Manganese is a gray-white, hard, brittle, and shiny black metal. Pure metal manganese is slightly softer than iron. Manganese with a small amount of impurities is hard and brittle, and will oxidize in humid places. Manganese exists widely in nature, and the soil contains 0.25% of manganese. Manganese has potential, and Tesla sees potential for manganese-based cathodes in battery chemistry. With the popularity of sodium batteries recently, many sodium-ion battery companies accelerate the layout of production analysts have tapped the opportunity for manganese to explode in their industry.
The latest research report shows that the new battery cathode material will also help the secondary growth of battery manganese demand: lithium iron manganese phosphate has a higher voltage platform, and the energy density of the existing lithium iron phosphate system is increased by 15-20%. Sodium-ion batteries have significant material cost advantages, and either layered oxides or Prussian systems are expected to drive manganese demand.
1. What is the relationship between sodium batteries and manganese
According to the data, sodium batteries mainly include three types of cathode material routes: layered oxides, polyanions and Prussian blue. The general formula of layered metal oxides is NaxTMO2, where TM refers to transition metals, and manganese and iron are the most common ones. The general formula of the crystal structure of Prussian blue compounds is NaxM[Fe(CN6)]1-y△y·zH2O, where M represents transition metal elements such as iron, cobalt, nickel, and manganese.
It can be seen that both the layered oxide route of sodium-ion batteries and the Prussian blue route will use manganese, which will drive the demand for manganese. The manganese source for sodium batteries includes manganese sulfate, manganese dioxide, manganese acetate, manganese oxalate, manganese chloride and other forms. It is estimated that the consumption of manganese dioxide varies from 0.11Kg to 1.46Kg for a 1KWh sodium-ion battery with the same technical route.
2. Manganese has been widely used in the battery industry
In addition to sodium batteries, the industry research report also pointed out that manganese will be more and more widely used in lithium batteries in the future. It is expected that with the further development of energy storage batteries and power battery companies in the world, the demand for manganese in the battery industry will increase substantially. Relevant industry research reports said that at present, lithium iron manganese phosphate, ternary materials, lithium manganate, etc. are all actively promoting industrialization, which will also stimulate the demand for manganese. Lithium iron manganese phosphate is regarded as an upgraded version of lithium iron phosphate.
The current energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries has reached the theoretical limit of about 160Wh/kg. With the addition of manganese, its high voltage characteristics will make lithium iron manganese phosphate have a higher voltage platform, so that the energy density of lithium iron manganese phosphate is 10%-20% higher than that of lithium iron phosphate at the same level. According to industry estimates, the shipment of lithium iron manganese phosphate cathode materials will exceed 350,000 tons in 2025. Ternary cathode materials and lithium manganate cathode materials will also usher in a certain degree of growth with the expansion of the lithium battery market.
According to relevant calculations, the production capacity of ternary materials in China in 2025 is 1.938 million tons, and the demand for lithium manganate in 2025 may reach about 400,000 tons. On the whole, new energy batteries are bringing a new growth point for the manganese industry. According to estimates, the demand for manganese in China's battery industry in 2025 will be 890,800 tons (assuming manganese dioxide equivalent), an increase of 3.8 times compared with 2021. Manganese will be more and more widely used in lithium batteries in the future. It is expected that with the further development of energy storage batteries and power batteries, the demand for manganese in the battery industry will increase substantially.
3. Manganese supply and demand are tight
Data shows that in 2020, 97% of the global manganese ore consumption will be used in the steel industry, and batteries will account for only 2.1% (electrolytic manganese dioxide 1.7%, high-purity manganese sulfate 0.3%). According to institutional analysis, assuming other demands remain unchanged, the proportion of manganese used in batteries is expected to rise from 2.1% in 2020 to 4.9% in 2030. According to industry data, the global manganese resources are mainly concentrated in South Africa, Australia and Gabon, and China's production and reserves only account for 6.5% and 3.6% of the world's total.
At the same time, China's manganese ore resources are not endowed well, and it is difficult to develop and utilize, and it still needs to be imported. It is estimated that in 2021, China's dependence on foreign manganese resources will be as high as 78.4%. In terms of supply and demand, driven by multiple sources of new energy batteries, the demand for manganese has increased rapidly, while in terms of supply, policies, environmental protection and high energy consumption still limit the expansion of the manganese industry.
Taking manganese dioxide as an example, according to the relevant documents issued by the Chinese government, new electrolytic manganese dioxide is a restricted category. For restricted projects, new construction is prohibited, and existing production capacity is allowed to be upgraded within a certain period of time. It can be found from the EIA report that strict requirements have been made on the terrestrial ecology and surface water environment. Relevant agencies predict that manganese for batteries will still be in a tight supply state. As of September 30, the price of manganese dioxide was 17,000 RMB / ton, up 28.8% from the beginning of the year.
4. Manganese industry chain
The manganese industry chain covers from the upstream resource end to the final recycling end. The ore sources include manganese carbonate ore, manganese oxide ore, mixed ores and other types of ores. After smelting and processing, silicon-manganese alloys, manganese dioxide and other products are produced, which are finally used in steel, batteries and other fields. The final recycling end is mainly manganese slag, including slag produced at the resource end and smelting slag produced at the smelting end.
Manganese ore resources can be used in multi-dimensional fields such as iron and steel metallurgy, battery manufacturing, chemical industry, medicine, electronics, construction, agricultural feed, etc. In terms of utilization, 96.5% of the global manganese ore will be used in the steel industry in 2020, with ordinary batteries and agriculture ranking second and third, accounting for 1.7% and 1.4% respectively. Manganese can improve the properties of alloys without reducing the plasticity and impact toughness of steel, and is irreplaceable in the steel industry.