World Battery Materials Demand to Reach $46.8 Billion in 2019
Worldwide demand for battery materials is forecast to rise 8.3 percent per year to $46.8 billion in 2019. Continued growth in portable electronics and change in the global motor vehicle industry will not only have a strong impact on the types of battery materials being consumed, but also drive strong growth in battery materials demand in developing countries. The strongest growth will be posted in the Asia/Pacific region, as China further solidifies its position as the largest producer of batteries in the world. Other countries in the region, including South Korea and India, will also register strong growth in demand for battery materials.
Metals to Remain Dominant Material Type
Growth in the demand for materials used in secondary batteries will outpace that seen for primary batteries, spurred by the rising popularity of portable electronics and greater global production of hybrid and electric vehicles. This will be particularly evident in North America when Tesla will open its new “Gigafactory” for lithium ion batteries in 2017. Metals will remain the predominant type of battery material by value. The continued importance of lead-acid batteries in the automotive sector will be a leading driver of this growth, while increasing demand for advanced battery types including nickel-metal- hydride and lithium-ion batteries will result in above-average gains for nickel and other metals, including rare earth metals. Increasing global production of lead-acid batteries will also drive healthy demand for other materials such as polymers.
Secondary Batteries to Favor More Expensive Materials
Demand for battery materials is influenced greatly by the types of batteries used. Globally, battery use is transitioning from primary to secondary, rechargeable types, driven by the proliferation of cellular phones and other portable electronics such as tablets, growing motor vehicle use in developing countries, and increasing production of hybrid and/or electric vehicles (H/EV) in industrialized economies. These battery types often require more expensive input materials, such as rare earth metals or specialty polymers, resulting in increased demand for battery materials globally. Many battery manufacturers have active research programs to improve the production costs, performance, and safety of advanced battery types. In particular, a large amount of effort is being put into reducing the per kilowatt hour cost of Li- Ion batteries while improving their safety profile, in large part to make their usage in H/EV more attractive to automobile producers and economical for consumers. Continued improvement in battery composition will drive demand for materials that facilitate the production of high performance batteries.
Metals Pricing to Stabilize
Pricing and availability also have a strong impact on battery materials demand. Commodity prices, including the prices for metals utilized in batteries, fluctuated wildly from 2004 to 2014, significantly increasing the value demand for some battery materials during portions of this period. Many metals producers responded to these high prices by opening mines and increasing production, resulting in a global surplus of some metals and putting downward pressure on prices. Going forward, these price fluctuations are forecast to stabilize, with value demand growth primarily reflecting increases in material consumption.
Remarks: Origin from Freedonia Group