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The overall lithium ion battery market size is expected to grow from USD 37.4 billion in 2018 to USD 92.2 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 16.2% during the forecast period.
Will declining prices of lithium ion batteries lead to opportunities for increased adoption in new applications?
The price of lithium-ion batteries has been a major hurdle since their introduction in the 1990s. A state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery consists of many components that are provided at subsidized costs to electric vehicle OEMs. The primary component of any lithium-ion battery is the cell which accounts for almost 50% of its cost, while the rest is electronics, assembly, and packaging. However, recent developments and claims made by lithium-ion battery manufacturing companies and automobile companies suggest that the prices of these batteries are expected to decline substantially. According to General Motors Company (US), its cell currently costs USD 145 per kWh, which is expected to drop to USD 100 per kWh by 2021. Tesla Motors Inc. (US) has begun construction of its Gigafactory 1, a lithium-ion battery factory, which is expected to help bring down the cost of lithium-ion batteries.
Developments such as manufacturing on a large scale, low price of components, and adoption of technologies to boost battery capacity are some of the factors leading to a decline in prices, which is expected to lead the growth of the renewable energy storage market and other grid storage markets. These markets are expected to prefer lithium-ion batteries over any other rechargeable batteries, hence increasing their market share, which is expected to lead to an increase in the demand to lithium-based batteries.
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How will players overcome the challenges posed by the overheating of lithium ion batteries?
Lithium ion batteries are used in consumer electronics, automobiles, electrical systems, commercial aviation, AGVs, forklifts, pallet trucks, and material-handling equipment. The reason behind the adoption of lithium-ion batteries is their ability to store relatively a large amount of energy in a small space. However, a major drawback of lithium ion batteries is that they heat up considerably and may catch fire in case of any malfunction.
In case of lithium-ion battery, lithium is a highly unstable substance. A separator is placed between cathode and anode, which gets disrupted leading to a short circuit. A major factor responsible for overheating is the physical damage caused to the separator. When there is a leakage, the liquid leaks out and reacts with surrounding components causing overheating. Overheating can also be caused because of software issues in devices where the automated instruction to turn off the charging port is missed while the battery is charging. This problem can cause overcharging, probable overheating, and swelling of a battery, posing a major challenge for lithium ion battery manufacturers.
Growing need for automation and battery-operated material-handling equipment in industries
With the growth of industrial automation, the market for material handling equipment has also developed to support the changing requirements of various industries. Over the course of time, various technological advancements have taken place in the material handling equipment industry. Automated material handling and lifting equipment, including automated guided vehicles (AGVs), elevating equipment, industrial trucks, and intralogistics systems, have undergone several technological advancements, and most of them are battery-operated. For instance, in 2017, Toyota with regard to increasing product appeal and quick responses to growing environmental consciousness among customers and more strict emissions regulations, included fully revamping a reach-type electric lift truck in Japan and increasing the number of models equipped with lithium-ion batteries in Europe and the US. These electric lift trucks have less environmental impact and offer even greater maneuverability. As demand for material-handling equipment is growing, need for fast and efficient battery-operated equipment such as AGVs and electric forklifts is increasing in industries such as warehouse, logistics, food & beverages, and healthcare. Hence, need for battery-operated material-handling equipment is driving the growth of the lithium ion battery market.
Developing application within energy sector
Lithium ion batteries are good alternate sources of energy as compared to non-renewable source of energy such as petrol, coal, and fossil fuels. Lithium ion battery leaves no environmental impurity and is easily available and can be charged whenever required. The future concern toward depleting non-renewable sources of energy is motivating the need for new energy resources.
Energy storage provides numerous valuable services and coat saving to the electric grid and several companies are developing storage technology for various applications. The distributed energy storage devices use lithium ion batteries to store excess energy during peak time and use it at the time when energy sources are not available. Load leveling, peak shaving and power demand management are major applications of a grid-connected battery energy storage system (BESS), especially in an autonomous power network. Lithium-ion has started to become one of the most popular options of energy storage systems due to its high charge/discharge efficiency and significant energy density. The increasing adoption of renewable energy resources created a much more opportunity for the lithium ion battery.
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