U.S. Loosing Global Battery Arms Race that is Critically Dependent on Nickel, Cobalt and Lithium – by Simon Moores (Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – February 5, 2019)

  • Written Testimony of Simon Moores, Managing Director, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
  • For: US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Hearing: Tuesday, February 5 2019, at 10:00a.m. Room 366, Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.
  • Subject: Outlook for energy and minerals markets in the 116th Congress.

We are in the midst of a global battery arms race in which the US is presently a bystander.

Since my last testimony only 14 months ago, we have reached a new gear in this energy storage revolution which is now having a profound impact on supply chains and the raw materials that fuel it.

The advent of electric vehicles (EVs) and the emergence of battery energy storage has sparked a wave of lithium ion battery megafactories being built.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence is now tracking 70 lithium ion battery megafactories under construction across four continents, 46 of which are based in China with only five currently planned for the US. When I gave my last testimony in October 2017, the global total was at 17.

Only one of these battery megafactories is American owned (Gigafactory 1, Tesla). This, however, was the world’s biggest battery plant and fourth biggest battery producer in 2018.

Since October 2017, planned lithium ion battery capacity in the pipeline for the period 2019-2028 has risen from 289GWh to 1,549GWh (1.54TWh) in Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s February 2019 Assessment. This expanded capacity is the equivalent of 23-24 million sedan-sized electric vehicles.

This increasing scale will be a contributing factor to pushing lithium ion battery production costs below $100/kWh in 2019, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence data shows. This figure is long seen as a tipping point for the adoption of mass market EVs.

Almost exclusively, these megafactories are being built to make lithium ion battery cells using two chemistries: nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA).

For the rest of this presentation: https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=9BAC3577-C7A4-4D6D-A5AA-33ACDB97C233