Lithium-ion battery market forecast to double in 3 years (despite its problems)


By: SGN Staff


At first glance, you wouldn't expect the global lithium-ion battery market to be in the early stages of a growth spurt. But market intelligence firm Frost & Sullivan forecasts it will double from 2012's valuation of $11.7 billion by 2016.


And that comes after a couple of years when industry PR folks probably spent a lot of time cringing. Battery manufacturer bankruptcies as funding dried up and, as Frost & Sullivan noted, Boeing's recent problems with its 787 Dreamliner and a decision by France-based competitor Airbus to quit using lithium-ion batteries in its planes altogether definitely put a crimp in the industry's style.


Frost & Sullivan explains why: "Although consumer application accounts for the highest revenues, fastest growth can be witnessed in the industrial segment," said Malavika Tohani, Frost & Sullivan research manager.


North America has the highest share of revenues for consumer and industrial applications, but Europe has the largest share of revenues for industrial lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). Most of the predicted growth is expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region, as China, Japan and South Korea currently have cornered close to 85-90% of global LiB manufacturing.


Frost & Sullivan also points out that while the demand for EVs has been a lot lower than expected because of the continuing slow economy and the current high cost of their batteries, battery demand should increase. China has the most LiB manufacturers in the world with more than 200 companies focused on the consumer segment and 30-40 in automotive. And the Chinese government is aggressively pushing EVs, grid-scale energy storage and smart grids. That and many U.S. battery makers that have gone bankrupt have been snapped up by Chinese companies.


Also, Germany has a high demand for batteries in all segments: consumer, automotive and industrial. Germany and Switzerland also are considered energy storage/battery R&D hubs, the company said. Younger, emerging markets also are expected to contribute to market growth.


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