About Lithium-ion Battery
In the Modern Era, the revolution within technology has provided various facilities to its user. The revolution of technology has provided a more precise, effective, and efficient mechanism to deal with daily life problems. This revolution is not just for one specific field but it hit every field of today’s life. We are experiencing a great change in the field of electronics and electrical technology. Technology is changing the lifestyle of people.
Over the past decade, prices for solar panels and wind farms have reached very low prices, leading to hundreds of Giga-Watts worth of new renewable energy generation. There are various ways that can be adapted to store power or energy at an extremely huge rate. The demand for energy is increasing as life progress. The storage of energy in a huge volume is a great challenge faced by the industries. We need a good way to store energy for the future to face the challenges of the future and deal with the rising technology.
For this purpose, the main option we have right now is Lithium Ion Batteries. Lithium ion batteries are used in many products like Tesla’s home batteries, the Power wall, and utility-scale systems, the Powerpack. Though the price of lithium-ion is dropping according to experts, it will remain too expensive for grid-scale applications. In an interview with William Chueh, the Associate Professor at Stanford University, to get a battery for grid systems, there is a need for cost reduction from 10 to 20 times.
At present, lithium-ion cannot store more than four hours’ worth of energy. Different entrepreneurs experimenting to make enhance and improve the energy capacity of lithium ion batteries. To compete with fossil fuels, there is a need to figure out a more productive way to store energy resources.
From 2000 to 2018, installed wind power grew from 17000 megawatts to over 563000 megawatts. Moreover, Solar power grew from a mere 1250 megawatts to 485000 megawatts. In contrast to all that, solar P.V is expecting and making efforts to increase 50% more in the next five years.
Basically, the market is ripe for competition. There are hundreds of companies working on scaling up and manufacturing new battery technology. Lithium ion has done remarkable things for technology. Whenever we use an electronic device powered by a battery source, there is a chemical reaction. Inside a battery, there is a chemical reaction that is continued to happen.
With this chemical reaction, the batteries when removed make the machine completely dead, which means that without a chemical reaction, there is no way to get the benefit of it and hence it becomes completely useless. When talking about lithium ion batteries, there are several questions that arise in our minds like what is the difference between lithium ion batteries? How do these batteries work? What are the advantages of lithium ion batteries over the simple or general batteries?
Battery, A Power Source
All batteries have a positive terminal and negative terminal with external extension that is used to supply power to the electrical or portable devices. The flow of electrons in the battery enables it to deliver power so that the electrical device could be run or could be made executable. In the lithium ion battery, the electron comes from the element lithium. At the negative terminal (scientifically called Anode), lithium is stored between the layers of carbon graphite, similar to graphite in the lead pencil. Graphite is a nifty crystal structure with layered planes that allows it to be squeezed between the layers.
This position or term regarding lithium is called intercalation. The function of graphite is to provide storage space to lithium items. On the availability of a path to travel from the positive terminal (cathode) to the negative terminal (anode), the electrons separate from the lithium and start moving following the available route. Simultaneously, lithium leaves the graphite and becomes positively (+ve) charged. This state of lithium is now known as Lithium Ion.
So, in the same way, when thousands of lithium atoms leave the graphite, they become positively charged so the flow of electrons begins. The electrolyte provides the way for the lithium ions to make their way to cobalt (the other side, acting as the cathode).
Lithium-ion Battery Demand Globally
According to data from Benchmark’s lithium ion battery database, the following image shows the projection on demand of lithium all over the world from 2016 to 2030.
Figure 1: Lithium Demand Projection world-wide
Researches show that the demand for the lithium-ion battery has dramatically increased exponentially over the last 10 years all over the world and especially in Europe. This particularly includes the demand for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles and energy storing systems. In addition, many projections and experts indicate the demand for lithium-ion batteries to reach an unexpected amount of 9300 gigawatt-hours by 2030, while it was just 0.5 gigawatt-hours in 2010.
Lithium-ion Battery Demand in Europe
European countries are of course the most energy-consuming zone in the globe. The main energy-consuming domains are factories, electric vehicles, and energy-storing systems. And as one can easily notice that the lithium-ion battery is the most preferred choice for any of the above domains and areas. Therefore, lithium-ion battery is the tremendously manufactured, supplied, and used battery in Europe.
As the electrical vehicles and other product’s fleet is increased globally, the sales in Europe, of new electric cars are also enhanced up to 15%. This increase in the sale of electric cars in Europe also boosts up the need for EU lithium ion batteries. As per the Action Economy plan of Europe to achieve a carbon-free environment, the demand for EU lithium ion batteries is reaching its peak. For achieving the E-Europe, a number of criteria like high power, long autonomy, cheap and long life with high power density are required and for that purpose, lithium ion batteries are the best choice.
