Battery Technology Primed for Diversification
Dec 14, 2021 Dr Alex Holland
IDTechEx Forecast Non-Lithium Stationary Battery Market to Grow at a CAGR of 61% From 2022-2032
To date, Li-ion batteries have been the go-to technology for vehicle electrification and new stationary energy storage systems. However, the supply chain for Li-ion production is coming under increasing scrutiny with bottlenecks feasible during the second half of the 2020s, creating a potential opportunity for alternative battery chemistries not reliant on lithium, cobalt, or nickel. Further, the need for cheaper storage solutions more suitable for long-duration stationary storage presents another opportunity for alternative energy storage technologies.
Though Na-ion, in particular, may be suitable for the electric vehicle (EV) market, deployment of alternative battery chemistries will be particularly prominent outside the EV and battery electric car segments. Therefore, in their latest report "Advanced Li-ion and Beyond Lithium Batteries 2022-2032: Technologies, Players, Trends, Markets", IDTechEx forecasts the market for non-lithium battery chemistries in stationary storage to grow at a CAGR of 61% between 2022-2032.
While Li-ion has been the dominant (non-pumped-hydro) storage technology over the past 5-6 years, for longer duration energy storage, cheaper systems are required to provide storage economically without needing to access shorter duration, higher-value revenue streams such as from frequency regulation or peak shaving. This has led to the development of battery chemistries utilizing zinc, sodium, and iron as well as flow battery designs that are more easily scaled. By 2025 IDTechEx forecast non-lithium chemistries, including sodium-sulfur, redox flow batteries, secondary Zn-based chemistries, and Na-ion, to account for over 10% of the stationary storage market by GWh (excluding pumped-hydro).
Share of stationary battery storage deployment. Source: IDTechEx.
However, it is not just alternatives to lithium that will see a diversification of technology, but Li-ion technology itself. At the anode, developments to silicon and lithium-metal could finally shift demand away from graphite. Difficulties in maintaining longevity are being overcome and the promise of significant improvements to energy density has created significant hype and interest in using these materials as Li-ion anodes. This can be seen by looking at the large number of start-ups working on commercializing silicon and lithium-metal technology (often in conjunction with solid-state electrolytes). IDTechEx forecast that demand for silicon anode material will grow at a CAGR of 45.2% from 2022-2032.
Number of start-ups in technology area. Source: IDTechEx.
While anode developments are in large part driven by performance and energy density, cost and supply risk mitigation play a key role in motivating cathode development. The desire to shift away from cobalt, and even nickel, stems from the possibility of supply bottlenecks to these critical materials. LFP is therefore expected to recapture market share and expand into new territories, while the commercialization of LMFP and LNMO will add further diversity to the materials used in Li-ion cells.
Beyond materials and metal percentages, companies such as Nano One and 6K Energy are developing cathode synthesis processes that can help improve throughput, reduce energy consumption and waste - areas that will be critical in continuing the cost decline of Li-ion and in optimizing their environmental credentials.
IDTechEx's new report "Advanced Li-ion and Beyond Lithium Batteries 2022-2032: Technologies, Players, Trends, Markets" covers advanced battery technologies, including silicon and lithium-metal anodes, solid-electrolytes, lithium-sulfur, sodium-ion, and redox flow batteries, amongst others, addressing technological, player and market developments.