MEET Academy Highlights Availability and Supply Situation of Battery Materials

Demand for Battery Raw Materials Will Rise Significantly Driven by the Automotive Industry

Lithium, nickel or cobalt – these and other battery raw materials are the foundation of our current energy supply. Even more: the transport and energy transition increase the demand for these raw materials. But how about availability and supply situation of these battery materials? What potential offer the raw materials and how efficient are they? The speakers at MEET Academy Online on 18 November 2021 explored these and other questions and outlined possible scenarios for the raw materials demand of the future.

© WWU/MEET (Judith Kraft)

Decreasing Cobalt, increasing Demand for Nickel

In his presentation “Resource demand of the German passenger car sector until 2035”, Dr Matthias Buchert, Head of “Resources & Mobility” Division at Öko-Institute, compared the demand for raw materials in two possible scenarios for the passenger car sector: a small increase in electromobility versus a dominant electromobility. In the second scenario, the demand for lithium would increase stronger than for cobalt – as a result of the development towards batteries with less cobalt. The amount of nickel required will grow significantly. Buchert does not expect a physical shortage of lithium and nickel, but temporary restrictions are possible.

Siyamend Al Barazi, Head of “Raw Materials Management” Division at the German Mineral Resources Agency, discussed the countries where battery raw materials are extracted and the supply situation there. The main supplier of cobalt is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will continue to expand its mine production until 2030. The second largest supplier is Indonesia. Supply problems are currently not expected. Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines as well as Oceania cover more than 60 per cent of the nickel demand. Indonesia in particular will continue to expand its position in the market as the leading supplier of nickel. Al Barazi considers the supply situation for lithium to be critical. The demand for lithium is expected to increase up to 300 per cent by 2030. The automotive industry will account for 90 per cent of total demand. It is therefore important to invest in new projects and deposits now in order to be able to cover this rapidly growing demand in the future.

Recycling as a Key Topic

Both speakers emphasised the increasing importance of sustainability in battery raw material extraction. Therefore, the recycling of batteries must be intensified. They discussed current approaches with the around 50 participants of the MEET Academy.

Next MEET Academy in May 2022

The 18th MEET Academy will take place in May 2022. The topic will be announced soon. The MEET Academy, which is free of charge, is staged jointly by MEET Battery Research Center of the University of Münster and ElektroMobilität NRW.