By BEN COOK
- The world’s top ten battery cell manufacturers are all based in Asia-Pacific
- Five of the top ten are based in China
- China’s dominance has raised concerns about future lithium supplies
With predictions that the amount of energy storage deployed globally could reach almost 500GW by 2031 – according to data from Wood Mackenzie – which battery cell manufacturers are currently best placed to capitalise?
Global risk management organisation DNV identified the top ten battery cell manufacturers by volume in its 2022 Battery Scorecard report. Here we take a look at the top ten by projected cell production in 2022 and highlight the latest developments impacting on each manufacturer’s business.
It’s worth noting that every one of the top ten manufacturers is based in Asia-Pacific, with five based in China, three based in South Korea, one based in Japan and one based in Hong Kong.
The dominance of China is largely attributable to the fact that the nation’s electric vehicle manufacturing industry is undergoing a period of significant expansion. It’s a situation that has raised concerns among battery storage companies elsewhere in the world – the high demand for batteries in China means the country needs plentiful supplies of lithium, of which China is the third largest producer in the world. There are worries that China may become more reluctant to export lithium in future given the fact that it is likely to need massive amounts of the metal for domestic consumption.
The question is will any battery cell manufacturers from outside China be able to challenge the country’s pre-eminent position?
The Top 10 in full:
Projected 2022 cell production: 132GWh
Recent developments: Fulfilled an order for 900MWh of battery systems from Broad Reach Power, which plans to install the systems in projects in Texas in 2023. Meanwhile, earlier this year, it was reported that Huawei Technologies began selling large-scale battery systems – utilising CATL battery packs – for renewable energy storage in Japan. Huawei’s plan involves putting batteries into shipping container-sized units that each store 2,000kWh of energy.
2. LG Energy Solution
Headquarters: South Korea
Projected 2022 cell production: 93.9GWh
Recent developments: Completed the acquisition of NEC Energy Solutions, a US-based grid battery integrator, in a move aimed at expanding its energy storage system offerings. However, in April this year, it was reported that ongoing supply chain challenges and the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine had negatively affected LG Energy Solution’s quarterly revenues – Q1 2022 revenues were down 2.2% on the previous quarter.
3. Panasonic Corp
Projected 2022 cell production: 60.1GWh
Recent developments: In July this year, the US state of Kansas approved an application from Panasonic Energy Co to make the state the location for a proposed US-based lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility. Panasonic Energy plans to develop the site in De Soto, Kansas as part of a project that the company said could create up to 4,000 new jobs and result in an investment of approximately $4 billion.
4. BYD Co. Ltd
Projected 2022 cell production: 58.6GWh
Recent developments: Tipped by some to surpass Tesla and become the “new king” of electric vehicles, BYD is now valued at around US$121 billion. But are investors starting to lose confidence in the company? In an alarming development this week, BYD’s Hong Kong-listed stock fell 13% following the news that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc had cut its stake in the electric-car maker, selling 1.33 million shares.
5. Samsung SDI
Headquarters: South Korea
Projected 2022 cell production: 47.1GWh
Recent developments: Samsung SDI has broken ground on a second battery production facility in Seremban, Malaysia. Samsung will have invested US$1.3 billion in the facility by the time it is completed in 2025. Meanwhile, last week, it was revealed that the company plans to invest around US$1.5 billion to expand electric vehicle battery production in Europe – the move will involve expanding its existing Hungarian EV battery plant.
6. SK Innovation
Headquarters: South Korea
Projected 2022 cell production: 32GWh
Recent developments: Last year, SK Innovation established a partnership with US energy storage system integration company IHI Terrasun Solutionswith a view to using the manufacturer’s lithium-ion batteries in Terrasun projects. Meanwhile, in April this year, it was revealed that SK would hire 3,000 workers at its US battery plant in Georgia by the end of 2023, up from its original estimate of 2,600.
7. Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co., Ltd.
Projected 2022 cell production: 21.9GWh
Recent developments: Earlier this year, Tianjin Lishen began construction of a lithium-ion battery project – with an annual output of 36GWh – in Anhui Province, China
8. Gotion High Tech
Projected 2022 cell production: 21.5GWh
Recent developments: In June this year, Gotion revealed details of plans for the former Bosch plant in Göttingen that it acquired in 2021. Gotion High-Tech says that Göttingen will become its first battery production and business operation headquarters in Europe – the plan is to build the project on the Bosch site in two phases, a brownfield and a greenfield facility with annual production targets of 6 and 12GWh respectively. The first production line, with an annual capacity of 3.5GWh, is expected to come on stream in September 2023.
9. EVE Energy
Projected 2022 cell production: 18.5GWh
Recent developments: In August last year, US battery energy storage company Powin Energy signed a master supply agreement with EVE Energy that made the Chinese company a “strategic battery cell supplier for its [Powin’s] ‘Stack’ products”. Upon executing the contract with EVE, Powin secured customer commitments to deliver nearly 500 MWh of Powin Stack products using EVE cells in 2021 alone.
10. Amperex Technology Ltd (ATL)
Headquarters: Hong Kong
Projected 2022 cell production: 17.5GWh
Recent developments: CATL (ranked number one in our list) was a spin off from Amperex Technology Ltd, Last year Amperex Technology and CATL jointly invested in a new venture called Ampace, which promotes the long-term development and strategic direction of the enterprise’s businesses related to R&D, production and sales of medium-sized batteries and battery packs.