Over the years, lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries have become a critical part of modern technology. Be it for powering smartphones, laptops, or tablets, they play a crucial role, i.e., going to further intensify with the growing prevalence of EVs (Electric Vehicles). With mounting concerns over the alarming levels of GHG emissions, governments worldwide are implementing zero-carbon norms, where the focus is directed extensively on promoting non-fossil fuel-based transportation.
As a result, the automobile industry is witnessing significant transformations, and automakers worldwide are rigorously working on boosting the production & distribution of EVs, which run on Li-ion batteries. In view of this, a recent research study has predicted around 25% CAGR for the Global Lithium ion Battery Market during 2023-28, i.e., backed by the booming automotive & consumer electronics industries, rising costs of fossil fuels, and immense government support for electric mobility.
With stringent EPA norms on lead contamination and consequent environmental threats, lead-acid batteries have been witnessing declining demand over the past few years. Entwined with this are regulations on the storage, disposal, & recycling of these batteries, which, in turn, has infused the production & sales of lithium ion batteries for automobiles.
Some Prominent Advancements in the Industry
The Emerging Importance of LFP Batteries
LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries are becoming more & more essential for electric transportation applications as they have certain advantages over the expensive & critical NMC Nickel Manganese Cobalt) materials in some use cases. These batteries offer excellent safety and an overall longer lifespan. Recently, in October 2021, Tesla announced that it had changed its battery chemistry and shifted toward LFP battery technology owing to a rise in nickel & magnesium prices. With this mover, the company aims to increase vehicles' efficiency & make them cheaper and thus increase profit margins.
Worldwide, especially in Europe, various developments are being observed toward improving the conductivity & energy density of LFP cells that have provided satisfactory outcomes with a high carbon power-grade LFP cathode material. Some of the most prominent benefits of these batteries include low costs, better performance, improved lifecycle, eco-friendly, and quick charging, among others. With these perks, LFP batteries portray a promising future, which would aid in eliminating the costly and rare cobalt & manganese. Hence, over the coming years, LFP batteries are likely to become more prominent in portable & fixed applications that require intense load currents & endurance.
Asia-Pacific: The Most Promising Region for Li-Ion Battery Manufacturers
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has evolved as a global manufacturing hub, which has displayed an ever-increased adoption of various lithium ion battery-powered tools. With rapidly rising population levels, the region is witnessing burgeoning sales of automobiles, as well as consumer electronics like smartphones, laptops, etc., which all utilize lithium ion batteries for their operations. With the ongoing trend of electrification of delivery vehicles & pickup trucks, there is a booming demand for Li-ion batteries across Asia-Pacific, especially in China, i.e., working strictly toward reducing carbon footprints. As a result, the need for lithium ion batteries is at its ultimate peak, and it projects a lucrative future ahead for the lithium ion battery manufacturers in Asia-Pacific.
A Revolutionary Future Ahead
Li-ion batteries hold enormous potential to move the world toward a 100% sustainable future. However, aspects like reducing the reliance on cobalt, implementing battery collection & recycling policies, exploiting second-hand batteries to exhaust battery cycle life before reaching the recycling plant, and moving lithium extraction away from hard rock to brine are critically important in order to achieve the desired outcomes.
The already mainstream and mean big industry of li-ion batteries is heading only one way, i.e., up. With rigorous research, prices of li-ion batteries are coming downward, and more efficient batteries are already in development, which will allow for a higher driving range of EVs.
Several alternatives for cathode materials are being explored to achieve improved battery longevity & density. In addition, the lithium-based solid-state battery is another opportunistic area, i.e., being researched extensively by various public & private agencies worldwide. Hence, these aspects project a significant expansion of the lithium ion battery market in the coming years, which, subsequently, shall bring our desire for a renewable future closer to reality.