Peeking at the Chinese battery materials market
What did we learn? Prices 上涨了.
Sharing a couple of quick cost insights after diving into the Chinese battery interwebs. Subscribe for more content from Intercalation!
70% of the battery industry is dominated by China
Given the above factoid about Chinese dominance in mid+downstream battery materials, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention to what’s going on in the industry over there.
Have you started learning the Chinese language? Besides being a good hegemony hedge, it can also reveal many insights into how markets are changing across the supply chain.
Everyone’s been screaming about lithium mineral prices over the past months, but how have prices changed for materials that use these minerals?
Carbonate prices have been cited as a reason that some LFP cells cost more than NMC ones. Matthias double checked with some cost models:
Derrick Allott @DerrickBMIRecord high Chinese lithium carbonate prices have pushed the costs of lithium iron phosphate cells above those using mostly nickel, in a reversal of a decade-long trend. https://t.co/fwLfUBQEFF
Cathode prices go all the way up
We trawled through ICC, a Chinese battery market resource to answer this question. Surprise surprise, prices have also increased. Here’s how the last 6 months played out for cathode active material and raw lithium hydroxide/carbonate prices:
A couple of quick reactions to this data:
The craze for LFP has also meant its price has more than doubled in the last 6 months - the most out of all the battery chemistries
Wow cobalt-heavy LCO is very expensive
LFP and LMO cathode actives are so much cheaper (~3x) per kg than NMC!
Relative to 6 months ago, raw mineral prices have increased more than active materials have
NMC811 prices were surprisingly stable compared to other materials
Looking at the available data, there are also many other interesting tidbits to mine:
NMC811 costs more for EVs than for electronic devices
LFP electrodes for grid storage cost ~15% more per Wh than for EVs
Graphite prices have stayed pretty stable in the last 6 months
High vs low-quality anodes differ by 40-50% in cost
Synthetic graphite costs 30% more than natural
Electrolyte blends for LFP cost 15% less than for NMC
LMO electrolyte pairings are even cheaper (40% less than NMC). Why? No additives needed to pair with Ni
You will pay a 15% premium to shave 2 microns off your current collector
Check out the data yourself:
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