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Energy Storage Technology is Becoming More Diverse, Creating Opportunities for Emerging Battery Technologies to Accelerate Their Industrialization and Implementation

published: 2023-07-25 17:52

Lithium batteries currently dominate the electrochemical energy storage market due to their high energy density, long-cycle life, and low pollution. The new energy storage industry is thriving, driven by the rapid growth of global carbon neutrality and the new energy vehicle market. In China, the installed capacity of new energy storage reached 6.2GW/14.3GWh by the end of 2022, showing a remarkable year-on-year growth of 138% and 211%. The cumulative installed capacity of new energy storage in China accounted for 21.9% of the cumulative installed capacity of all energy storage, up 9.4 percentage points year-on-year. It is expected that by 2023, the installed capacity of new energy storage will reach 14.2GW/27.3GWh, a year-on-year growth of 129% and 91%. Lithium batteries occupy an absolutely dominant position in new energy storage technologies, with a new share of 97%. As the maturity of new energy storage technology continues to improve, the supply-side enterprises actively layout diversified technology, creating new growth points for the battery industry.

The upstream and downstream manufacturers of power batteries are proactively exploring new breakthroughs to identify effective enhancement measures. Presently, battery technology innovation primarily stems from the rising demand for electric vehicles. As the power battery industry becomes more globalized, enterprises are confronted with the challenge of accelerating production expansion and commissioning. Beyond sheer scale, technological innovation has emerged as a necessary means to establish core competitiveness. Historically, battery manufacturers have primarily focused on innovating four materials with high costs that deliver significant performance improvements: cathode materials, anode materials, electrolyte, and diaphragm. However, the rising costs of upstream raw materials have placed considerable pressure on the overall cost of lithium batteries. As a result, power battery manufacturers are actively exploring alternative technologies to achieve effective enhancements. Currently, the technological innovation of power battery manufacturers centers on structural and material advancements to improve energy density, safety performance, high power output, and cost reduction. As technology continues to progress and innovate, the power battery industry will remain highly dynamic, and it is anticipated to spur a new wave of battery technology development.

The advent of new battery technology is poised to expedite industrialization, with a particular focus on large-scale applications in the electric vehicle and energy storage sectors. In recent years, manufacturers have intensified their efforts to develop alternative upgrade routes for power battery technology. In the short term, lithium batteries are expected to maintain their position as the mainstream power battery, while all-solid-state batteries represent the future focal point of power battery innovation. However, achieving mass production of all-solid-state batteries is anticipated to take around 5 to 10 years. As a transitional stage in solid-state battery technology, semi-solid batteries and condensed batteries are set to enter mass production this year. Notably, semi-solid batteries have already been industrialized and integrated into numerous domestic company models. Additionally, the 4680 series batteries are projected to lead the charge in mass production by 2024, and lithium manganese iron phosphate and composite copper foil technology are anticipated to achieve large-scale production within the next 2 to 3 years. Furthermore, sodium batteries are expected to attain large-scale mass production within the following 5 years. The technology development and widespread application of power battery technology in electric vehicles have laid a solid foundation for the advancement of new battery technologies in the energy storage market. Moreover, the expansion of the energy storage market will provide momentum for new battery technology manufacturers. Forecasts indicate that within 2 to 3 years, 4680 batteries, sodium batteries, lithium manganese iron phosphate, and other technologies will be extensively applied in the energy storage field on a large scale.

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