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Raw material supply and financing needs may be problems faced by battery manufacturers

Raw material supply and financing needs may be problems faced by battery manufacturers
    Date: 2020-06-29 Source: China Energy Storage Network Author: Bo Xun
According to foreign media reports, industry experts said at an industry seminar recently held by the Atlantic Council of the United States that global battery manufacturers are facing a shortage of lithium materials and are also facing financial problems caused by the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic.

Vivas Kumar, chief consultant of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a battery raw material consulting firm and former senior manager of Tesla's battery supply chain, said at this seminar that given the current supply speed, it is expected that there will be a shortage of lithium materials by 2025.

James Frith, head of energy storage business at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said at a seminar organized by the Atlantic Council on "Beyond Lithium Ion Batteries: Charging for the Future" that due to the ease of use, high energy density and longer length of lithium ion batteries The discharge cycle, its application has been growing rapidly.

However, some industry experts said that the lithium-ion battery market is still developing rapidly and will not cause supply problems due to the shortage of lithium materials.

Kumar said, "It is important to produce high-purity, high-quality lithium materials that can be used in battery manufacturing. The number of manufacturers that can mass-produce these high-purity lithium materials is small and often limited by funds."

Doug Campbell, CEO of Solid Power, said at the seminar, “As the energy storage industry is struggling to cope with the adverse impact of the epidemic on the financial market, it is important to ensure the normal operation of the energy storage product supply chain, including battery manufacturers. Of industry vendors believe that raising funds will be a challenge in the future."

Kumar pointed out that government agencies can play an important role in promoting investment and formulating industrial policies to build the US battery material supply chain. The US government has recognized the importance of battery production for the automotive industry, energy storage systems, and utility companies. However, the battery supply chain relies on suppliers in capital-intensive industries (mining and specialty chemical manufacturing industries). With the development of China's battery manufacturing industry, the United States still relies on imported battery products. The US government's support for battery production may bring more high-paying, high-skilled jobs.

Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, stated in his testimony to the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 24 that the development of China's lithium-ion battery manufacturing industry has surpassed that of the United States. China built 46 battery production plants between April 2019 and April 2020 to produce lithium-ion batteries for automobiles and energy storage systems, while the United States only built three battery production plants during this period.

Jacqui Murray, deputy director of the UK's "Faraday Battery Challenge" innovation fund agency, said that the epidemic has not eliminated people's desire for car electrification and energy storage systems in the field of clean power. The fund is a government fund department that invests in the development of new battery technologies.

Moores said: "Although gasoline and diesel prices have fallen sharply due to the epidemic, the survey found that the Tesla Model 3 electric car accounted for the largest share of the UK sales in May."

Moores said that before the outbreak, car manufacturers were committed to developing electric vehicles to support the achievement of the government's carbon reduction targets. In addition, it has also noticed the development trend of battery manufacturers moving closer to automobile companies. But providing new battery technology requires a long R&D process.

Murray said, "The nature of battery development is customized and very complex. The more the government understands battery development and manufacturing, the better the policies and measures they will introduce."

Campbell said, "Whenever a new battery is developed, it is hard work. More effort is required."

Campbell said that despite the disruption of production and capital markets due to the spread of the epidemic, manufacturers are still very interested in the development and production of electric vehicles.

He said, "The application of new energy vehicles and electric vehicles is the general trend. Stakeholders have not shaken their vision for the development of electric vehicles and their demand for advanced battery technology. Despite the shortage of funds, many stakeholders are still involved."


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