That is the reason China is dominating its ion batteries production and hence Europe is in its way to be the number one manufacturer of lithium ion batteries, adopting different plans and following a road map towards the high-level production of EU lithium batteries. In 2019, the share of Europe in exporting lithium ion batteries is about 25% worldwide.
Maros Sefcovic, in a conference, said that the European Union is confident that by 2025, they are making its way to produce enough batteries that would be enough to provide power to electrical vehicles without importing. He further claimed that due to such production of the battery cells, six million electrical vehicles would be powered.
There is a need for big investments in the battery manufacturing industry to boost it to the level so that 13 million electrical vehicles could be on Europe’s roads. China produces about 80 percent of the world’s lithium ion batteries. Compared to China, Europe’s battery industry grows faster. There are about 15 big-scaled battery factories under construction. There are standards Brussels going to propose for batteries’ carbon footprint (Reuters, 2020).
Marcos Service, Commission’s vice president chaired the 5th ministerial meeting of the European Battery Alliance held on March 12, 2021, with the industrial stakeholders to cope with the strategies and advancements regarding batteries along with covering the gaps in the battery value chain in Europe. There are two topics that are highly focused on in the meeting & the first one is to find better ways to fill the gaps in the European Union labor market and the second one is to develop a more robust and integrated raw material primary and secondary supply chain (EBA and Alliance, 2021).
On February 19, 2021, Northvolt, A Swedish lithium ion battery manufacturer unfolds its idea to launch Europe’s largest factory in Poland for an energy storage solution that will be a remarkable success in the energy storage market. Europe, the second-biggest market, after China, is planning to increase its battery production rate to about 40.1 percent annually between 2020 and 2025 (Adams, 2021).
Lithium Ion Batteries Manufacturing Countries:
Due to their high energy density, cheap and long life, lithium ion batteries are the most preferred choice over other power sources. Since 2015, the overall export of lithium ion batteries increased by about 18.4%. Following are the largest manufacturer companies of lithium ion batteries:
Anco Macao Commercial Offshore Li (Macao)
Black & Decker Suzhou Precision (China)
Chervon Limited (Hong Kong)
Samsung SDI Co Ltd (South Korea)
Sanyo Electric Co Ltd (Japan)
Circular Economy Action Plan
European Commission has framed and passed the Circular Economy Action Plan to design a pathway for circular economy enabling the European Union to double the use rate for circular material, to reduce European Union’s carbon and material footprint for contributing to the economic market. One of the emerging waste streams in EU is electrical and electronic equipment. About less than 40 percent of the electronic waste is recycled in European Union’s countries.
The value of this equipment is lost when they are completely dumped rather than taking actions to repair them by updating or repairing their soft wares, by replacing the batteries, or by making appropriate modifications to make it useable again. According to the survey, 2 out of 3 would prefer to use the electronic devices for a longer period or the device becomes fully malfunction (Plan et al., 2015).
The resources for backing up the power supply, energy, and power industry play a vital in making the power future in terms of economy as well as in terms of when a state or country is seeking progress with the current revolution. In some contexts, the mobility of the future depends on the strategy developed and adopted to store the energy resources to a maximum level.
The European Union Commission is planning to announce a new regulatory framework for batteries. In accordance with the Battery Directives (EUR-Lex, 2006) and Battery Alliance. According to Eurostat, Hungary has recycled about 99.3 lead batteries in 2008 (Eurostat, 2020). According to end-on-vehicles (European Parliament and Council, 2000, p. 34), the commission is also planning to introduce new rules to promote circular business models for end-of-life treatment, for defining a strategy to improvise recycling methods.
Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister planning to entirely ban out the petrol and diesel-consuming vehicles by 2030 following a goal to make Great Britain carbon-free by 2050.
Talking about the global competition of EU industry in the LiB sector and the linked benefits, rely on the capability of the EU to assist the global markets.
According to JRC Science for policy report (Steen et al., 2017), Figure 2 shows the lithium ion batteries worldwide cell production capacity, which shows that putting aside the Tesla Panasonic company, there is a great contribution of Asian countries who are expanding the lithium cells production;
In the past, Europe was dependent on China in order to fulfill its lithium requirements. But in recent decades, because the European Union has formulated different plans and policies to show that they are moving in the direction of the world’s largest exporter of lithium-ion batteries, China has become the largest supplier of raw materials and cells for lithium batteries.
The main objective of the EU is on energy storage to enable the electric mobility technology more innovative and to achieve this objective, the growth of lithium ion battery industry is the main goal to be pursued. The EU Commission facing two major problems; the bulk investment especially from the private sector and the huge-scale EU labor market to develop a regulatory framework for batteries and battery value chain.