Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Micro-hybrids a $6.9 Billion Market for Energy Storage

Micro-hybrids will grow nearly eight-fold to 39 million vehicles in 2017 and create a $6.9 billion market for energy storage devices as the fuel-saving alternative technology finds ready adoption, driven by stricter emission standards, according to a Lux Research report titled, "Every Last Drop: Micro- And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles."

Micro-hybrids, which use a small battery to provide varying degrees of efficiency-boosting features, will dominate the automotive market, gaining 42% of the overall light-duty vehicle market. Simultaneously, the mild hybrids -- superior to micro-hybrids but not as efficient as pure hybrids -- will rise from near-zero to 1.5 million vehicles in 2017, accounting for 1.6% of the auto market.

"Micro-hybrids will take over the automotive market, while mild hybrids will leverage the excessive build-out of Li-ion capacity to grow," said Kevin See, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the report. "Micro-hybrids and, to a lesser extent, mild hybrids, provide a cost-effective solution to fuel savings to bridge the gap to more disruptive technologies like alternative fuels,  plug-in vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles."

To estimate adoption rates for micro-hybrids and mild hybrids, Lux researchers factored in the adoption of other fuel-saving technologies and modeled cost impact variations, besides estimating the costs of battery replacement and maintenance for these alternative vehicles. Among their conclusions:

·        Europe will lead with China and the U.S. in tow. Europe will continue its leadership in the micro-hybrid market, growing over three-fold to 12.6 million units in the next five years. China will see explosive 81% annual growth to reach 8.9 million units in 2017 and the U.S. will zoom from miniscule levels today to over 8 million in 2017.

·        Medium micro-hybrids dominate. A low price premium, fuel savings of up to 10% and a relatively easier manufacturing process will propel medium micro-hybrids to the top of the alternative auto market over the next five years. These vehicles will grow at 36% CAGR to 22.2 million vehicles in 2017, driven largely by the European market and automakers like Volkswagen.

·        AGM battery technology will grow nine-fold. Absorbed glass mat (AGM), lead-acid batteries will dominate the market for storage of micro-hybrids, growing at 46% annually to nearly $4 billion in 2017. In mild hybrids, Li-ion will carve out a niche, growing from near-zero to nearly $570 million in 2017, capturing a 47% market share among plug-in vehicles.

The report, titled "Every Last Drop: Micro- And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles," is part of the Lux Research Electric Vehicles Intelligence service.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Report on Electrodes for Lithium Ion Batteries

In a newly released report, “New Electrode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries -2012”, industry analyst firm NanoMarkets projects that the need for higher performance batteries for consumer electronics, hybrid/electric vehicles and other applications will quickly create a large market for novel lithium battery electrode materials.  Revenues from non-conventional electrode materials are expected to reach around $1.3 billion by 2017, representing an almost 25 percent share of all lithium battery electrode materials sold.  At present this share is 8 percent.

Although many materials are being tried out, NanoMarkets believes that those with the most potential for cathodes are lithium manganese oxide, lithium iron phosphate, nickel manganese cobalt composite and nickel cobalt alumina composite.  For anodes, the growth opportunities are to be found in lithium titanate and silicon.  This report also analyzes and forecasts markets for the traditional electrode materials; lithium cobalt oxide and graphite.

This report analyzes the markets for lithium ion battery electrode materials driven by developments in the consumer electronics, power tools, electric/hybrid vehicles, smart grids/stationary and military/aerospace segments.  The eight-year forecasts are broken out by type of material both in volume and value terms for each application.

The report also discusses the strategies of some important suppliers of relevant electrode materials.  Companies mentioned include: 3M, A123, Actacell, AGM Batteries, Aleees, Altairnano, Amprius, BASF, ConocoPhillips, Enerdel, Enerize, Enia, Envia Systems, Hitachi, Johnson Controls, LG Chem, NEI, Nexeon, Panasonic, Phostech, Saft, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and Umicore.

The report notes that the current performance of lithium ion batteries limits its addressable markets especially in automotive and smart grid applications.  Better electrodes seem the main way to address this limitation and the success of lithium manganese oxide (LMO) as the novel cathode material that allowed the lithium ion battery to break into the power tools business has paved the way for this strategy.  To date, LMO is the only non-conventional electrode material to reach high volume sales and revenues from this material will generate more than $430 million by 2017.

 The fastest growing electrode material markets will be those for lithium iron phosphate and nickel manganese cobalt for cathodes which together will account for almost $700 million in revenue by 2017.  Lithium ion phosphate seems well positioned to challenge LMO since it can offer a similar performance, but is considered to be safer.  This makes it attractive in a number of markets especially automotive.  Nickel manganese cobalt offers an especially high energy density.

Despite well-established R&D programs intended to replace graphite as the anode material of choice for lithium batteries, NanoMarkets believes that graphite will still account for more than 90 percent of the revenues from anode materials until after 2017.  Alternative materials have been quite challenging to develop and are at an early stage of development.  However, there is a strong incentive to pursue this goal because EVs are demanding higher energy densities.  Despite the hype about silicon, titanate anodes are likely to offer more immediate business prospects, although there may be some use of silicon by Panasonic and a few other companies in consumer electronics applications.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CODA Energy Launches Energy Storage Solutions

CODA Holdings, a developer of advanced battery systems and all-electric vehicles, announced the debut of CODA Energy. The new business arm provides scalable, flexible and reliable battery storage systems to support a more sustainable electrical grid.

Worldwide installations of energy storage capacity are expected to increase from 121 MW in 2011 to 12,353 MW in 2021, with an estimated $122 billion in potential deployments over the next 10 years.

CODA's energy storage system is positioned to address the rapid growth and increased demand for safe, tested and reliable energy storage solutions.

CODA Energy offers battery systems for generation, distribution and behind-the-meter applications for a myriad of commercial and industrial needs, as well as for microgrids, the security sector, the transportation sector and EV-fleet management.

Integral to CODA's battery storage technology is its modular design, which features vertical energy towers operating in concert, but managed independently. CODA Energy's modular configuration promotes cost efficiency and enables continuous operation -- even when performing maintenance -- making the system an ideal choice for demanding environments.

CODA's existing joint venture with battery manufacturer Lishen -- supplier to Apple, Samsung, CODA Automotive and others -- supports cost-effective large scale supply. CODA shares proprietary innovation, research and development, and manufacturing intelligence among its automotive and stationary energy storage divisions, and passes that value onto the customer.