China has a technological lead in lithium-ion battery copper foil
The cost of lithium-ion battery copper foil accounts for about 8% of the total battery cost. The production and supply of copper foil have a great restriction on lithium battery. China has taken the lead in lithium-ion battery copper foil technology and has a significant capacity advantage.
Is there copper in lithium batteries?
What is lithium-ion battery copper foil
The role of the anode material in the lithium battery is to collect the current generated by the battery active material.
Copper foil not only has good conductivity, ductility, stable chemical properties, but also has the advantages of rich raw material resources, mature processing technology and low processing cost, so it is the first choice for lithium battery anode material carrier and fluid collector.
How much copper is in a lithium ion battery?The cost of lithium-ion battery copper foil
In terms of the composition of lithium battery, copper foil accounts for 5-10% of the material cost and 10-15% of the mass of lithium battery, which is an important part of lithium battery. In 2020, the cost of lithium-ion battery copper foil will account for 8% of the total cost of materials of lithium ion battery.
The manufacture of lithium-ion battery copper foil
Different from the copper foil that people imagine is a thin copper sheet, the lithium-ion battery copper foil is not made by physical methods, but by the chemical process of electrolysis.
The copper raw material is made into copper sulfate solution, and then the electrolytic equipment makes the solution electrode posited into copper foil under the action of direct current.
The application of lithium-ion battery copper foil
Electrolytic copper foil is not only used in lithium electricity, but also used in superconductors. However, lithium-ion battery copper foil has become fierce in recent three years.
From 2017 to 2019, the output of lithium-ion battery copper foil foil in China accounted for 20.33%, 29.10% and 32.16% of the output of electrolytic copper foil, indicating that the ratio of lithium-ion battery copper foil is increasing year by year.
Why is copper used in lithium-ion batteries?The importance of lithium-ion battery copper foil
The thickness of copper foil is directly linked to the energy density of lithium batteries. The thickness and thinness of lithium-ion battery copper foil can reduce the mass of lithium battery, reduce the resistance, and increase the mass of the active substance contained in the battery per unit volume, so as to increase the capacity of the battery under the same volume.
Lithium-ion battery copper foil mainly consists of ultra-thin copper foil (6-12μm) and extremely-thin copper foil (≤6μm). Influenced by the development of lithium battery towards high energy density and high safety, “extremely-thin”lithium-ion battery copper foil has become the general trend.
Extremely thin lithium-ion battery copper foil, China is good at it
At present, the mass consumption of 8μm, 6μm, 4.5μm lithium-ion battery copper foil is 830g/kWh, 623g/kWh, 484g/kWh respectively, and the energy density of lithium battery per unit mass is 157Wh/kg, 162Wh/kg, 166Wh/kg.
The energy density optimization of 6μm copper foil is 3.36% compared with 8μm copper foil, and the energy density optimization of 4.5μm copper foil is 5.73% compared with 8μm copper foil. The energy density of the battery increases by 2.56Wh/kg when the average copper foil thickness decreases by 1μm.
Therefore, with the rapid increase of energy density requirements for power batteries, extremely-thin copper foil technology has become the main direction of iteration and update, and is currently developing from the mainstream 8μm ultra-thin copper foil to 6μm, 4.5μm extremely-thin copper foil.
With the expansion of China’s new energy vehicle market, the proportion of power lithium battery in the downstream consumption market of lithium-ion battery copper foil is rapidly increasing, becoming the main growth point of lithium-ion battery copper foil market.
At the same time, the force of Chinese-made cars rise, in the improvement of endurance, battery energy density and other aspects of higher technical requirements, lithium-ion battery manufacturers demand to concentrate on extremely-thin copper foil. Chinese copper foil suppliers are making the foil thinner and thinner to suit battery manufacturers.
The thickness of lithium-ion battery copper foil in the Chinese market now
At present, CATL, The Chinese power battery manufacturer has large-scale use of 6μm lithium-ion battery copper foil, BYD, Guo Xuan High-tech, Tianjin Lishen and other mainstream manufacturers are speeding up the full use of 6μm lithium-ion battery copper foil.
