I have compiled some of the most recent information I could find
pertaining to the lithium ion battery market.
Is lithium-ion the ideal battery?
How to prolong lithium-based batteries
USES and TRENDS
"Introduced in the 1990s, lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries have quickly
become the most widely utilized battery chemistry in today?s portable
electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones, and PDAs. Due to
several features including high energy density, lightweight, and
construction flexibility, Li-ion and Li-ion polymer have for the most
part replaced nickel rechargeable batteries in these devices."
Read "Lithium Ion Batteries - Advancements in Today?s Portable
Marketplace." 3 Nov 2005
Applications - Video cameras, digital still cameras, Cellular phones,
PHS phones, Laptop computers, MD players, Various portable equipment,
In military defense applications
"Ultralife Batteries Inc. said Monday it received a $10.9 million
contract from an unnamed supplier to a major defense contractor for
its UBI-2590 lithium ion rechargeable batteries and CH0003 six-bay
battery chargers from its McDowell research division."
"The products will be used to power a system to counter improvised
The rechargeable batteries, which are designed for military and
commercial devices, have two independent 15-volt sections and can be
operated in 15-volt or 30-volt modes. The battery chargers provide a
recharge of up to six batteries simultaneously. The charger
auto-senses the battery type to make sure the proper charging profile
is used and has a range of AC and DC input voltages to allow for
operation from almost any worldwide power source."
Read "Ultralife Batteries Receives $10.9M Pact." Oct. 9, 2006
"Next-generation soldiers will wear vests with a battery to power the
many high-tech devices that modern soldiers use in battle. Argonne -
the nation's expert in lithium battery research - is developing the
materials and cell chemistry for that battery.
"Existing applications for Li-Ion batteries - consumer electronics -
only require the batteries to operate at or near room temperature. The
required operating temperature range for the army vest is much larger.
"In the Iraq desert, for example," said CMT's Amine, "soldiers are
serving in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit." CMT's new
electrolyte system allows extended operation at higher temperatures
than available from conventional Li-Ion liquid electrolyte systems."
Read "Argonne researchers becoming nation's experts in lithium-battery
technology." June 2005.
Some further examples of lithium ion battery use in military
technology applications from Saft Batteriinclude mobile battlefied
communications, peripheral applications such as guidance and target
acquisition systems, laser telemetry, tracking systems and night
vision goggles, and lithium battery packs for sonobuoys, pingers,
decoys and sea mines.
"In space, there is no place for a spacecraft to plug in a power cord.
Not even with an adapter or wireless source of electricity. Traveling
millions of miles from Earth, spacecraft must rely on the sources of
power they carry onboard. NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are no
"Both rovers, dubbed Spirit and Opportunity, are dependent on solar
panels for power during daytime operations and advanced lithium ion
rechargeable batteries for operations during the night. These
batteries are advanced versions of those used in laptops, camcorders
and cell phones. NASA researchers specifically designed and developed
these power sources to operate efficiently at temperatures as low as
Read "The Heartbeat of the Mars Exploration Rovers."
"After becoming the dominant rechargeable chemistry in cell phones,
PDAs and a host of other mobile applications, Li-ion batteries are
just starting to prove their metal in high-power portable applications
such as power tools."
Read "Li-Ion Cells Build Better Batteries for Power Tools," By David
Morrison, Editor, Power Electronics Technology. Feb 1, 2006 12:00 PM
"Bosch Power Tools and Phostech are developing lithium-ion batteries
with phosphate cathodes." 10/5/2006
"Max Rechargeable Hammer Drill with Lithium-Ion Battery, Model: PJ-R201-BC
Max Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Tokyo,... took the lead in the power tool
industry on January 21, 2005, when it launched the Max Battery
Operated Hammer Drill with Lithium-Ion Battery PJ-R201-BC, the first
professional power tool in the world equipped with a lithium-ion
Read "World?s First Professional Power Tool Equipped with Lithium-Ion Battery."
The trend toward smaller, safer batteries
"Last week, a consortium of battery manufacturers met to hammer out
new design specifications for li-ion batteries, including improved
safety standards. The hope is that the standards will be accepted and
adopted in a matter of months, says Kimberly Sterling, a spokeswoman
for IPC, the electronics standards association in Bannockburn, Ill.,
that sponsored the meeting."
Read "Search for a better battery keeps going and going," By Gregory
M. Lamb. Christian Science Monitor. September 18, 2006
"Researchers in France have created lithium-ion battery electrodes
with several times the energy capacity, by weight and volume, of
conventional electrodes. The new electrodes could help shrink the size
of cell-phone and laptop batteries, or else increase the length of
time a device could run on a charge. What's more, the nanotech methods
used to make these electrodes could provide a simple and inexpensive
way to structure new materials for next-generation batteries for
plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles."
