Materials for Small Size Batteries and Fuel Cells

Published - Sep 2002| Analyst - Donald Saxman| Code - FCB031B
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. small and portable battery and fuel cell material market was worth more than $980 million at the wholesale level in 2001 and, growing at an average annual rate (AAGR) of 5.7%, will approach $1.3 billion in 2006.
  • Four materials critical to the fabrication of widely used lithium batteries, metallic lithium, lithium compounds, conductive polymers, and cobalt compounds, each represent an annual market worth a total of $430 million. By 2006, these materials should be worth about $580 million.
  • The next four “other important materials” include silica, metallic zinc, manganese dioxide, and fluorine compounds and are valued at $375 in 2001. Growing at an AAGR of 3%, they will reach about $434 million by 2006.
  • Medium demand materials will grow at an AAGR of 10% to $258 million in 2006.
  • Low demand materials will grow at an 8% AAGR to $22 million in 2006.


Small size batteries and fuel cells, defined here as batteries smalller than automotive batteries. 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 small battery and fuel cell materials. Each small battery and fuel cell material is profiled and analyzed. The report provides an overview of specific small battery and fuel cell technologies in terms of markets, value, number of units shipped, and types of materials used. Small battery and fuel cell consumption is discussed in terms of how they are used to create various components. An extensive set of small 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.


This report provides coverage of:


  • the latest technologies
  • industry structure and competitive aspects, 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 when 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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Published - May-2002| Analyst - Donald Saxman| Code - FCB031A

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.


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