Raw material needs by the Li-ion battery industry
Raw material needs by the Li-ion battery
industry
Dr. Pertti Kauranen
7 March 2017
Contents
1.
Background ..................................................................................................................................... 1
2.
Li battery production and use in 2015-2016................................................................................... 2
3.
Raw material production and use in 2015-2016............................................................................. 3
4.
Market estimates for lithium battery applications and their raw material needs ......................... 5
4.1. Electric vehicles ............................................................................................................................ 5
4.2.
Consumer electronics ............................................................................................................. 6
4.3.
Stationary energy storage ....................................................................................................... 6
4.4.
Estimate summary .................................................................................................................. 7
References .............................................................................................................................................. 8
1.
Background
Li-ion batteries are powering most of our portable electronics including cellphones, tablets and laptop
computers. Battery (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) as well as grid connected
stationary energy storage are expected to drive fast growth of Li-battery demand (Frost & Sullivan,
2014) (Lux Research, 2015).
As battery industry is already using a large share of global lithium and cobalt (and flake graphite)
production there are concerns about future availability of these raw materials. Lithium and cobalt
reserves, production, battery use and recycling rate are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1. Production, reserves, share of battery use and recycling rate of lithium and cobalt (Jaskula,
2016) (CDI, 2016) (UNEP, 2011).
Lithium
Cobalt
Annual production (Ton/a)
32.500
99.000
Useful reserves (million tons)
14
7.1
Global resources (million tons)
34
120
Share of battery use (%)
35
42
Main reserves
Chile, Argentina, Bolivia
Democratic Republic of Congo
China, Australia
Recycling rate (%)
<1
68
2.
Li battery production and use in 2015-2016
The global production capacity of lithium batteries in 2015 was 52 GWh and 24 GWh was under
construction, totaling 76 GWh, Table 2 (Chung;Elgqvist;& Santhanagopalan, 2015). In addition, 48
GWh of new capacity was announced, including the 35 GWh Tesla Gigafactory. Half of the production
capacity is in China, and 88 % in China, Japan and Korea together. These countries are dominating the
portable electronics sector. The US and European capacities are mostly dedicated to the automotive
sector.
Table 2. Li-ion battery production in 2015 (Chung;Elgqvist;& Santhanagopalan, 2015).
Country
China
Japan
Korea
USA
EU
Rest of the
world
Total
Fully
comissioned
Partially
comissioned
Under
Construction
Announced
Total
MWh
16704
10778
16059
3770
1798
2440
MWh
3576
0
0
0
0
0
MWh
18730
1200
0
1200
0
0
MWh
12847
0
0
35000
0
564
MWh
39010
11978
16059
4970
1798
2440
51549
3576
21130
48411
76255
Share
Automotive
Share
of automotive
0,51
0,16
0,21
0,07
0,02
0,03
MWh
11240
5750
4600
4600
1300
0
0,29
0,48
0,29
0,93
0,72
0,00
1,00
27490
0,36
A rough estimate of the Li-battery use in portable electronics can be made from global sales of
cellphones, tablets and laptops, Table 3. The portable electronic use accounted for 55 % of the total
production capacity and 85 % of the non-automotive production capacity.
Table 3. An estimate of Li battery use in portable electronics (Statista, 2017)
Device
Global sales 2016
Average battery size
Cellphone
Tablet
Laptop computer
Total
Million
1400
180
150
1730
Wh
10
30
50
16
Total battery
capacity
GWh
14
5,4
7,5
26,9
The BEV and PHEV use of Li batteries in 2016 was estimated from the sales statistics (EV Volumes,
2017) and battery capacities of the most popular models (EV Obsession, 2017) accounting for 80 % of
the BEV and 70 % of the PHEV sales volumes, respectively, Table 4. It is more difficult to get exact
information about the bus market. However, according to recent news 94.000 full electric and 23.000
plug-in electric buses were sold in China in 2015 (CleanTechnica, 2016). If these values are confirmed,
it would indicate that the battery market for eBUSes is as big as the one for EVs
Table 4. An estimate of the BEV and HEV use of lithium batteries (EV Volumes, 2017)
(CleanTechnica, 2016).
Vehicle type
Global sales 2016
Average battery size
Total battery
capacity
Thousand
kWh
GWh
BEV
472
45
21,2
PHEV
302
13
3,9
Total
774
33
25,2
eBUS (China 2015)
94
230
21,6
Utilization of the automotive Li-ion battery production capacity in 2014 was 22 % only
(Chung;Elgqvist;& Santhanagopalan, 2015). However, it appears that it has reached 90 % in 2016 and
the expansion of the capacity is well justified.
Less than 1 GWh of stationary Li-batteries were assembled in 2016 (IRENA, 2017).
3.
Raw material production and use in 2015-2016
Lithium, cobalt and graphite need of different lithium-ion chemistries are estimated in Table 5 and
prices in Figure 1. The most cobalt intensive LCO is still predominantly used for consumer electronics.
All other chemistries are used in electric vehicle applications. Tesla is favoring the NCA chemistry,
Nissan NMO and the Chinese manufacturers LiPF, respectively. However, there are indications that the
Chinese would gradually shift from LiPF to NMC due to its higher performance (Lima, 2016).
