Study assesses future material demand for electric vehicle batteries

Industry Insights

As electric vehicles are looked upon to become common to address repercussions of conventional fuels, it is important to quantify demands for battery materials in the future, opine experts. A research initiative carried out by two experts and a research team at the Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. and Leiden University, Netherlands provides insights on this. It points the many factors based on which the demand for lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese oxide battery will increase between 2020 and 2050.

Thus, to serve this demand, supply chains for cobalt, nickel, and lithium will require significant expansion and probably need for the discovery of additional sources of these materials. However, there lie large uncertainties parallel to the development of electrical vehicle fleets and battery usability for each vehicle.

Closed-loop recycling currently offsets demand for primary battery material

In fact, closed loop recycling plays a small but increasingly important role to reduce the demand for primary material until 2050. However, to attain this, researchers need to implement advanced recycling strategies to recover battery-grade materials from batteries that are nearing service life in an economically sustainable manner. The work is published in Nature Communications Materials.

Meanwhile, as widely known, electric vehicles have reduced climate impact in comparison to vehicles with internal combustion engines. Due to this advantage, the demand for electric vehicles has increased manifold, with fleets of electric vehicles expanding from a few thousand a decade ago to up to 7.5 million in 2019. However, on a global average, the market for electric vehicles is limited, with future growth for these vehicles expected to remain dwarf as compared to growth in the past in absolute numbers. Nonetheless, at present, lithium-ion batteries are the dominant technology for electric vehicles.

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