Within the next 10 years, there will be fundamental changes to the battery industry, yet despite new technologies on the horizon it is expected that demand for lithium-ion batteries will increase more than ten-fold.
Despite a slow-down in market growth, structural and technological changes to the Li-ion battery industry have continued at a rapid pace. In 2019, Li-ion battery capacity reached 180GWh, driven by strong demand growth from the automotive industry.
Forming roughly 60% of Li-ion battery demand in 2019, demand from the automotive industry is directing the development of novel designs and chemistries for Li-ion technologies. The shift to high-Ni cathodes remains, with an increasing number of battery producers now reporting to provide NCM811 and NCM721 cells for commercial applications, though as reducing manufacturing costs becomes more critical, there has been a resurgence in LFP technologies by major cathode and cell manufacturers.
While cathode materials form the largest portion of total battery pack production costs, at ~24% in 2019, developments in anode, electrolyte and separator materials are also working to maximize battery performance whilst maintaining suitable safety, cost and durability standards. Silicon-carbon and LTO anodes are expected to claim greater market share over the period to 2029, though the transition to solid-state battery technologies provides a clear ‘next-step’ for the industry. The increasing use of electrolyte additives and advanced coated separators also provide performance benefits, though this must be closely balanced with additional production costs.
National and regional legislation has directed the transition to a lower-carbon future in transport and energy storage applications, supporting the growth in electric vehicles, energy storage systems and subsequently Li-ion batteries. Roskill calculates that the battery equates to ~40-45% of total CO2 emissions for a typical plug-in EV in 2019, by far the largest component. As a result, greater importance is now being place on the sustainability of Li-ion battery supply chains, including second life and recycling of spent/faulty Li-ion cells. The removal of state support however is having a profound impact.
Overall, Li-ion battery demand is forecast in increase more than ten-fold by 2029, reaching in excess of 1,800GWh capacity. The pipeline capacity of battery gigafactories is reported by Roskill to exceed 2,000GWh in 2029, at over 145 facilities globally. Driven by demand from the automotive and energy storage markets, NCM/NCA type cathode materials are expected to remain dominant though other cathode types will take market share in niche environments or applications. In the late 2020s, Li-ion technologies could see increasing competition from other battery technologies, though Li-ion cells are expected to maintain their dominant position.