Table 5. Critical raw material need of different Li-ion battery chemistries (Petersen, 2016).
Chemistry
Li need
Co need
Graphite need
kg/kWh
kg/kWh
kg/kWh
Lithium cobalt oxide
0,16
1,44
1
(LCO)
Nickel manganese
0,16
0,36
1
cobalt oxide (NMC)
Nickel cobalt
0,16
0,22
1
aluminum oxide
(NCA)
Nickel manganese
0,16
0
1
oxide (NMO)
Lithium iron
0,16
0
1
phosphate (LiPF)
Figure 1. Price estimates for different Li-ion battery chemistries (Jaffe & Adamsson, 2014).
In the following, the raw materials use is estimated by the following assumptions, Table 6:



LCO chemistry is used for portable electronics.
LCA chemistry is used for BEV and PHEV outside China. This is believed to be a good average
between the NMC, NCA and NMO chemistries.
LiPF chemistry is used in China.
Table 6. Critical raw material needs for Li-batteries 2016.
Lithium
Global production
32.500
(Tons)
Battery use (Tons)
11.400
Consumer Electronics
4.300
(CE) (Tons / % of
38%
battery use)
BEV+PHEV (Tons / %
4.000
of battery use)
35%
eBUS in China (Tons /
3.500
% of battery use)
30%
CE+BEV+PHEV+eBUS
11.800
(Tons / % of battery use)
104%
Cobalt
99.000
Graphite&Carbon
380.000
41.600
38.700
93%
133.000
26.900
20%
2.300
5%
0
25.200
19%
21.600
16%
73.700
55%
41.000
99%
The assumption made are overestimating the lithium and cobalt needs and underestimating graphite
need. The main reasons are probably too large average battery sizes in the consumer electronics and
eBuses. Anyhow, the analysis is accurate enough to estimate the growth in raw material needs based on
growth estimates in different applications.
4.
Market estimates for lithium battery applications and their raw
material needs
4.1. Electric vehicles
The electric vehicle battery market is expected to double from 30 to 60 GWh and from 10 to 20 B$
between 2016 to 2020, Figure 2 (Frost & Sullivan, 2014) (Lux Research, 2015). This would mean global
sales of about 2 Million EVs in 2020 which is well below the Chinese plans of producing 5 million EVs
in 2020 (IEA, 2016). According to IEA and UN Paris Declaration, 10 million eVs on 2020 and 100
million eVs in 2030 would be needed in different low carbon scenarios, Figure 3 (IEA, 2016). This
corresponds to an annual production of at least 10 million EVs in 2020s. The raw material needs for the
annual production of 2, 5 and 10 million EVs are estimated in Table 7 assuming 50 kWh average battery
size and today´s technology.
Table 7. Raw material needs for EV batteries. Assuming 50% share for NMC, NCA and another 50%
for LMO and LiPF. 75 GWh were produced in 2016.
Global EV production
Battery
Lithium
Cobalt
Graphite&Carbon
needs
EVs / year
GWh
Ton
Ton
Ton
(times 2016
(times 2016
(times 2016
(times 2016
production)
production)
production)
production)
2 million
100
16.000
11.000
100.000
1,33x
0,50x
0,11x
0,26x
5 million
250
40.000
27.500
250.000
3,33x
1,3x
0,28x
0,66x
10 million
500
80.000
55.000
500.000
6,66x
2,5x
0,56x
1,32x
Figure 2. Market forecasts for lithium battery applications (Frost & Sullivan, 2014) (Lux Research,
2015).
Figure 3. EV deployment scenarios for low carbon future (IEA, 2016).
4.2.
Consumer electronics
The consumer electronics segment is expected to grow from 30 to 40-45 GWh/year by 2020 (Frost &
Sullivan, 2014) (Lux Research, 2015). The raw material needs for this are estimated in Table 8.
Table 8. Raw material need for consumer electronic batteries in 2020.
Demand grow between
Battery
Lithium
Cobalt
2016 to 2020
needs
%
GWh
Ton
Ton
(times 2016
(times 2016
(times 2016
production)
production)
production)
33
40
6.400
57.600
0,53x
0,20x
0,58x
50
45
7.200
64.800
0,60x
0,23x
0,65x
4.3.
Graphite&Carbon
Ton
(times 2016
production)
40.000
0,11x
45.000
0,12x
Stationary energy storage
The stationary Li battery for renewable energy and grid scale storage is expected to reach 5-20 GWh
by 2020, 40 GWh by 2025 and 100 GWh by 2030 (Frost & Sullivan, 2014) (Lux Research, 2015)
(IRENA, 2017). As very high cycle life is expected in this market segment, NMC and LiPF are the
preferred chemistries for this application. The raw material needs expecting 50/50 share between the
two chemistries are estimated in Table 9.
Table 9. Raw material needs for stationary lithium batteries.
