Lithium-ion battery market will drive graphite demand, Imerys says
Published: Monday, 22 October 2018
The demand for battery-grade graphite between now and 2002 will be driven by the expansion of the downstream battery industry, according to Imerys business director Fabrizio Corti.
Demand for graphite to be used in the battery sector is
expected to grow between now and 2020, driven by a positive
outlook and rapid development of the downstream battery
industry, according to Fabrizio Corti, business director for
synthetic graphite at Imerys Graphite & Carbon.
Corti told delegates at the 7th Graphite & Graphene
conference in London that lithium-ion battery manufacturers
expected to increase their production capacities significantly,
with the output of the 17 battery-making "gigafactories" in the
world expected to rise to 234GWh by 2020, from 29GWh in
Most of these capacity expansions are being seen in Asia
and, although North America and Europe are lagging behind,
these regions still have the potential for significant
investment in the near future.
"Graphite prices historically have been driven by steel and
industrial applications, but now and in future they will be
driven by battery demand," Corti added.
China still dominates the supply scenario for graphite
grades suitable for anode application, he said. All natural
spherical-graphite supplies and 75% of synthetic graphite
supplies used in battery anodes come from China.
Globally, there is around 1.5 million tonnes per year of
graphite production, according to Imerys data. Some
90,000-100,000 tpy of this is used to produce battery-grade
material, at a yield rate of about 30%.
Given the rapid development in the battery industry,
manufacturers face many challenges, such as how to acquire
sufficient and reliable supplies of graphite materials that
have properties consistent with stable battery performance,
Because China’s graphite mines and processing
operations are sometimes suspended by the central
government’s use of environmental restrictions,
sourcing graphite from outside of China is one way for
battery-makers to guarantee supply.