The hidden worries and challenges faced by major lithium-ion battery countries

by:CTECHi     2021-07-08

2018 China (Qinghai) Lithium Industry and Power Battery International Summit Forum was held in Xining recently. The report released by the forum shows that with the rapid development of the electric vehicle industry, China has become the world's largest producer of lithium power batteries, and together with South Korea and Japan dominate the lithium power battery market. However, under the appearance of this 'prosperous ageLooking to the future, the research and development of a new generation of power batteries is underway, and developed countries in Europe and the United States may also enter the industry, posing potential challenges. Lithium batteries are currently the mainstream of power batteries and are closely related to the future development of the new energy automobile industry. Experts in the industry believe that in the critical period for countries to accelerate the layout of the power battery industry, China, as a major power battery manufacturing country, must get rid of the existing bottleneck, accelerate the construction of the standardization system, improve the recycling and reuse system, and master breakthrough core technologies to compete Seize the advantage. The 'Lithium Battery Industry Development Report (2018)' released by the Forum on Abundant Utilization of Resources pointed out that China is rich in lithium resources, but the utilization rate is relatively low, and nickel and cobalt, which are important materials for power batteries, are scarce and highly dependent on foreign sources. China’s lithium reserves rank among the top in the world, but what is extremely unmatched is that China’s current lithium product processing and production requires a high proportion of ore raw materials that rely on imports. According to estimates by Zheng Mianping, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the Salt Lake Center of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, the actual dependence of lithium resources on external sources is as high as 70%. The salt lakes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are rich in lithium resources, but the “magnesium-lithium ratio” in the brine is extremely high, which makes the separation and extraction of lithium difficult. Although these regions have initially formed an industrial chain from the extraction of lithium from salt lakes to lithium batteries, but due to factors such as technological limitations and lack of supporting industries, there is a lack of effective docking between upstream and downstream enterprises.

Zhang Yongwei, secretary-general and chief expert of the China Electric Vehicles Association of 100, said that China’s electric vehicle industry is developing rapidly. It is expected that the output will reach tens of millions of vehicles by 2030, and the development technology will be a bottleneck. The resulting resource supply problems will be particularly prominent, which can cause the cost pressure of the entire industrial chain to rise sharply. Analysts believe that the competition of global power battery companies has extended to the field of upstream materials, and only by mastering resources can they take the initiative. Chen Qingtai, chairman of the China Electric Vehicles Association, suggested that China should regard lithium, nickel, and cobalt as strategic resources, attach importance to prospecting, evaluation, mining and recycling, further strengthen market supervision, guide the rational return of prices, and reduce the risk of resource security . Basic blanks in battery recycling According to experts, the power batteries eliminated by new energy vehicles still basically maintain 70% to 80% of the initial energy, and the batteries also contain some valuable metal materials. Unreasonable recycling will inevitably cause waste. Chen Qingtai said that China's current power battery recycling technology is not yet mature, the acquisition network is not perfect, the management measures are not sound enough, the supporting policies are not in place, and the business model and profit model are yet to be explored. He said that China’s first vehicle-mounted power battery put on the market has begun to enter the decommissioning period. The recycling and echelon use of power batteries is of great significance to environmental protection. Relevant technical, safety and environmental standards should be formulated, and incentives for power battery recycling should be studied. mechanism. Zhao Xiaoyong, managing director of Beijing Sidmei Resources Reuse Research Institute Co., Ltd., said that China is a country lacking lithium battery raw materials, and recycling is also a protection of resources. He suggested passing legislation to make battery recycling a 'must option' for enterprises. In the future, fierce competition in lithium battery data shows that China, Japan and South Korea have basically dominated the global lithium power battery market. Among them, China's power battery shipments reached 38 gigawatt hours (GWh), accounting for more than 60% of global shipments. Seven of the world's top ten power battery companies are in China. However, Zhang Yongwei pointed out that although China is currently the leader in production capacity, there is still uncertainty in the new round of competition. The current mainstream ternary lithium batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries have defects such as low thermal decomposition temperature, flammability and explosiveness, and limited room for energy density improvement. In contrast, all-solid-state lithium batteries are gradually recognized by the industry due to their advantages such as high density and high safety, and may become the trend of future battery development. Japan’s New Energy Industry Technology Development Agency recently announced that some of the country’s automobile, battery companies and academic institutions will jointly develop and strive to fully grasp the technology of solid-state batteries by 2022; the German Volkswagen Group also recently announced an investment of 100 million US dollars for solid-state batteries. Development and mass production of batteries. Industry insiders believe that Chinese companies entered the field of solid-state lithium batteries late, and are mainly supported by scientific research institutions or universities, and the industrialization process is slow. From a global perspective, although European and American companies have lost their position in this round of competition, they are laying out for the next stage of competition and are potential strong competitors. Chen Qingtai said that the most important thing to continuously improve its competitive position is to master core technologies and have the ability to continuously create core technologies. 'The key is to gather outstanding talents and maintain sufficient Ru0026D investment. Battery companies must also cooperate with advanced Academies and research institutions cooperate to carry out basic research on power batteries'.

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