Year
Battery
Lithium
needs
GWh
Ton
(times 2015
(times 2015
production)
production)
2020
5
800
0,07x
2020
10
1.600
0,13x
2020
20
3.200
0,27x
0,10x
2025
40
6.400
0,53x
0,20x
2030
100
16.000
1,33x
0,50x
Cobalt
Graphite&Carbon
Ton
(times 2015
production)
900
Ton
(times 2015
production)
5.000
1.800
10.000
3.600
20.000
7.200
40.000
0,11x
100.000
0,26x
18.000
0,18x
4.4.
Estimate summary
The probable raw material needs in 2020 have been shown in green in Tables 7 to 9, and the high end
need by 2025 in red. These values are summed up in Tables 10 and 11.
Table 10. Probable raw material need for lithium batteries in 2020.
Year
Battery
Lithium
Cobalt
needs
GWh
Ton
Ton
(times 2015
(times 2015
(times 2015
production)
production)
production)
Electric vehicles and
100
16.000
11.000
buses
1,33x
0,5x
0,11x
Consumer electronics
40
6.400
57.600
0,53x
0,20x
0,58x
Stationary
10
1.600
1.800
0,13x
0,05x
0,02
Total
150
24.000
70.400
2,0x
0,75x
0,71x
Graphite&Carbon
Ton
(times 2015
production)
100.000
0,26x
40.000
0,11x
10.000
0.03
150.000
0,40x
The need for lithium batteries is expected to doubly from the 2016 production by 2020. This would
mean that the share of battery use of lithium and cobalt would increase to above 70 % of global
production if no new mines were opened. The effect on graphite use would be less dramatic. The need
for cobalt depends strongly on chemistry. Tesla is favoring the cobalt containing NCA and NMC
chemistries for automotive and stationary applications, and the Chinese are favoring LiFP but could be
shifting to NMC for automotive applications. However, the main use of cobalt will remain in portable
electronics. At least 50 % increase in global Li and Co production would be needed to support the
growth of the battery industry without harming the other end uses.
Table 11. Raw materials needs for lithium batteries in 2025.
Year
Battery
Lithium
needs
GWh
Ton
(times 2015
(times 2015
production)
production)
Electric vehicles and
500
80.000
buses
6,67x
2,5x
Consumer electronics
45
7.200
0,60x
0,23x
Stationary
100
16.000
1,33x
0,50x
Total
645
103.200
8,6x
3,23x
Cobalt
Graphite&Carbon
Ton
(times 2015
production)
55.000
0,56x
64.800
0,65x
18.000
0,18x
137.800
1,39x
Ton
(times 2015
production)
500.000
1,32x
45.000
0,12x
100.000
0,26x
645.000
1,70x
The main growth beyond 2020 is expected from the automotive sector. If the BEV, PHEV and electric
bus production targets are met, the demand for lithium batteries can increase by a factor of 8 to 10. This
means that the global lithium production should be increased by a factor of four and the cobalt and
graphite production doubled, at least, by 2025. This is challenging, as cobalt is a byproduct of copper
and nickel and there are no dedicated cobalt mines.
References
CDI. (2016). Cobalt Facts: Supply and Demand. Cobalt Development Institute.
Chung, D.;Elgqvist, E.;& Santhanagopalan, S. (2015). Automotive Lithium‐ion Battery (LIB) Supply
Chain and US Competitiveness Considerations; NREL/PR-‐6A50-‐63354. Clean Energy
Manufacturing Analysis Center (CEMAC).
CleanTechnica. (2016). Electric BUs Sales Explode in China 2010-2015.
https://cleantechnica.com/2016/09/23/plug-electric-bus-sales-china-explode-2010-2015/.
CleanTechnica.com.
EV Obsession. (2017). http://evobsession.com/. EV Obsession.com.
EV Volumes. (2017). http://www.ev-volumes.com/country/total-world-plug-in-vehicle-volumes/. EV
Volumes.com.
Frost & Sullivan. (2014). Analysis of the Global Lithium-ion Battery Market: Growth Opportunities and
Market Outlook; Developing Applications Lead the Charge. Frost & Sullivan ND02-27.
IEA. (2016). Global EV Outlook 2016. Beyond One Million Electric Cars. International Energy Agency.
IRENA. (2017). Rethinking Energy. International Renewable Energy Agency.
Jaffe, S.;& Adamsson, K. (2014). Advanced Batteries for Utility Scale Energy Storage. Navigant
Consulting.
Jaskula, B. W. (2016). Mineral Commodity Summaries, Lithium. U.S. Geological Survey.
Lima, P. (2016). China Starts Repalcing LiFePo4 with NMC; http://pushevs.com/2016/06/10/chinastarts-replacing-lifepo4-with-nmc-for-evs/. Pushevs.com.
Lux Research. (2015). http://www.luxresearchinc.com/news-and-events/press-releases/read/energystorage-market-rises-50-billion-2020-amid-dramatic. Lux Research.
Petersen, J. (2016). Tesla's Evolving Cobalt Nightmare. Seeking Alpha.
Statista. (2017).
https://www.statista.com/topics/840/smartphones/;https://www.statista.com/statistics/27
2595/global-shipments-forecast-for-tablets-laptops-and-desktop-pcs/. Statista.
UNEP. (2011). Recycling Rates of Matels: A Status Report. United Nations Environment Programme.
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