Lithium-ion batteries are at the center of the energy transition, powering electric vehicles and being deployed in energy storage systems around the world.
Following this year’s Battery Gigafactories Europe event, the Investing News Network caught up with Caspar Rawles, chief data officer at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
“This is the first terawatt hour (TWh) year that we’re expecting to see on both supply and demand in the lithium-ion battery supply chain,” he said, adding that the main market driver continues to be the electric vehicle industry.
“The only headwind at the moment is the broader macroeconomic outlook … so that perhaps may slow things a bit more than forecasted later in the year, but at the moment it’s still all guns blazing for 2023,” he added.
By 2050, about 300 TWh of lithium-ion battery deployed capacity will be needed, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Cathode chemistries are changing within lithium-ion batteries, with a shift towards higher-nickel chemistries on the nickel-based side continuing, and lithium-iron-phosphate also increasing its market share.
In Europe in particular, current battery gigafactory plans are quite focused on nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) cathodes.
“The vast majority of the capacity is focused around NCM, or in some cases a small amount of nickel-cobalt-aluminum,” Rawles said. “I do anticipate that will change over time.”
He explained that outside of China, Europe has been seeing the most growth for some time now and has received the most investment. It’s also been expected to have the largest cell production capacity going forward.
“That is still the case in outright numbers,” Rawles said. “But the US in particular, as a result of the policies put in place by the Inflation Reduction Act, has started to close that gap.”
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence data, cell capacity forecasts for Europe through 2030 have increased by about 18 to 19 percent. In that same period, cell capacity forecasts for North America have increased by just over 60 percent.
“But what we’re seeing is a ratcheting of activity on the policy side within Europe to try and ensure that investments don’t get moved over to the US instead of Europe in terms of building out the supply chain,” he said. “I would add though that I think that what we’re seeing is that this is not an either/or situation.”
Rawles also shared his insights on battery manufacturing and supply of raw materials. Listen to the interview above to learn more of his thoughts.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.