China becomes world's largest li-ion battery producer

By Chen Xia
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 2, 2018
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China has become the world's largest lithium-ion battery producer, dominating the global market alongside South Korea and Japan, said a report released last week at an international forum on the lithium industry and power battery development.

New energy company BYD launches the world's largest power battery factory in lithium-rich Qinghai province, June 27, 2018. [Photo courtesy of BYD]
New energy company BYD launches the world's largest power battery factory in lithium-rich Qinghai province, June 27, 2018. [Photo courtesy of BYD]

China's production capacity of power batteries has reached 38 GWh, accounting for 60 percent of the world's total, said the report released on June 27 at the China (Qinghai) Lithium Industry and Power Battery International Forum held in Xining, the capital city of Qinghai in northwest China. 

The large production volume is attributed to the rapid development of electric vehicles. 

However, despite the market boom, industry insiders are worried about the industry's future development, as many major problems remain unsolved, such as the poor level of technologies related to resource utilization and battery production, as well as a lack of a battery re-use system. 

Zhang Yongwei, the chief expert of China EV100, a nonprofit organization promoting new energy vehicles, said that China will produce tens of millions of electric vehicles annually by 2030, but the industry will be under intense pressure if the bottlenecks for power battery development are unsolved.

Although China has abundant lithium resources, the utilization rate of lithium is low because of poor technology and underdeveloped supporting industries, said Zheng Mianping, a member of the China Academy of Engineering. According to estimates by his research team, approximately 70 percent of the lithium resources used in China were imported from foreign countries.

Further to that, China is short of nickel and cobalt, two other important materials to make power batteries, Zheng said. 

Another major problem is that China has no battery re-use system. About 70 to 80 percent of power is still usable in the scrap batteries of new energy vehicles, and there are many valuable metals which can be reused if treated properly.

The first batch of power batteries used in the Chinese market are approaching retirement. Chen Qingtai, the president of China EV100, suggested that the authorities establish rules on technology development and battery disposal programs in addition to launching a plan to encourage the reuse of power batteries. 

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