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Lithium Oxides and Compounds

Over the past three decades lithium has become a vital anode material in lithium-ion batteries because of its high electrochemical potential. Lithium-ion batteries have high charge- and power-to-weight ratios making them ideally suited for applications in plug-in hybrids and electric cars, electric bikes, and portable consumer electronics. In 2011 around 25% of lithium demand was for batteries - much of this stemming from the 40,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles sold globally. With collective annual sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles expected to reach several million units by 2020, and with automakers increasingly opting for lithium-ion batteries versus nickel-metal hybrid batteries, demand for battery-grade lithium is poised to triple by the end of the decade, amplifying production shortages and exacerbating supply risks.

Current market trends and challenges:
 

    Rapid demand growth for battery-grade lithium

    Battery-grade Li demand to triple by 2020

    EVs and plug-in hybrids are largest demand drivers     Lithium-ion batteries stealing incumbent market share

    Australia and Chile responsible for around 70% of production

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