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US demand to reach $6 billion in 2017
US demand for battery and fuel cell materials is expected to rise more than four percent annually through 2017 to $6.0 billion. Growing motor vehicle production, as well as the motor vehicle industry’s increasing adoption of advanced energy storage technologies to meet government fuel efficiency mandates, will support growth in battery material demand, particularly for polymers and chemicals. Though rising from a much smaller base, fuel cell material demand will rise at a rapid double-digit pace due to the increasing adoption of fuel cells in electrical generation and industrial/motive power applications. However, even faster gains will be limited by the fuel cell industry’s continuing efforts to reduce costs, including through the adoption of less expensive and more efficient alternatives.
Polymer & chemical materials to see above-average growth
The motor vehicle industry’s ongoing efforts to meet increasingly stringent fuel efficiency requirements through the more widespread adoption of alternatives to the traditional flooded lead-acid battery will begin to be felt by the battery material industry over the forecast period. The rising adoption of rechargeable lithiumion batteries in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles will help drive above average growth in polymer and chemical battery material demand as vehicle manufacturers ramp up domestic production of these batteries to supply their North American operations. In addition, the increasing adoption of startstop ignition technology will lead to the expanded usage of advanced glass mat (AGM) lead-acid batteries, boosting demand for more specialty materials such as glass fibers. More broadly, the ongoing rebound in US motor vehicle production will increase lead-acid battery shipments, which will be the primary driver of rising battery material demand overall.
Fuel cells to post doubledigit annual growth
Robust global demand for fuel cells as alternatives in electricity generation and industrial and motive power applications will support the rapid expansion of the US fuel cell industry, and drive doubledigit growth in fuel cell material demand through 2017. All material types will benefit, though industry efforts to find alternative electrode catalyst materials will limit faster advances in fuel cell metal demand. Even faster growth in fuel cell material demand over the long term will reflect the penetration of fuel cells in motor vehicle and portable device applications.
Performance additive, catalyst materials to pace gains
Among functional categories for battery and fuel cell materials, the most rapid gains will be for performance additive and catalyst materials, and for electrolytes. Growth will be driven by the ongoing need to improve battery durability and performance, as well as by surging demand for fuel cells, most of which use expensive platinum catalysts. Active materials and electrodes are the leading outlet for materials, but are expected to lag overall market increases in demand through 2017. Battery current collectors are expected to grow at the slowest pace of any function in the 2012-2017 period, as manufacturers continue to increase cost reduction efforts.
Profiles 35 US industry players such as Ballard Power Systems, Celanese, OM Group and Umicore
This study analyzes the United States market for materials used in the production of batteries and fuel cells by application (primary batteries, secondary batteries, and fuel cells), by function (battery containers, electrodes, electrolytes, separators, etc.), and by material (carbon/graphite, chemicals, metals, polymers, and other). Materials are broadly defined as nondiscrete substances (in the form of gels, liquids, paste, or powder) used as catalysts, electrolytes, etc. and raw materials (such as rolled steel and zinc) that require further processing (e.g., cutting and forming) before they are used. The term fuel cell here is taken to refer to the fuel cell stack. Materials used in the manufacture of additional fuel cell system components such as external fuel tanks, fuel reformers, and piping are not covered.
Excluded from the scope of this study are discrete (individually distinct) fabricated devices (for example, battery cans) that are incorporated in the final product, although the raw materials used in their construction (such as nickel and steel) are covered here. Fuels and materials used in the manufacture of ancillary products (such as battery chargers and standalone power conditioning equipment) are also excluded.
Historical data (2002, 2007, and 2012) and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 are provided in current dollars (including inflation). Dollar figures presented include the value of materials provided by outside (contract) suppliers, as well as the estimated value of materials manufactured in house by battery and fuel cell companies (captive production). In addition, these figures include the value of both new and recycled materials (for instance, lead and polypropylene recovered from scrapped lead-acid batteries) used by battery and fuel cell manufacturers.