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Lithium battery cathode material analysis

Published by admin 2024-04-07

Lithium materials are in the upstream of the entire lithium battery industry chain, mainly consisting of four major materials: cathode material, anode material, diaphragm and electrolyte.


Anode material is the decisive factor for the electrochemical performance of lithium battery, which directly determines the energy density and safety of the battery, and then affects the overall performance of the battery.


Although the production value of this segment is high, the bargaining power of both ends is under pressure (upstream resources and downstream batteries).


As the proportion of cathode materials in the cost of lithium battery materials up to 30-40%, its cost also directly determines the overall cost of the battery, so cathode materials in lithium batteries have a pivotal role, and directly lead the development of the lithium battery industry.


From the current point of view, the horse effect of various types of cathode materials is forming, the product began to stratify, in the mainstream product line has entered the dynamic game stage between several head of the big manufacturers.


1, lithium battery cathode material system classification


Lithium battery is divided into lithium cobaltate (LCO), lithium manganate (LMO), lithium iron phosphate (LFP), ternary materials (lithium nickel cobalt manganate (NCM) and lithium nickel cobalt aluminum acid (NCA)) and other technical lines according to the cathode material system. Lithium cobaltate has high cost and short life, mainly used in 3C products; lithium manganate has low energy density, short life but low cost, mainly used in special vehicles;   has long life, good safety and low cost, mainly used in commercial vehicles; ternary materials, especially NCM has high energy density, good cycle performance and long life, mainly used in passenger cars. High nickel is a new starting point, significantly raising the threshold of entry of ternary materials, the current high nickel materials are further developed from 8 series to ultra-high nickel 9 series. 2020 January-November China's cathode material shipments are close to 400,000 tons. In addition to the volume growth, there are also significant changes in the structure of shipments, of which the proportion of lithium iron phosphate and ternary continues to increase, contributing to the main incremental volume. 2020 January-November China NCM ternary materials about 21% of production exported overseas, Poland and South Korea is the most important export flow; lithium iron and lithium manganate production capacity basically all converge in China, overseas production capacity accounted for only about 5%; lithium cobaltate production capacity China accounted for about The global production capacity of lithium cobaltate is about 70%, and the proportion of Korea and Japan is about 19%.


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2、The competition pattern of lithium cathode materials


China is the main concentration of global cathode material production capacity, accounting for about 60%. The production capacity of domestic cathode materials is huge, and the trend of head concentration is gradually emerging.

The concentration of lithium cobaltate is the highest, followed by lithium iron phosphate, and ternary materials are relatively low, and the CR3 shares of the three types of cathode materials in 2020 are 68%, 50% and 35% respectively. Small enterprises with poor production capacity, technology and customer structure will start to withdraw from the market, and the concentration is expected to accelerate. There are mainly 11 representative enterprises of battery materials, among which there are mainly four cathode materials (Dansheng Technology, Rongbae Technology, Sansun Stock, and Defang Nano). According to true lithium research data, in 2019 the industry ranking of the top three companies, De Fang Nano cathode material shipments are all lithium iron phosphate, Rongbaek technology cathode material shipments are ternary materials. The current global cathode enterprise's capacity layout is no longer limited to their own countries, but the global layout, most of its long-term planning, layout such as high nickel, high voltage, solid state battery materials and other technical aspects. The domestic cathode material customer structure is further optimized, focusing on the head of the battery business at home and abroad at the moment.


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3, ternary materials


The high energy density advantage of ternary materials makes it occupy an important position in the power field, the development of power batteries also led to the release of ternary materials.


Total ternary shipments from January to November 2020 were 178,000 tons, down slightly by 0.7% year-on-year, while other and overseas usage was 113,000 tons. The domestic ternary cathode industry has many participants, and the concentration of the ternary cathode industry has been low due to the high capital expenditure required for investment in the capacity of ternary and other material systems and the fast technology iteration, the low barriers of the conventional ternary cathode preparation process, and the many subsequent derivative models, leading to the divergence of technical routes. Ternary material manufacturers competition is fierce, the pattern is relatively fragmented, the share gap between the head of large manufacturers is small, and the industry CR5 is about 52% in 2020. From a dynamic perspective, the industry concentration shows an upward trend. GaoGong lithium data shows that


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January-May 2020 ternary battery field LG Chemical super BYD ranked second, with a market share of 19.1%, ternary battery market pattern from 2019 Ningde Time (50.5%), BYD (19.7%) "double oligarchy" pattern changed to you said (45.1%), LG Chemical (19.1%), BYD (17.0%) ), BYD (17.0%) "three oligarchs" pattern.


