Lithium-ion batteries have grabbed a larger slice of the worldwide battery market than lead for the first time, but Pb will continue to grow at a “modest rate”, according to a top industry analyst.
Battery expert Dr Geoffrey May (pictured) told the International Lead Association’s PB2019 conference in Madrid that lithium-ion had a worldwide market share of US$40 billion in 2018, compared to $37.5bn for lead. This was the first time lithium-ion batteries had been ahead, he said.
But in terms of GWh of production, lead achieved 380GWh in 2018, representing 75% of batteries produced said May— a consulting engineer and former chief technical officer at Italian lead-acid battery maker Fiamm and director of technology at Invensys (now Enersys) and Hawker Group.
May said the forecast modest growth rate for lead was “not different” to that it has enjoyed historically. However, he predicted that the lithium-ion market would grow “massively” in the next few years, driven by electric vehicles, portable electronics and to “a lesser extent” by energy storage. The power tools market is also expected to increase in importance in terms of lithium-ion batteries, he said.
Research by energy market specialists Avicenne suggests that the overall battery market will increase in value to $220bn by 2030, with more than $56bn for lead batteries and more than $160bn for lithium-ion, May said.
But May said the energy storage market could offer opportunities for growth by advanced lead battery technology in future in the wake of fires involving lithium-ion energy storage facilities— such as those in South Korea, where he said 4% of the battery stock (some 200MWh) had been damaged as a result of fires.