Digitalization and automation are the major trends and drivers in battery production. Asian producers are
leading the way in automation and lowering costs, with optimized manufacturing speeds (cycle times) and overall equipment efficiency – key parameters in battery production. But many high-quality process technologies are also now emerging in Europe and the US, driven by collaborations between business and academia. The development of a “green battery” dominates R&D efforts.
Thanks to improvements in energy densities, there has been a strong increase in performance of EV batteries in recent years. Energy densities have risen eight-fold, while battery costs have fallen by almost 90%. This is resulting in longer guaranteed performance periods for EVs, and therefore longer warranties and rising confidence in the technology.
China dominates the EV market when it comes to sales volumes and range of vehicles.
EVs are the main market for LiBs, accounting for 90% of demand. The vehicles cannot be 100% sustainable until they are powered solely by renewable energy. A country’s energy mix is therefore a key factor in EV and battery sustainability. Charging networks are growing rapidly, driven by growing EV sales, incentives and improving technologies. The rollout of fast DC charging is critical to overcome concerns about EV ownership.
Second use and recycling
Recycling is seen as the most important process step to reduce the CO2 footprint of cell production. Currently, companies have recycling efficiencies of 60% to 95%, with those in the EU driven by regulatory targets. Technologies such as hydrometallurgical approaches can recover more than 90% of active materials, but CAPEX and OPEX are high. China has the highest recycling capacity, but capacities are increasing strongly in Europe and North America.
Battery Monitor 2022, a collaboration between Roland Berger and the Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) group at RWTH Aachen University, closes with a list of key takeaways for stakeholders in the value chain. These include noting that regulation is playing the key role in sustainability and success of the battery market, and that manufacturers and OEMs need to move to secure supplies of raw materials. See the full report for more details.