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4, high nickel ternary

By the ternary material product homogeneity of conventional products increasingly fierce competition, forcing companies to accelerate the development of new products such as high nickel monocrystallization, while increasing the expansion of the head battery companies. Although China occupies more than half of the global ternary materials production capacity, but in the high nickel market domestic ternary materials enterprises still have room for improvement. There are not many domestic enterprises that can really realize the batch shipment of high nickel ternary materials, and the enterprises with high shipment volume are mainly Rongbai, BAMO, Betray and Bump. According to the data of Huaan Securities report, Rongbae high nickel production accounted for about 70% of the industry leading position in high nickel ternary, Bamo, Betray and Bump are in the second echelon of the industry, Dansheng Technology, long-term lithium, Sugo shares, Zhenhua new material and other enterprises from the TOP4 have a certain gap, in the third echelon of the industry. In terms of the current supply pattern of domestic high nickel ternary materials, the first and second echelon of domestic high nickel ternary materials are expected to continue to expand their shipment scale in 2020, so as to be among the world's first-class high nickel ternary material manufacturers, while for the third echelon of enterprises, how to correctly grasp customer demand and produce differentiated products will become an important goal for the future development of the company. Affected by the epidemic, many car manufacturers in Europe and the United States have chosen to shut down their factories, and companies such as Panasonic, LG and Samsung have also shut down their battery factories in Europe and the United States one after another. Toyota, Panasonic and other companies also began to consider or shut down their plants in Japan, which to a certain extent suppressed the demand for high nickel ternary materials from Japanese and Korean companies in overseas markets. Comparable companies in the same industry of anode materials business comparison.


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5, lithium iron phosphate

Although the competition with lithium iron phosphate batteries, ternary lithium batteries are slightly inferior in safety and stability, but does have other batteries can not be compared to the battery energy density, material costs, range advantages. Lithium iron phosphate is mainly in the domestic power sector, but in the past, the development of the subsidy standard constraints almost stalled; but with lithium iron phosphate cost-effective advantages, the rapid development of non-power applications such as energy storage, especially in 2019 began to explode. At the core level, lithium iron phosphate low cost advantage is significant, the cost of use is still significantly better than ternary, in the cathode and core level has more than 50% and 20% cost reduction advantage, and because it does not contain cobalt nickel and other precious metals, lithium iron phosphate price fluctuations are much smaller than ternary, which is conducive to cost control. Lithium iron phosphate battery leading enterprises through differentiated innovation to increase the technological leadership. From the production capacity planning pattern, lithium iron phosphate industry concentration will be significantly increased, has entered the fight between the leading manufacturers stage, the industry in 2020 CR5 about 75% (CR3 50%), compared to the 2017 year this figure is only 37%. Among the mainstream enterprises, BYD and Guoxuan are mainly for self-use, while De Fang Nano, Betray, Hunan Yu Neng and Hubei Mason are for sale. Among them, De Fang Nano still maintains its leading position with a market share of nearly 30%. 2020 end and the current capacity under construction are located in the industry's first, and the market share is expected to rebound to more than 29% in 2021. Hunan Unitech plans to expand its production capacity to more than 100,000 tons after receiving capital increase from Ningde Times and BYD, which is the second in the industry.

From the battery pack and structure level, lithium iron phosphate due to its maturity and stability, in the "blade" "CTP" and other structural innovations and group efficiency advantage, but with the development of ternary, especially the high nickel ternary technology is mature and stable, there is room for improvement. The gap will be narrowed.

Ningde Time's "CTP" technology can increase the energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries to more than 160Wh/kg, and used in ternary can be increased to 200Wh/kg.

In addition to Ningde Times, BYD 2 suppliers in the ternary battery and lithium iron phosphate route have a high market share, most of the other competitors focus on a technical route, such as the focus on ternary Li Shen, AVIC Lithium, Fu Energy Technology, focus on lithium iron phosphate battery Guoxuan, Yiwei lithium energy. The previous power battery suppliers such as Wotema, BAK battery share gradually shrink, production capacity out.

Lithium iron phosphate pattern changes (2017-2020).


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6, lithium cobaltate materials

Lithium cobaltate is mainly used in consumer electronics, and the boom of the consumer electronics industry is highly correlated. 32,400 tons of lithium cobaltate shipments in 2014, 66,200 tons in 2019, basically five years to achieve a doubling, the growth rate is slow; 62,600 tons in January-November 2020, down 2.7%. The competitive pattern of lithium cobaltate materials has been basically established, with CR3 and CR5 reaching 68% and 84% respectively in 2020, of which Xia Tungsten's market share rises to 39%. Future products such as high-voltage lithium cobaltate may prompt further enhancement of product barriers and stratification of high- and low-end demand. Anode materials 2020 market competition pattern.


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The future high nickel ternary and lithium iron phosphate batteries will occupy a major share of the domestic power battery market by virtue of performance and price advantages, respectively, changing the current situation in which nickel ternary is dominant, and the combined share of high nickel ternary and lithium iron phosphate batteries is expected to exceed 80% by 2025.


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7, global opportunities

From a global perspective, the high-end new products of Japanese and Korean leading battery factories are more inclined to be promoted and upsized through their internal cathode capacity or through their local suppliers, especially in the trend of forming regional supply chains for global new energy vehicles, the situation is becoming more and more common, from Japan and Korea to Europe, overseas cathode materials are implementing large-scale capacity construction. In terms of opportunities, China's ternary precursor production capacity has become indispensable for global lithium giants, and China's cathode material segment is continuing to catch up with the technology gap with Japan and South Korea, and is expected to play a more important role in the global mainstream, high-end supply system in the future.

The global economic transformation in the post-epidemic era has driven the lithium supply side to step up, overlapping with the wave of vehicle electrification has given rise to an explosion in the demand side, and the world is about to usher in a new cycle of new energy industry expansion. As the upstream of the industry chain, the lithium battery materials industry chain is expected to benefit as a whole.

Technical Support: Magic Lamp