Janina Lim – Fourth Estate Contributor
New York, NY, United States (4E) – Global demand for lithium metal is expected to expand annually by nearly a tenth through 2019, according to a research which points to the growing electric vehicles industry as driving demand.
According to research firm Freedonia Group, demand for lithium metal across the world is projected to rise 8.9 percent per year through 2019 to 49,350 metric tons.
“Growth will be driven by rapid expansion in the lithium-ion battery industry as world demand for hybrid and electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and high-drain portable electronics continues to grow,” the summary of the study read.
“Rising production of primary lithium batteries will also support market gains, especially as improving incomes in emerging economies spur shifts to better performing primary batteries,” it added.
Other major markets for lithium — including glass and ceramics, lubricating grease, and metallurgy — are forecast to post relatively moderate gains.
Meanwhile, the Asia/Pacific region is projected to be the biggest driver of lithium-ion battery demand through 2019 as China’s manufacturing industry increases its appetite for lithium
“China is expected to register the world’s strongest yearly increases in lithium demand, boosted by a nearly threefold expansion in the country’s rechargeable battery segment,” Freedonia said.
Other major suppliers of lithium ion batteries in the region, including South Korea and Japan, are also projected to see robust increases in lithium demand.
Lithium is most widely consumed in the form of lithium carbonate due to the compound’s suitability to the production of glass, ceramics, and batteries.
However, the market share of lithium carbonate is losing to lithium hydroxide, which is gaining more favor because of its performance in lithium ion cathode applications
Analyzing the 32,200 metric ton world lithium industry, the Freedonia presents historical demand data and forecasts by product and for six world regions and 19 major countries.
The international firm serves clients in more than 80 countries that range from leading global investment banks, venture capital and private equity firms, top global management consulting firms, government agencies and uleading universities and business schools.
Also, more than 90% of the manufacturing companies among the Fortune 500 are among the firm’s clients.
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