5 major challenges in the lithium battery material industry



In the discussion about moving towards the TWh era, how to achieve "sustainable development" has become a high-frequency word that the industry pays attention to. The decline of material prices, the continuous participation of cross-border companies, the increasing requirements for material performance, new cooperation models, digitalization, and the construction of zero-carbon factories have become the 5 major challenges that affect the sustainable development of materials companies. Referring to material companies, reading Top 10 lithium battery ternary material companies on our website can help you get more specific details about the battery materials industry.

1.The price of lithium battery materials has fallen

In 2021, the explosive growth of the new energy vehicle and lithium battery energy storage markets will drive a substantial increase in lithium battery shipments, which will in turn generate strong demand for various upstream lithium battery materials. The overall lithium battery material sector is in a state of tight supply and rising prices. Among them, the prices of lithium carbonate, lithium hexafluorophosphate, PVDF, lithium iron phosphate, etc. will increase by more than 750%, 420%, 400% and 350% respectively in 2021 compared with the end of 2020; the prices of raw materials such as graphitization, iron phosphate and monoammonium phosphate also have 1 -2x increase.


The price of lithium battery materials has fallen


However, with upstream companies accelerating production expansion and downstream market demand adjustments, the prices of the above-mentioned materials will gradually decline in 2022. Among them, the VC price increase cycle is the shortest, with the price soaring from 150,000 RMB/ton in 2020 to 500,000 RMB/ton in 2021, and then falling to the current 120,000 RMB/ton. At present, there is no supply bottleneck for the electrolyte, and the gross profit of solvents and additives has returned to a reasonable range. The price mainly depends on lithium carbonate.

With the concentrated release of new production capacity, the supply and demand relationship of most lithium battery raw materials will stabilize in 2022. The production capacity of raw materials such as lithium hexafluorophosphate, VC, and lithium iron phosphate is relatively abundant at present, but raw materials such as graphitization, iron phosphate and PVDF are still in short supply, and it is expected to reach a balance in the third and fourth quarters. It is expected that by 2023, except for lithium mines, if the planned production capacity of other lithium battery raw materials can be put into production, the production capacity bottleneck will be lifted.

2.Cross-border companies continue to join the lithium battery material industry

In 2021, the supply of many materials for lithium batteries is tight and prices are soaring, superimposing the deterministic market opportunities in the TWh era, and cross-border entrants flock to the market. Especially in the field of LFP materials(used to make LFP batteries), in addition to traditional LFP cathode material companies, including ternary cathode material companies, phosphorus chemical, titanium dioxide chemical companies and cross-border companies have also expanded their production of LFP materials.

Cross-border companies continue to join the lithium battery material industry


For traditional material companies, the more cross-border companies and the more new production capacity, the more market competition and price impacts they face will inevitably intensify. For cross-border entrants, they will also face multiple challenges such as talent shortage, sudden impact of the epidemic, smooth project approval, and production capacity verification release. Taking LFP materials as an example, only companies with integrated projects, rapid expansion, cost advantages, and deep binding with the downstream are expected to enjoy the market dividends in the high-boom stage of the industry.

3.Material performance requirements tend to be higher

The need to improve the energy density of power batteries, reduce manufacturing costs, and improve safety performance puts forward higher requirements for product performance improvement of lithium battery materials such as cathodes, anodes, separators, electrolytes, copper-aluminum foils, and structural parts. With the large-scale application of lithium iron phosphate battery products around the world, its disadvantages such as poor low temperature performance and greatly reduced battery life in winter have become increasingly prominent.

Material performance requirements tend to be higher


Low temperature performance and fast charging have become urgent issues for lithium iron phosphate materials in the next stage. The improvement of energy density and safety performance of power batteries puts forward new requirements for anode materials in terms of material system and manufacturing process. In the future, the technical route of anode materials will mainly develop in the direction of carbon anodes and non-carbon anodes. In order to meet the trend of high safety, light weight, low cost and long life of lithium batteries, the diaphragm technology is also extending in the direction of thinning, high performance and high safety.

Lithium batteries have higher and higher requirements on technical indicators such as thickness, tensile strength, elongation, roughness, and oxidation resistance of lithium battery copper foil. Therefore, breaking through the bottleneck of product performance and developing new materials has become a new challenge for lithium battery material companies to be solved urgently. On the other hand, the barriers to competition in the lithium battery material industry will continue to rise.

4.Changes in the cooperation model of battery companies

Based on the vigilance of the stable supply of upstream raw materials and price fluctuations, more and more battery companies have begun to bypass the first-tier suppliers of midstream materials and directly carry out diversified cooperation with upstream material companies, including joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and long-term order binding. Under the new cycle, the new ecology of the lithium battery industry chain is also constantly being formed. How to deal with the relationship with terminal companies in the situation of short supply and oversupply requires material companies to respond to the market with more open new thinking.

Changes in the cooperation model of battery companies

5.Materials companies transform to digital and zero-carbon

Under the evolution of demand for lithium battery materials at the level of millions of tons, creating digital, environmentally friendly, low-carbon and sustainable production will become the core of competition for companies under the new supply chain. Meanwhile, zero-carbonization has become a new label for participating in the global power battery industry competition, and the construction of zero-carbon factories has gradually penetrated the upstream and downstream of the entire industrial chain. Building a zero-carbon factory has also become a new proposition for material companies to participate in global competition. Maybe you also want to know the dynamics of the global power battery industry, the Top 10 power battery companies in the world on our website will provide you with information about the leaders in the power battery industry