Materials for Large Size Batteries and Fuel Cells

Published - May 2002| Analyst - Donald Saxman| Code - FCB031A
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. large size battery and fuel cell material market dipped to $1.37 billion at the wholesale level in 2001 and should be worth more than $2.4 billion in 2006, rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 12%.
  • Lead remains the most important large battery material, but over the next five years, lead use will grow at an AAGR of only 0.8%.
  • Other materials like tin, antimony, sulfuric acid, arsenic, bismuth, selenium, etc. used in lead-acid batteries will fare somewhat better, growing at an AAGR of 1.7% to $87 million in 2006.
  • Non-lead-acid battery materials in high demand (each worth more than $10 million per year) include platinum group metals, titanium, zirconium, lithium, carbon and rare earth compounds. Taken together, they will grow at an AAGR of 66% from $74 million in 2001 to $936 million in 2006.


Large size batteries and fuel cells, defined here as batteries approximately equal to or larger than automotive batteries, have long been used to provide backup electrical power, start automobiles and power industrial vehicles. More recently, they can be found in advanced military systems, electric automobiles and buses, and generating power from clean fuels like hydrogen.

A battery has five components: two active elements (a cathode and an anode), a separator, an electrolyte medium for carrying ions between the reactants through the separator, and a case. Like batteries, fuel cells produce electrical energy through an electrochemical process. Fuel cells also typically have a pair of electrodes and electrolyte, as well as structural supports. Unlike batteries, fuel cells are “conversion” devices that change some kind of chemical fuel into electricity. Fuel cells can’t directly store electrical energy, but they have a great deal of flexibility in fuels. Therefore, fuel generation and storage components must be used, each with its own unique material requirements.

In both cases, there are hundreds of combinations of possible electrode, electrolyte, separator and electrocatalytic materials, and material selection plays an important (and often the most important) role in battery and fuel cell design.

With this in mind, this BCC Business Opportunity Report examines the U.S. market for large battery and fuel cell materials. Each large battery and fuel cell material is profiled and analyzed. The report provides an overview of specific large battery and fuel cell technologies in terms of markets, value, number of units shipped, and types of materials used. Large battery and fuel cell consumption is discussed in terms of how they are used to create various components. An extensive set of large battery and fuel cell material supplier profiles is provided, along with a summary of contact information for the battery and fuel cell companies that use these materials.

Both the electrochemical battery and fuel cell industries are enjoying unprecedented growth sparked by the need for reliable backup power, larger automotive batteries, and new ways to look at electrical power generation. Ultimately, the fortunes of batteries and fuel cells are tied to the materials used to create them. Battery and fuel cell demand have revitalized a number of raw material markets, and many material suppliers are counting on new battery and fuel cell markets to drive growth.


For large batteries and fuel cells, this report provides coverage of:


  • the latest technologies
  • including driving forces, trade practices, internationalization aspects, material supply chains, purchasing influences and prices, and material company market shares
  • markets for battery electrodes, electrolytes and separators
  • markets for fuel processing and storage, fuel cell electrodes and electrocatalysts and fuel cell electrolytes
  • markets for specific battery and fuel cell materials within major classifications
  • historic, current and predicted battery and fuel cell markets by volume and value.




This report is based on a literature review, patent examination, and discussions with commercial and government sources. USGS mineral commodity data is evaluated and included where appropriate. The BCC monthly newsletter, Battery/EV Technology News, provides a valuable secondary source. Throughout the report, past market data is expressed in current dollars, and estimates and predictions in constant year 2001 dollars.

Estimated producer-level markets for 2000 and predicted 2001 and 2006 market figures are provided. Totals are rounded to the nearest million dollars. Volume is typically expressed in million units, tons, or in some cases, units appropriate to the particular kind of material. When appropriate, information from previously published sources is identified to allow a more detailed examination by clients.

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