The global cathode materials market is estimated to experience healthy growth during the forecast period. Cathode materials are used as voltage-limiting and energy-limiting electrodes in batteries. Increasing usage of batteries in electric vehicles (EV) and consumer electronic products is poised to provide a fillip to the market. The market is anticipated to benefit from increasing utilization of rechargeable and lightweight batteries in modern-day gadgets such as smartphone and laptops.
Rapid development in manufacturing of commercial vehicle, passenger cars, and motorcycles is further fueling the demand for cathode materials in batteries. Apart from that, utilization of energy storage applications is likely to result in increased consumption of the product during the forecast period.
Major applications of batteries include consumer electronics, power tools, forklift, telecommunication, ESS, UPS, and transportation. Concerns regarding power outages and subsequent effect on industrial operations are bolstering the demand for uninterruptible power supply systems. Some of these industrial sectors include chemical, manufacturing, oil & gas, and healthcare.
Surging demand for energy conservation and ongoing transition from conventional to alternative sources are poised to rev up the adoption rate of advanced energy storage systems (ESS). Rising smart grid installation and increasing shift towards renewable energy are also projected to stir up the demand for these systems. Ongoing R&D for enhancing efficiency of cathode materials, such as lithium, sodium, and nickel, for ESS is expected to offer ample opportunities for raw material manufacturers over the long term.
Growing awareness among market players regarding sustainable sourcing of battery materials, recycling, and efficient waste disposal has been playing a vital role in streamlining production and disposal route across regions. Cathode material and battery producers abide by international standards so as to get certified by agencies such as U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) and European Union (EU)-Batteries Directive.
The global cathode materials market can be segmented based on type of raw material and applications. Based on the type of raw material, the market has been classified into nickel cobalt manganese (NCM), lithium iron phosphate (LFP), lead oxide, lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA), and lithium manganese oxide (LMO). NMC and LFP, collectively, are likely to command a sizeable share in the market in 2017.
In current times, lead acid batteries are among the most commonly used in electronic systems, owing to their low cost and performance features as compared to other batteries. In addition, higher recycling rate and ongoing R&D on the concept of dynamic charging acceptance are likely to boost the adoption of lead-based cathode materials in EV batteries over the forecast period.
Growing shift towards batteries with higher energy density and reliability has been contributing to the demand for NCM and NCA batteries over the last few years. Cobalt, being a common cathode material for these batteries, has faced various supply challenges owing to shutdown of production plants in Africa and Australia. Such risks associated with procurement practices are urging market players to strengthen their supply chain by including reliable sources.
In regions such as North America and Europe, large-scale installations of solar and wind power have been announced by industry participants over the last few years. Technological advancements are leading to high adoption of energy storage systems in these installations, which in turn is expected to fuel the demand for cathode materials over the coming years.
Asia Pacific is estimated to be a major revenue contributor in the global arena throughout the forecast horizon. Singapore, China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea are major producers accounting for over 40.0% of total lithium battery exports in 2017. Apart from production, China is also a major consumer of batteries owing to large-scale manufacturing of electronic products and automotive.
The global cathode materials market is marked by presence of a large number of manufacturers and suppliers. These producers are constantly engaged in developing offerings characterized by high energy density, durability, power, and safety. Some of the key players in the market are Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Umicore, POSCO, 3M, Johnson Matthey, Sumitomo, Hitachi Chemical, Kureha, Mitsui Mining & Smelting, and Toda Kogyo.
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