Lithium Batteries: Markets and Materials
The U.S. lithium battery material market grew to more than $2 billion in 2003. Rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 4.7%, this market will reach $2.7 billion in 2009.
Put into perspective, the entire U.S. battery market will be worth more than $13 billion in 2004 (much of this for lead-acid automotive batteries).
Nonrechargeable (primary) lithium batteries were worth $312 million in 2002 and the U.S. market should grow to a predicted $522 million in 2009, at an AAGR of 5.7%.
The rechargeable secondary lithium battery market was approximately $1,410 million in 2002 but should grow to more than $2.1 billion by 2009.
Lithium batteries, developed in the 1960s, first were commercialized in the early 1970s, but did not gain wide consumer use until 1981. There now are six commercial and developmental lithium battery types, nearly 30 commercialized electrode couples, and more than 1,000 specific designs. A new generation of lithium batteries includes very large cells suitable for powering vehicles or storing significant amounts of utility power, as well as very small cells capable of powering microelectromechanical machines.
In fact, improved lithium batteries are allowing the commercialization of entire new classes of portable products, including laptop computers and cellular phones. Lithium batteries have been used in prototype electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. Eventually, they may be commercialized to provide automobile starting power or to supplement internal combustion or fuel cell power in next-generation hybrid vehicles.
After a period of steady sales or incremental growth (as opposed to the double digit growth of the 1990s), U.S. lithium battery sales are beginning to pickup. Due to falling prices for some popular lithium battery types, the overall value may fall even as unit sales grow. Further, an increasing share of these batteries will be manufactured in the U.S.
With this in mind, this study analyzes the U.S. primary and secondary lithium battery markets. It provides the basis for a detailed analysis of U.S. lithium battery material technology and markets.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The report contains:
- Analysis of the following battery product markets
- portable products
- medical products
- stationary applications
- automotive and motive power
- Analysis of lithium battery materials, including
- electrode materials and active elements
- lithium battery electrolytes
- battery separators.
This report is based on a literature review, patent examination, and discussions with commercial and government sources. Throughout the report, past market data is expressed in current dollars, and estimates and predictions in constant 2004 dollars. Historic markets and the predicted market for 2009 are provided. Most market summaries are based on a consensus scenario that assumes no unanticipated technical advances and no unexpected legislation. Pessimistic, consensus, and optimistic market scenarios characterize several developmental markets. Totals are rounded to the nearest million dollars. When appropriate, information from previously published sources is identified to allow a more detailed examination by clients.
Market assumptions used in this report include those based on updates of material from an earlier version of this analysis, as well as from BCC studies GB-184 Portable Battery Powered Products and GB-197 Large and Advanced Battery Technology and Markets. This report's author prepared these studies as well. Although many segments of the industry are well documented, much of this information is based on estimates, not hard facts. The distinction between these estimates and hard facts can be vital, and wherever possible, sources are identified. The BCC monthly newsletter Battery/EV Technology News provides a valuable secondary source.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This report's project analyst, Donald Saxman, was a long-time editor of the BCC monthly Battery/EV Technology News and has founded several other BCC newsletters. Saxman has over 22 years experience in market analysis, technical writing, and newsletter editing. Since 1983, he has operated as a technical market consultant and subcontractor to BCC, and in this capacity, he has prepared over 60 Opportunity Reports. His previous experience includes supervision of a quality-control laboratory at a major secondary lead refinery, experience as an analytical chemist at a hazardous waste testing service, product assurance manager for a space station life support system project, and an information technology analyst and project manager.
The U.S. lithium battery market is estimated at $1.9 billion in 2001.
Growing at an average annual rate (AAGR) of 9%, the market is expected to reach nearly $3 billion in 2006.
Secondary batteries dominate the market. Sales are estimated at $1.6 billion in 2001, and are likely to rise at an AAGR of 10.1% to $2.6 billion in 2006.
Primary batteries make up a small portion of sales—$0.3 billion in 2001—and are expected to grow at an AAGR of only 2.5% to $0.4 billion in 2006.
Growth for the market as a whole through 2011 is expected to average 10.3% per year, with secondary batteries, at an AAGR of 11.4%, to lead the way once again.