Demand for lithium batteries to surge over 5-fold; EVs to fuel more

by IANS |

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) From smartphones to laptops, from medical equipment to electric cars, lithium-ion batteries are providing portable electricity across electronic gadgets and power tools, and their demand is only going to surge.

Called "White Gold", Lithium is a soft, silvery-white alkali metal that is highly reactive, incredibly light, and low in density.

Though it had a diverse range of applications throughout history, in recent years, it has become a critical component of lithium-ion batteries due its reactivity, lightness and ability to be recharged.

The global lithium market size was valued at $6.83 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 per cent from 2022 to 2030, according to Grand View Research.

Electrification of vehicles is projected to attract a significant volume of lithium-ion batteries, thus anticipated to drive the market over the forecast period.

Government subsidies for EVs, along with investments in this space, are acting as an additional booster to the growth of the market.

According to public-private alliance Li-Bridge, the global demand for lithium batteries is expected to surge more than five-fold by 2030.

Global lithium production totalled 100,000 tonnes (90.7 million kg) in 2021, while worldwide reserves stand at about 22 million tonnes (20 billion kg), according to the US Geological Survey.

In 2022, reserves of lithium in Chile amounted to an estimated 9.3 million metric tonnes, the largest worldwide.

Australia comes in second, with reserves estimated at 6.2 million metric tonnes in 2022.

The US had total lithium reserves of approximately one million metric tonnes.

India has now joined the Lithium superpower club, with the discovery of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium at Salai village in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The US holds major significance in battery production after China, which makes it one of the key lithium-consuming countries in the world.

According to Grand View Research, the consumer electronics application segment is estimated to register the fastest CAGR of more than 15 per cent in terms of revenue, from 2022 to 2030.

The segment is projected to grow owing to the increasing sales of electronic devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras, portable radios, speakers, and MP3 players, which make use of Li-ion batteries.

Batteries account for the largest share of lithium end-usage. Propelled by the growth in the electric vehicle market, powered by rechargeable lithium batteries, global lithium demand is forecast to reach one million metric tonnes by 2025, and surpass two million tonnes by 2030, according to statista.

However, the world could face lithium shortages by 2025, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

About 2 billion EVs need to be on the road by 2050 for the world to hit net zero, according to the IEA.

Global EV purchases jumped to 6.6 million in 2021 from 3 million a year earlier, meaning that EVs made up 9 per cent of the market.

"Sales of petrol and diesel cars are projected to slide even more quickly in the coming decade, as more countries pledge to phase them out. At last year's COP26 climate talks, 30 governments said they would stop sales of new petrol and diesel models by 2040," according to a recent World Economic Forum report.

In a move to boost the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), the European Parliament has approved the law to ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars in the EU, starting in 2035.

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