Cathode Materials Market size is forecast to reach $25.2 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 6.5% during 2021-2026. Cathode materials are made up of manganese, nickel, and cobalt. These materials are oxides of transition metals that can support lithium by changing their oxidation states. The growing demand for electric vehicles drives the cathode materials market growth. Whereas, the surging use of Lead Dioxide, Carbon nanotubes, and Lithium cobalt oxide in medical implants and the development of new technologies in medical implants is also driving the growth of the market. The rising trend for cordless devices among the young population and hassle-free use further propels market growth. Besides, the surging demand for renewable energy-based battery storage systems globally further contributes to the market growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold every day with severe impact on people, communities, and businesses. The Cathode Materials Market growth has hindered by the pandemic. This is mainly due to slow growth rate of automobile sales, aviation, and aerospace & defense. As per International Energy Agency (IEA) report in 2020, the global passenger car sale is set to decline by 15% in 2020, which will hinder the demand for Cathode Material. Moreover, closure of cobalt plant in Congo, due to economic instability caused in the country by the impact of COVID is also hindering the markets growth.
Cathode Materials Market Segment Analysis – By Form
Powder segment held the largest share of more than 60% in the Cathode Materials market in 2020. Cathode powder has an excellent oxygen ion conductivity and also offers ion batteries with high energy density. The cathode powders are produced with tight control on critical features such as, stoichiometry, surface area, and particle size, which are used for lowering the temperature of the applications. Whereas, the growing uses of cathode powders are in lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries are driving the market growth. Moreover, the growing demand for Li-ion batteries from the automotive industry further contributes to the market growth.
Cathode Materials Market Segment Analysis – By Material
Lithium Cobalt Oxide or Lithium Cobaltate segment held the largest share of more than 30% in the Cathode Material Market in 2020. The Lithium Cobalt Oxide or Lithium Cobaltate compounds are used as the cathode in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with particle size ranging from nanometers to micrometers. The batteries produced through Lithium Cobalt Oxide have very stable and low capacities and have low power than those with cathodes based on nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) oxides. The main attribute of the Lithium Cobalt Oxide battery is the high energy density translating into a long run-time for portable devices like cell phones, tablets, laptops, and cameras. Whereas, Lithium Cobalt Oxide handles any issue related to thermal stability than other nickel-rich materials. Such, properties of these materials will further boost the demand for Lithium Cobalt Oxide, which will further drive the growth of the cathode materials market.
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Cathode Materials Market Segment Analysis – By Application
Portable Gadgets segments held the largest share of more than 25% in the Cathode Material Market in 2020. The demand for cathode material is high for manufacturing rechargeable batteries for portable gadgets applications like smartphones, laptops, cameras, power banks, and speakers. The Li-ion batteries are most commonly used in these gadgets as they have high power density, are self-dischargeable, with zero maintenance, and have higher cell voltage, which enables to use of the gadgets for a longer duration. These portable gadgets depend on rechargeable Li-ion batteries as they store energy and power smartphones, and also have good thermal stability. The sale of these gadgets will further determine the growth of the cathode material market. For instance, as per The National Policy of India, the country sets a production target of manufacturing one billion mobile handsets by 2025 Under the Make in India policy, these phones require cathode-based batteries, which will further boost the growth of the market.
Cathode Materials Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
Transportation segment held the largest share of more than 35% in the Cathode Material Market in 2020. The growing uses of Lead Dioxide, Carbon nanotubes, and Lithium cobalt oxide across automotive, marine, railways, and aviation sectors further drive the market growth. Increasing prices of crude oil and rising concern regarding carbon emission have pushed manufacturers and consumers to focus on electric vehicles (EV) and locomotive for both transportation of goods and daily commute. The growing popularity of EVs further drives the demand for lithium-ion batteries. As EV most commonly use Li-on batteries as these batteries allow large amounts of energy to be squeezed into a very small package that enables faster energy extraction, which is faster than any other battery and also offers a good duration of travel in a single charge. So, a rise in EV sales will further boost the demand for the cathode material market. For Instance, as per International Energy Agency (IEA), a report in 2020, the global sale of EV was 4.79 million units in 2019 and is expected to reach an of sale 44 million vehicles per year by 2030, which will fuel the market’s growth.
Cathode Materials Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia-Pacific held the largest share of more than 45% in the Cathode Materials market in 2020 followed by North America and Europe. The presence of end-use industries such as automotive and consumer electronics drive the market growth across the region. Further, increase in middle-class population, cheap internet, and electronic devices, and shifting consumer preference from fuel-driven automobiles to battery-operated vehicles are expected to drive the cathode materials market in the region. Government initiatives to boost the sale of EVs also fuel the growth of the cathode material market. For instance, according to the EV policy of India introduced in March 2019, the government would provide a subsidy of Rs 30,000 (around $404) for 2 wheelers and Rs 1.5 lakhs (around $2,024) for cars to promote the sale of EVs in the country. Therefore, the growth of EV will propel the demand for cathode material in the region.