At the same time, the capacity expansion and scale production process of 4.5μm copper foil of the head copper foil manufacturers accelerated. According to industry forecasts, the penetration rate of 6μm lithium-ion battery copper foil for power battery will reach 80% in 2021.
With the support of production line matching rate and permeability of large battery manufacturers, 6μm copper foil has become the mainstream. The large-scale production of 4.5μm copper foil will accelerate, and the penetration rate is expected to increase rapidly in 2021-2023.
The thickness of lithium-ion battery copper foil in other overseas market now
In contrast, the mainstream lithium-ion battery copper foil product is 8μm copper foil in overseas, and the penetration progress of extremely thin copper foil is significantly behind.
Overseas copper foil production is mainly concentrated in Japan and South Korea, although Japan has achieved the production of 3μm and 5μm copper foil in 2005.
And in recent years, some Japanese and South Korean enterprises have achieved the production of 1.5μm copper foil, but its products are mainly concentrated in high-end copper foil, applications in the field of PCB and special batteries.
Panasonic, LG, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation are still focusing on 8μm copper foil in power cell manufacturing due to the relatively long cycle of materials iteration in overseas battery factories.
The production of lithium-ion battery copper foil, China still got unique advantage
The global production capacity of lithium-ion battery copper foil is concentrated in Asia, with China accounting for nearly 80%. In 2020, the global capacity of lithium-ion battery copper foil is 435,000 tons, with 76% in China, 12% in South Korea and 8% in Japan.
The large quantity of lithium-ion battery copper foil mainly depends on Chinese copper foil manufacturers, and overseas battery manufacturers highly depend on China’s supply of lithium-ion battery copper foil.
The world’s top 10 lithium ion battery manufacturers by shipments in 2020 are highly dependent on China’s supply of lithium-ion battery copper foil .
New demand to promote lithium-ion battery copper foil
Before power batteries became popular, lithium-ion batteries were the main demand end for consumer electronics. Due to the safety considerations of consumer electronics, the product does not need too high battery energy density, the current major consumer electronics lithium battery mostly uses 8μm lithium-ion battery copper foil.
It is complementary to the lightweight oriented power battery. With the growing popularity of wearable devices such as health monitoring, Bluetooth headsets, smartwatches and AR/VR, consumer lithium batteries are seeing another boost in demand.
According to IDC data, the global shipments of wearable devices were 113 million units in 2017 and 445 million units in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 57.79%.
With the rapid development of the new consumer electronics market, consumer lithium batteries will gain new growth space. China’s copper foil capacity has also laid the foundation for this.
China’s professional company for lithium-ion battery copper foil
Many people who are interested in lithium ion battery may be familiar with the major lithium ion battery company in China, but most people do not know much about copper foil companies. Therefore, the following content will introduce professional company for lithium-ion battery copper foil in China in detail.
Jiayuan technology is one of the leading enterprises of high performance lithium-ion battery copper foil in China. The company integrates independent research and development, production, sales and other businesses, the main products are ultra-thin lithium-ion battery copper foil, and extremely-thin lithium-ion battery copper foil.
It has the capacity of small batch production for 4.5μm copper foil and has the leading technology in the industry. The current main customers include CATL, ATL, BYD, Farasis Energy, CALB, etc.
Benefit from the high gross profit, high ratio of the extremely-thin copper foil in product structure, the company has advantage in ton profit .
At present, Jiayuan Technology production capacity of 6μm and below has reached 45.46%, compared with other lithium-ion battery copper foil, the gross rate of extremely-thin copper foil is higher. Capacity continued to expand, the company will have 21,000 tons/year copper foil production capacity in 2021.
Nuode Investment Co., Ltd.
Nuode is the leading company in the production of lithium-ion battery copper foil in China. The company is mainly engaged in the production and sales of high-performance copper foil for lithium ion battery and the development of lithium battery materials.
