Asian battery manufacturers eye European riches on offer

By Max Hall for PV Magazine

Analysts behind a report into the prospects for the global lithium-ion battery market say Asian industry insiders have discussed plans to establish production facilities in Europe to harness an anticipated explosion in growth there.

In a press release issued by U.K.-based market research company Interact Analysis to publicize the company’s Lithium-ion Battery Production & Supply – 2019 report, research analyst and report author Maya Xiao said: “It is fascinating to learn, based on conversations with industry insiders, that Asian suppliers are looking to meet projected strong growth in Europe by opening local factories.”

The report, produced last month by Irthlingborough-based artificial intelligence and automation specialists Interact, predicted China will be the fastest growing lithium-ion market between 2018 and 2023, but will be closely followed by a European market which the analysts expect will boast a compound annual growth rate of 56% to hit 118.7 GWh of production capacity in four years’ time.

Interact stated lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity hit 327.5 GW globally last year and its analysts expect that figure to triple by 2023.

A dynamic market

With lithium-ion batteries for energy storage having overhauled demand for the technology in consumer devices such as mobile phones and laptops in 2017, Japan and South Korea are set to see their share of the marketplace recede due to a failure to carve out an advantage in energy storage for transport, according to the report.

The fate of those two nations mirrors a wider retreat across Asia that will be only partially offset by continued steady growth in Asia, according to Interact Analysis, which appears to have given scant consideration to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to fast-track a domestic battery manufacturing industry.

The report states transport will account for 68.4% of lithium-ion battery sales in 2023 and highlights electric truck rollout as a significant factor – alongside energy storage for renewable energy production – in a European battery marketplace which is set to blossom.

In fact, the anticipated huge demand for electromobility and renewable energy-linked battery storage capacity illustrates how a desire to reduce carbon emissions will drive the European market.

China’s thirst for storage will be driven by a more pragmatic desire, according to the Interact report, which cited energy security as the prime motivation.

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