Race for renewable energy technologies charges lithium market
Business News Network, May 7, 2016
Global adoption of new transportation technologies and electronics are powering massive growth in lithium-ion battery sales. Google has recently announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler to develop a self-driving hybrid minivan. Uber, Apple, BMW, Audi, Ford and Mercedes-Benz are also moving aggressively into the space. Tesla’s founder and CEO, Elon Musk anticipates that self-driving Teslas will be approved and in production by 2021.
With commercial production of self-driving cars and other new technologies, Navigant Research predicts the global market for lithium ion batteries will grow an unprecedented 300%—from $6 billion per year to $24 billion per year in the next seven years.
With these bullish fundamentals, competition is heating up in the lithium space. One of the leaders is Ganfeng Lithium—a $4.5 billion Chinese goliath that produces industrial grade lithium for various industries and end products like Panasonic batteries. Ganfeng has built specialized Lithium production subsidiaries and commissioned a new facility in China adding 500mt/y Li metal to its current 1000mt/y Li production capacity. The company holds over 19 lithium extraction patents.
Lithium prices have tripled in the last 12 months. Availability of secure lithium supply is critical for the auto industry.