Electrolyte and its cost in lithium battery

Recently, a number of overseas mining companies announced plans to acquire lithium ore projects in Congo, Chile, Brazil and other countries to enhance their competitive advantage in the upstream lithium resources of lithium batteries.

Prospect Resources Australia announced that the company signed an acquisition agreement with Congo J3 Mining Company to acquire a 75% stake in its Malemba Nkulu mining project; French mining company Eramet SA also said it plans to acquire lithium mines in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, looking for cobalt, Mineral resources such as lithium and nickel salts; Australia's Hawkstone Mining Company decided to reconsider the acquisition plan of the US lithium project, etc.

At the same time, lithium battery companies including Tianqi Lithium Industry, Baowei Holdings, China Mining Resources, LG Chem and other lithium battery companies have also joined the rush to buy overseas lithium mines. Master overseas high-quality lithium resources to ensure stable supply of lithium salt raw materials.Also read:48V 600AH LiFePO4 Battery Manufacturer

The background of overseas mining companies and domestic lithium battery companies rushing to buy overseas lithium ore resources is that in recent years, with the rapid development of electric vehicles, the production and sales of power batteries have continued to expand, resulting in tighter supply of lithium ore resources and lithium salts, and prices have remained high No less. Under this circumstance, high-quality lithium mining enterprises have become the target of various capital competitions. In 2017 alone, more than 20 Chinese enterprises have deployed overseas lithium mining resources.

However, with the gradual release of new lithium salt production capacity at home and abroad and the adjustment of China's new energy subsidy policy, the price of lithium carbonate continued to show a downward trend in 2018, and the current price has dropped from a high of 170,000 yuan/ton at the beginning of the year to 130,000 yuan/ton. tons, a drop of more than 25%. At present, the market demand for lithium carbonate is weak, and the willingness to purchase downstream is not strong. The price of lithium may still show a downward trend in the second half of the year.

Industry analysts believe that the reason for this is that since the fourth quarter of 2017, the expansion of lithium salt projects from companies such as Ganfeng Lithium and Tianqi Lithium has been put on the market one after another, and the domestic lithium carbonate market supply has been greatly improved in 2018. It is expected that there will be a situation of oversupply in the future, resulting in a decline in the price of lithium carbonate.Also read:48V lifepo4 Powerwall Manufacturer

On the other hand, affected by the adjustment of the subsidy policy, the subsidy amount is directly linked to the energy density of the battery. The ternary power battery with high energy density is popular in the market, and the market share is rapidly increasing, while the lithium iron phosphate battery is cold in the market, and a large number of The operating rate and order growth of power battery companies are not ideal, and the willingness to purchase lithium iron phosphate materials is not strong, resulting in a decline in the price of lithium carbonate.

It is worth noting that although overseas lithium mining companies and domestic lithium salt giants are greatly expanding their production capacity, the global supply of high-quality lithium concentrate is still scarce. Under the requirement of improving the energy density of power batteries, high-quality lithium salt Still selling well in the market. At the same time, with the continuous growth of the new energy vehicle market, the global demand for lithium salts will further increase, which also provides a guarantee for the investment and expansion of lithium salt production enterprises.

On the whole, the commissioning of new lithium resource projects, the uncertainty of new production capacity (especially high-end production capacity), and the locking of resources in the midstream and downstream links have made the supply and demand calculation of the lithium industry more complicated.

Electrolyte industry or inflection point

Relevant data show that, benefiting from the rapid development of new energy vehicles, the demand for electrolytes will grow rapidly in the future, and may gradually show growth. It is estimated that by 2020, the domestic demand for lithium batteries is expected to reach 153GWh, corresponding to 227,000 tons of electrolyte demand. According to the "Energy Saving and New Energy Vehicle Development Plan", by 2020, the output of new energy vehicles in my country will reach 2 million, and the cumulative production and sales will exceed 5 million. 1.8 million vehicles, and there is still room for 3.2 million vehicles from 5 million vehicles in 2020.

As an important material for lithium batteries, electrolytes account for about 4%-6% of the cost of lithium batteries. Benefiting from the rapid development of new energy vehicles, the demand for electrolytes will grow rapidly in the future, and may gradually show growth. It is estimated that by 2020, the domestic demand for lithium batteries is expected to reach 153GWh, corresponding to 227,000 tons of electrolyte demand.

Although state subsidies are declining year by year, the double-point policy relay has become a new driving force for the development of domestic new energy vehicles. In addition to the policy drive, the continuous introduction of popular models that meet the needs of consumers will also drive the continuous improvement of the new energy vehicle market. It is estimated that the domestic production of new energy vehicles will reach 1.936 million in 2020. Due to the increase in the proportion of high-end models, the amount of electricity charged by bicycles will also increase. If considering the annual demand for old battery replacement, leasing or power exchange mode, it is estimated that by 2020, the domestic demand for power batteries will reach 104GWh.Also read:48v lithium phosphate battery Manufacturer

From the perspective of the application field of consumer batteries, whether it is mobile phones, tablet computers or power tools, the penetration rate is relatively high, and the growth rate is expected to be stable in the next 3-5 years. Based on comprehensive calculations, it is estimated that by 2020, the total domestic demand for lithium batteries will reach 153GWh, the corresponding electrolyte demand will reach 227,000 tons, and the average annual compound growth rate from 2018 to 2020 will reach 25%.

The decline in electrolyte prices since the first quarter of 2017 was mainly due to the price reduction of lithium hexafluorophosphate, while the price reduction of lithium hexafluorophosphate was due to the gradual homogenization of products and the gradual excess of supply.

In the future, the industry will usher in three major changes. First of all, due to the disadvantages of cost and technology, small manufacturers will be gradually eliminated, the binding relationship between downstream battery companies and leading suppliers will accelerate the concentration increase, and the electrolyte industry is expected to achieve rapid production capacity clearance; secondly, the high-end power battery brings With electrolyte upgrade, electrolyte manufacturers are expected to improve their profitability by developing new additives and providing formulation services. Third, domestic electrolyte manufacturers have advantages in scale and cost-effectiveness, and their future expansion into overseas markets will bring incremental opportunities.

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