After years of r&d and technological accumulation, the company developed 6μm lithium-ion battery copper foil in 2013, which is the first manufacturer in China to develop and produce 6μm copper foil for power battery.
As the leading supplier of lithium-ion battery copper foil in China, it has established cooperative relations with CATL, LG Chem, BYD, ATL, SKI, Guoxin High-tech, EVE, Tianjin Lishen, CALB and other major power battery enterprises.
In the market share (shipment size) of lithium-ion battery copper foil in 2020, Nuode ranked first among comparable listed copper foil enterprises with a market share of 13%.
At present, the company has three wholly-owned copper foil production bases for lithium battery, which are Huizhou United Copper Foil Electronic Material Co., LTD., Qinghai Electronic Material Industry Development Co., LTD., and Qinghai Nuode New Material Co., LTD.
The total copper foil production capacity of the company will be 43,000 tons/year in 2020, of which the lithium-ion battery copper foil production capacity will be 33,000 tons/year. It is expected that the total copper foil production capacity will increase to 85,000 tons/year in 2023.
Shengda Electric Co., Ltd.
Shengda Electric, a subsidiary of Listed Company Far East Holdings, is a new force in the production of lithium-ion battery copper foil,. The production of extremely thin copper foil in the product structure accounts for up to 70%.
At present, the company has realized 70% of copper foil products supplied to CATL, ranking third in the supply chain of CATL. Shengda Electric has passed CATL’s 4.5μm copper foil supply system certification.
At present, the company has a production base in Taixing with a capacity of 15,000 tons of lithium-ion battery copper foil, and a production base in Yibin with a capacity of 50,000 tons is about to be constructed. It is expected that the company’s production capacity of lithium-ion battery copper foil will reach 65,000 tons per year in 2025.
Chaohua technology is mainly engaged in the development, production and sales of high-precision electronic copper foil, various types of copper clad plate (CCL) and other electronic substrates and printed circuit board (PCB).
Companies now offer the whole industry chain of product line production and service ability for product including copper foil substrate, copper foil, half cured films, single/double-sided copper-clad boards, single-sided PCB, double-sided multi-layer printed circuit board, copper clad special wood pulp paper, drilling and pressing process.
It is a rare enterprise in the industry with a full product layout of copper foil industry.
The company’s capacity expansion accelerated. In 2017, the company restarted the high-precision electronic copper foil project with an annual output of 8,000 tons in Meizhou. The company increased the layout and construction of production line of lithium-ion battery copper foil, and entered the stage of rapid expansion of production capacity.
In November 2020, the 8,000-ton electronic copper foil (3,000-ton lithium-ion battery copper foil) project of Meizhou Base was officially put into operation, while the high-precision ultra-thin lithium-ion battery copper foil project with an annual output of 20,000 tons began construction.
In 2021, the company plans to invest and build a new material industry base with an annual output of 100,000 tons of high-precision electronic copper foil in Yulin, Guangxi.
Lithium-ion battery copper foil manufacturers plan to expand production
In the face of the rapid penetration of new energy vehicles, promising energy storage equipment and other demand side, copper foil manufacturers have carried out production line technical transformation and capacity expansion.
Qinghai Nuode New Material Co.LTD., a subsidiary of Nuode Co.LTD., plans to implement the project with an annual output of 40,000 tons of lithium copper foil for power use. Jiayuan Technology set up Jiangxi Jiayuan in November 2020, and built “annual output of 20,000 tons of electrolytic copper foil project” in Ganzhou.
In 2021, Chaohua Technology will start the project of producing 20,000 tons of lithium copper foil annually. In addition, other lithium copper foil manufacturers also began to expand capacity.
By the end of 2021, the global capacity of lithium copper foil is estimated to be about 507,000 tons. From 2021 to 2023, the global effective capacity of lithium copper foil will reach 507,000 tons/year, 636,700 tons/year and 771,300 tons/year, respectively, with a compound growth rate of 24.11%.