Cathode Materials Market Drivers
Increasing Applications of Lithium-Ion Batteries Boosting the Demand
Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used battery across various applications such as portable power banks, marine & electric vehicles, and solar energy storage. Cathode Materials are used in producing lithium-ion batteries, which determine the capacity and voltage of the battery. They have a high energy density, voltage capacity, lower self-discharge rate, and have better power efficiency as a single cell, and also have longer charge retention than other rechargeable batteries. Due to these properties, they are widely used in consumer electronic and electric vehicles. Moreover, an increase in demand for consumer electronics and EVs will boost the demand for Lithium-Ion batteries and in return propels the cathode material market. For instance, according to the European Commission report, the growing sales of electric cars boosted the global lithium-ion battery production from about 20 GWh (~€6.5 Billion in 2010 to 120 GWh (~€24 Billion) in 2017.
Increased Demand for Electric Vehicles in Europe
The rising demand for EV vehicles is boosting the demand for Cathode material in Europe. These materials are used in electric vehicle batteries. Europe is rapidly becoming a global hotspot for the electric vehicle (EV) market, due to rising concerns about environmental pollution and government subsidies. For Instance, on June 4th, 2020, the government of Germany has doubled the subsidies on EV. Moreover, in May 2019, Italy has announced the “Eco-Bonus” program by which the Government will grant funds to subsidize EVs. The government has allocated €60 million (around US$72 million) in 2019 and €70 million (around US$84 million) in 2020 to subsidize EV and boost sales. Such initiatives will further boost the sales of EV in Europe. Furthermore, as per causal base data, the sale of EV and Plugin Electric Vehicle (PHEV) in Europe was 2,82,000 and 1,32,000 units respectively in 2017 and in 2018 the sale rose by 22% with sales recording 3,45,000 units for PHEV and 1,90,000 units for EV. Therefore, such an increase in demand for EV will further boost the demand for Cathode Materials like Lead Dioxide, Carbon nanotubes, and Lithium cobalt oxide. Such, demand for EV will significantly fuel the demand for Cathode Material in Europe.
Cathode Materials Market Challenges
Lack of Raw Material Availability and Safety Issues
Cobalt is a scarce mineral that is found in the negatively charged electrode or cathode in almost all lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt is heavy and associated with unethical mining practices, volatile prices, and a fragile global supply chain. Cobalt, being a common cathode material for the batteries, has had faced various supply challenges owing in the past due to the shutdown of production plants in Africa and Australia. For instance, as per the European Commission report released in 2018, 55% of cobalt comes from the Republic of Congo. Furthermore, the report suggests that there could be a dip in the supply of cobalt from 2025, which will create a shortage of raw materials. The other major challenge the market faces is the issues related handling of batteries. Lithium Batteries should be very safely handled during storage and transportation, if failed to do so, the batteries may get damaged and cause a massive fire or explosion. Moreover, improper storage, use, or charging may also cause damage to the battery and can be harmful to the user. Therefore, the lack of raw materials and issues related to the safety of batteries are hindering the growth of the market.
Cathode Materials Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Cathode Materials Market report. Major players in the Cathode Materials Market are AME Energy Co., Ltd., Umicore N.V., The 3M Co., NEI Corp., Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., Nano One Materials Corp., Targray Technology International Inc., BASF SE, Showa Denko Materials Co., Ltd., Kureha Corp., and others.
In November 2020, BASF SE announced a new cathode active materials production plant in Schwarzheide, Germany. This new plant equipped with world-leading process technology and enable the supply of around 400,000 full electric vehicles per year with BASF battery materials. This will further drive the cathode material market growth.
In December 2019, Umicore N.V. completed the acquisition of the cobalt refining and cathode precursor activities in Kokkola, Finland, from Freeport Cobalt. With this acquisition, Umicore’s expanded battery materials value chain enhanced cathode materials production capacity, and strengthened its position in the European market.
In August 2019, Nano One Materials Corp. launched a new material “Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)” with an aim to make high energy lithium-ion batteries safer and more durable. With this new launch Nano One Materials Nano One expanded its products offering for its customers, which will further drive the cathode material market growth.
North America region is projected to witness significant growth in the cathode materials market due to the growing demand for electrified vehicles (EVs) and consumer electronics. Whereas, the USA holds the largest share in the region throughout the forecast period due to growing uses of Lead Dioxide, Carbon nanotubes, and Lithium cobalt oxide in the automotive and aerospace sector.
Stringent regulations on CO2 emissions and government subsidies related to electric vehicle manufacturing is offering growth opportunities.
COVID-19 has hindered the market growth due to disruption in the supply chain and the decline in demand from the end-use industry.
Safety regulations for batteries through storage and transportation are anticipated to pose a challenge in the growth of the cathode materials.
A. Lithium Ion Battery Cathode Material Market
B. Battery Materials Market
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