Unlock the next-generation technology route for lithium-ion batteries
It is estimated that between August 2018 and 2021, the global lithium-ion battery production capacity will increase from 170GWh to 590GWh. While battery manufacturers are striving to increase battery output and meet the rapidly growing demand, automakers and investors are also exploring next-generation battery technologies to improve battery product performance and even replace existing battery products. In this research report, we conduct a comparative analysis of the three main technical development directions of lithium-ion batteries, and discuss the advantages, application barriers and possible development processes of the technology. First of all, the development and production of batteries with low cobalt content, or even cobalt-free batteries, has become an important direction for the development of next-generation lithium-ion batteries. For lithium-ion battery manufacturers and car manufacturers, because cobalt metal is more expensive and needs to be imported in large quantities from the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is an urgent need to get rid of or reduce dependence on cobalt. Companies including JohnsonMatthey and NanoOne have developed methods to reduce cobalt content or even replace cobalt. Secondly, in order to reduce the charging problems faced by the large-scale promotion and application of new energy vehicles, lithium-ion batteries with fast charging capabilities have also become an important research and development direction for car manufacturers and battery manufacturers. The Israeli battery company StoreDot is committed to this, and claims to have successfully developed a new battery that allows mobile phones to be fully charged in 60 seconds, and new energy vehicles can be fully charged in just a few minutes. Third, major battery companies are still racing to launch high-energy density batteries. One of the ways to achieve high energy density batteries is to replace the original graphite anode materials with high energy density materials including silicon or metallic lithium. Two major battery companies in the United States-Sila Nanotechnologies and Enovix have adopted different methods to develop silicon anode materials. South Korea’s Samsung SDI has focused on the research and development of a silicon-graphite composite material called “graphene balls”. In addition, solid-state batteries are expected to have high energy density, good safety, and long cycle life. The technical core of solid-state batteries lies in the selection and application of electrolyte materials. Therefore, we use electrolyte material systems as the basis for classification, and select three types of electrolyte material systems: mixed solid-liquid electrolytes, inorganic electrolytes and solid polymer electrolytes for specific analysis of solid-state batteries. Although these three types of solid battery systems have good prospects, they all take time to usher in large-scale development and applications.