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Lithium-ion batteries are emerging as crucial components for energy storage!

Lithium-ion batteries are not a new age concept, they have been used for a long time now, as a source of power in the portable electronics. Sony Corporation was the first company to commercialize the lithium-ion batteries in the year 1991, which influenced other consumer electronic manufactures to follow the trend. Over the past few years, penetration of Lithium-ion battery in the electric vehicle market and has taken it by storm. The success of lithium-ion batteries in every field is mainly due to the higher gravimetric and volumetric energy offered by the lithium-ion batteries as compared to the other rechargeable batteries. Owing to such potential benefits, demand for lithium-ion batteries has grown from a production base of 19GWh in 2010 to a production of 160GWH in 2019. As of December 2019, the number of lithium-ion battery mega-factories in pipeline has reached 115. The world’s leading EV and battery manufacturer added a huge 564GWH of pipeline capacity in 2019 to a global total of 2068.3GWH or equivalent of 40 million EVs by 2028. Lithium-ion batteries are mainly used in the electric vehicles, 2019 recorded over 2.21 million energy vehicles sales, compared to 1.25 million units in 2018. This clearly shows that the demand for lithium-ion batteries will be more in coming years, as more and more people are moving towards sustainable development. The global lithium battery market is projected to grow from US$ 30 billion in 2017 to over US$ 100 billion by 2025. Earlier it was not the lithium ions but the lithium metal itself with which the scientist tried making the rechargeable batteries. But the result was not fruitful as lithium is inherent instability of the lithium metal. It was then that the focus of the research shifted to a non-metallic lithium battery using lithium ions.

Countries with Lithium reserves

With every passing day the demand for lithium is growing as people are becoming more and more aware about the harmful effects of the nonrenewable energy. It will not be wrong to state that the countries which are having more energy reserves, would be the maximum contributor to the world economy in future. Chile has the largest lithium reserves worldwide by a large margin. Chile had an estimated 9.2 million metric tons of lithium reserves in 2020. Australia bagged second position with reserves estimated at 4.7 million metric tons. Australia was the top country in terms of lithium mine production in 2020, producing 40,000 metric tons of lithium in the same year.

Why is the demand high for Lithium-ion?

  • The success of lithium-ion batteries in every field is mainly due to the higher gravimetric and volumetric energy offered by the lithium-ion batteries as compared to the other rechargeable batteries
  • Lithium-ion is a low maintenance battery which means no scheduled cycling is required also the self-discharge is less than half as compared to the nickel-cadmium batteries which ultimately helps to prolong the batteries life
  • The lithium-ion batteries provide up to 10 times longer life than lead acid batteries. They also provide 80% of rated capacity after 2,000 cycles
  • If compared with lead-acid batteries the lithium-ion batteries last up to five years more. The main reason behind this is lithium batteries require no active maintenance
  • The most important factor that makes lithium-ion batteries so valuable is that the lithium can charge and discharge at a high rate which helps in providing maximum versatility for all types of application

Countries promoting Lithium-ion batteries.

In the race of production of batteries China dominates the market with 93 giga factories, manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells as compared to only 4 in the United States. According to benchmark mineral intelligence, China is projected to have 140 giga factories by 2020, Europe is expected to have 17 giga factories and U.S. just 10. If the projected trends become reality, it clearly shows that U.S. will be dependent on other countries mainly China to meet its demand for lithium-ion batteries. This is specially not good when the Biden administration promises to boost the clean energy economy.

Outlook 2021-2022

As the world is moving towards sustainable development, more and more companies as well as the government are finding different ways in which the traditional fossil fuel and lithium-ion batteries can be used as a good option. It clearly shows that the lithium-ion batteries will see an exponential growth in the coming years.

Author: Tinku Rai

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