Lithium is a key ingredient in the manufacturing of
batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage
systems (ESSs), and lithium demand for both uses is expected to
soar in coming years with the shift to a greener economy
"We’re at the very early stages of this
electrification era, and I think the market is going to grow
rapidly. It’s not just about EVs; it is also about
ESS… There will be room for all the battery technologies
to find their suitable area," Adams said during a recent
Fastmarkets’ webinar on how the electric vehicle
markets will behave in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Different performance requirements for EV and ESS usage were
leading to an evolution of separate markets for lithium-ion
"A lithium-iron-phosphate [LFP] battery may make sense in
China because of the current subsidy situation [for the
purchase of EVs] and because, for city cars, you might not need
long ranges - although the new LFP batteries can achieve longer
ranges as well," Adams said.
"But I think that when the European [EV] market grows,
lithium-cobalt-oxide [NMC] and lithium nickel cobalt aluminium
oxide [NCA] batteries will remain important. ESS is a
[completely new area], and there will be other chemistries as
well," he added.
"I think there will be investment and room for all these
technologies, and I expect the capacities of all of these to
grow," he said.
It was not clear whether hydroxide or carbonate would be the
preferred form of lithium battery-grade compounds for the next
generation of EVs.
"Both will be used," Adams said. "I think we will see more
lithium hydroxide needed as we move to the higher nickel ratio
batteries, while LFP batteries tend to use more carbonate."
The use of batteries for energy storage was expected to soar
between 2020 and 2030 in Europe, supporting the growth of
flexible electricity assets while new renewable capacity ramps
up in the region’s key economies.
Investments in green mobility and renewable sources of
electricity were high on the agendas of the EU member
states, to comply with energy transition targets.
With EV sales increasing, additional renewable capacity was
being installed alongside the growth in ESSs, and demand for
the key raw materials used in batteries, such as lithium, was
expected to grow.
Click here to listen again to
Fastmarkets’ webinar, How will electric
vehicle markets behave post Covid-19?