Cathode and precursor materials

Outlook to 2030 1st Edition

Cathode patent landscape

Since their development in the early 1990s, Li-ion batteries have become an integral part of our daily life, from powering smart phones and laptops to electrifying transportation. The evolution of the cathode chemistry is one of the key factors that have made the modern Li-ion technology feasible. Like other technologies, patents play an important role in encouraging the technology development of Li-ion battery cathode material manufacturing.

Continuous research and development of cathode materials, in line with the growth of the market, have contributed greatly to the substantial improvement of the performance, safety and cost of Li-ion batteries, as can also be demonstrated by the cathode patenting trend.

The in-depth patent analysis in Roskill’s Cathode and Precursor Materials report, 1st Edition is aimed at providing a solid understanding of the global cathode materials market from a patent perspective. Rather than just listing the patents, Roskill’s industry-centric primary research focuses on investigating the relationship between cathode business, and scientific and technological trends, through exploring key technologies and influential patents within the global cathode industry, analysing IP strength of the key IP players and depicting the patent license agreement network.

Precursor-cathode-battery supply chain and industry integration

Cathode materials have a more complex and longer supply chain to ensure the final products are delivered in the right quantities and quality, compared to many other battery components, involving the mining and refining of feedstocks, manufacturing of precursors and final production of active cathode materials. Preparing and manufacturing of precursor and cathode materials are closely related; with precursor-cathode production stages becoming increasingly integrated in the industry. Additionally, as competition intensifies, Li-ion battery makers have strategically participated in backward integration to the cathode materials manufacturing stage, and even further to precursor materials and raw material supply in some instances.

Costs, value and margin

In 2020, metal sulphates (including nickel, cobalt and manganese) are used to synthesize precursor materials by “Coprecipitation Method”. Subsequently, the precursor materials and lithium salt are mixed and sintered to manufacture the final ternary cathode materials. Roskill’s cathode report provides a detailed cost breakdown of precursor and cathode materials, showing precursor and cathode cost trend. Roskill’s cost analysis also clearly presents the difference between raw material obtained from integrated and non-integrated supply chains.

Recycling

Worldwide growth in mobile electrification, largely driven by the popularity of EVs, will make it essential to have an efficient and sustainable recycling industry to return secondary materials to the supply chain for reuse. Li-ion battery recycling is of great importance not only for industry economics, but also from the environmental and geostrategic perspectives. Cobalt and nickel from the cathode are the two critical metals driving recycling industry in the near term.

Roskill experts will answer your questions…

  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of each type of cathode materials?
  • How will prices of cathode products perform to 2030?
  • How is the supply chain for cathode raw materials structured?
  • What new technologies may impact the current cathode materials?
  • How to recycle cathode materials from spent Li-ion batteries?

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