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.

1 comment:

  1. Yes Envia took Argonne's original work but then added to the anode and cathode technology to arrive at their novel design. This can be evidenced by my blog where their ceo has been involved in an exchange with me and one other person.