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Lithium-ion batteries have brought about a real lithium craze and now a new generation of rivals are emerging – some of them also lithium-based – that may take a bite out of their market share, according to research by Navigant.
Currently, the most popular batteries in use for electric vehicles and power storage systems are lithium-ion, lead-acid, flow, and molten salt. The emerging challengers include lithium-sulfur, solid-lithium, next-generation flow, and liquid metal batteries.
EVs and energy storage are two of the most promising growth markets to date, as the world shifts increasingly to renewable energy sources. According to Navigant, the new batteries will enter these markets in the coming years, first in Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific.
These next-generation batteries will address the shortcomings of lithium-ion, such as safety, costs, and energy density. The game-changer will be these batteries managing to meet higher safety standards at lower cost.
Navigant forecasts that demand for these cutting-edge batteries will increase in the medium term, pulling up annual energy capacity to 30.2 MWh in 2019 and further to 6.5 GWh in 2025. In 2015, sales of lithium-ion batteries for EV alone totaled 11.45 GWh, with Panasonic topping the list of producers. This compared with 6.58 GWh in 3014.
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The blooming EV and energy storage industries will certainly require more, safer, and more reliable batteries. A Bloomberg study, for instance, forecasts that EV sales will account for 35 percent of all light-duty car sales in 2040.
As soon as the next decade, these will become a more economical option than fossil-fuel vehicles. This suggests a real boom in the demand for lithium-based and other batteries, so it’s more than likely that more cutting-edge developments are on the way.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.