lithium Batteries: Markets and Materials

  • January 2016
  • 408 pages
  • BCC Research
Report ID: 157455

Summary

Table of Contents

This BCC Research report provides an overview of lithium battery technologies and markets. It includes sales projections through 2020.

Use this report to:

Gain insight into primary and secondary lithium battery technologies and markets, and significant recent developments.
Assess lithium battery markets for portable products, medical products, stationary applications, military/aerospace and automotive power applications, and materials.
Identify the leading global companies dealing in lithium batteries and view their corporate profiles.

Highlights

The global market for lithium batteries should reach $10.6 billion in 2015 and nearly $13.3 billion in 2020, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% from 2015 to 2020.
The secondary (rechargeable) lithium battery market dominates the global market and is valued at $9.4 billion in 2015. The market should reach $11.9 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2015 to 2020.
The global market for primary lithium batteries reached $1.3 billion in 2015, and should reach $1.4 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 2.2% from 2015 to 2020.

STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Originally, the term “battery” referred to a number of individual electrochemical cells; therefore, a single cell, like the familiar cylindrical flashlight power source, was not considered a battery at all. Now a battery refers to any electrochemical storage mechanism.

A battery has five components: two active elements (a cathode and an anode), a separator, an electrolyte medium for carrying ions between the reactants through the separator and a container. One reactant or electrode has a net negative charge and is called the anode. In lithium batteries, the anode material is lithium, or in a few cases, a lithium-aluminum alloy. In some cases, the anode is metallic lithium; in other instances, including lithium-ion cells, the anode consists of an ionic lithium compound. The other reactant electrode, with a positive charge, is called the cathode. The cathode usually is a metallic compound. The electrolyte is usually similar to the cathode to promote ion transfer. Finally, the battery is contained in a case that provides dimensional stability and a positive and negative electrode or battery cap for discharging (or recharging) the cell. A number of separate electrochemical cells are combined within the same case to create a battery.

Until about 25 years ago, the battery market was seen as mature, with demand closely related to sales of either automobiles or various consumer products. Since then, improved lithium batteries have helped spark a dramatic change in this relationship.
Just as lithium batteries replaced nickel-based and primary batteries for many applications, traditional lithium-ion battery designs are beginning to be replaced by advanced lithium-ion chemistries like lithium phosphate, lithium-iron phosphate, lithium titanate, lithium-sulfur and lithium-polymer systems.

Lithium batteries were developed in the 1960s and were first commercialized in the early 1970s, but did not receive wide consumer use until 1981. There are now six general commercial and developmental lithium battery designs, nearly 30 commercialized lithium-containing electrode couples and more than 1,000 specific designs. The latest generation of lithium batteries includes very large cells suitable for powering vehicles or storing significant amounts of utility power as well as very small thin-film cells capable of powering micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS).

Improved lithium batteries have allowed the commercialization of entire new classes of portable products, including portable computer computers, smartphones and tablet computers. Lithium batteries have now been used in commercial plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

During the 1990s, lithium batteries posted double-digit market growth. Between 2000 and 2005, there was a period of steady sales or incremental growth (as opposed to the double-digit growth of the 1990s). Lithium battery unit sales then picked up through the 2008 financial crash. In mid-2008, sales and market value fell due to the global recession. The market has now recovered and is once more growing incrementally.

Predictions that a new era of double-digit growth will soon take place depend on the fortunes of the electric vehicle market, and to a lesser extent, the large stationary utility power markets. Companies are now preparing to expand production to support both these markets, even as sharply reduced oil prices remove some of the economic incentives for EVs.

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