Read "Higher-Capacity Lithium-Ion Batteries - Nanostructured
electrodes and active materials could shrink batteries for portable
electronics and electric vehicles," by Kevin Bullis. Technology
Review. June 22, 2006
An international team of researchers is using nanotechnology to help
build smaller lithium ion batteries:
"Researchers attempting to make microscopic machines have altered
viruses to collect metal and build wires for use in tiny batteries.
The viruses have been coaxed into building nanowires that could be
used to make tiny lithium-ion batteries as small as a grain of rice,
the researchers reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science."
Read "Viruses used to build tiny batteries." CBC News. CBC News. April 7, 2006
A123Systems, Valence Technology and Sandia are just some of the
companies working to make lithium ion batteries safer:
"Yesterday's announcement by Apple that it is recalling more than one
million lithium-ion laptop batteries sold in the U.S. is again
throwing the spotlight on the safety of this battery chemistry.
Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in laptops, cell phones, and
other mobile devices because of their ability to store lots of energy
in a small, light package. But with a recent spate of incidents in
which these batteries overheated or burst into flames -- prompting
recalls of Sony batteries in Apple computers and more than four
million Dell laptops -- many experts are questioning their safety.
"A solution may be at hand, although it could mean accepting, for now
at least, lower battery capacity. Safer materials for lithium-ion
batteries already exist and are available in products such as power
tools. With some modification, they could be used in laptops, and also
help facilitate the widespread use of lithium-ion batteries in hybrid
and electric vehicles."
"Leading the way are two companies, A123Systems of Watertown, MA, and
Valence Technology of Austin, Texas, which have designed lithium-ion
batteries that avoid the traditional positive electrode materials used
in most laptops and cell phones today."
Read "Safer Lithium-Ion Batteries - In light of Apple's and Dell's
massive recalls, will computer makers opt for batteries that are less
prone to catching fire?" By Kevin Bullis. Technology Reviews. August
"As part of the Department of Energy-funded FreedomCAR program, Sandia
National Laboratories? Power Sources Technology Group is researching
ways to make lithium-ion batteries work longer and safer. The research
could lead to these batteries being used in new hybrid electric
vehicles (HEVs) in the next five to ten years.
"Batteries are a necessary part of hybrid electric-gasoline powered
vehicles and someday, when the technology matures, will be part of
hybrid electric-hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles," says Dan
Doughty, manager of Sandia?s Advanced Power Sources Research and
Development Department. "Current hybrid vehicles use nickel-metal
hydride batteries, but a safe lithium-ion battery will be a much
better option for the hybrids."
"Sandia?s FreedomCAR work centers on the areas of battery abuse
tolerance and accelerated lifetime prediction, with abuse tolerance
receiving most of the focus."
Read "Sandia researchers seek ways to make lithium-ion batteries work
longer, safer - Batteries could soon replace standard nickel-metal
hydride batteries in hybrid vehicles." Sandia National Laboratories.
January 16, 2006
Bicycles, Scooters and Cars
"People who live in densely populated Asian cities would love to have
li-ion batteries to power bicycles and small scooters because they
last longer and weigh one-fourth as much as bulky lead-acid batteries,
Carlson says. Li-ion is "eventually where they want to go for
automobiles, but they don't have the safety and they don't have the
low cost yet," he says. "It's a developing technology. It's only been
out 14 years ... you have to work through the safety and the cost."
Read "Search for a better battery keeps going and going," By Gregory
M. Lamb. Christian Science Monitor. September 18, 2006
Freedom Car Program:
"The FreedomCAR program, initiated by President Bush in 2002, focuses
on developing hydrogen-powered electric vehicles to help free the U.S.
from dependence on foreign oil supplies. Five national laboratories -
Sandia, Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Idaho, and Brookhaven - are
involved in the program, each researching different aspects of making
hybrid electric-hydrogen vehicles a reality."
"Big Yellow EV: NYC Begins Testing Lithium-Ion Taxi." 9/21/2006
"Tesla Motors, based in San Carlos, Calif., in the heart of Silicon
Valley, is in the process of bringing the all-electric Tesla Roadster
sports car to market. It is capable of going from zero to 60 mph in
around four seconds, has a top speed of better than 130 mph, and can
travel up to 250 miles on a single charge. The car?s power comes from
its Lithium-ion Energy Storage System, or battery pack, which can be
recharged in about 3.5 hours. First deliveries are expected to begin
Read "Telsa Motors Receives Prestigious ?Breakthrough Award? from
Popular Mechanics." http://pesn.com/2006/10/09/9500456_Tesla_Motors_Award/
"The emergence of small lightweight long-running lithium-ion batteries
has helped create a market for notebook computers, cell phones, and
other portable devices from the iPod to the BlackBerry. Now, efforts
to scale that technology for use in car batteries could do for the
automotive industry what it did for computer and phone companies. The
benefit for consumers could be revolutionary: hybrid or pure electric
cars with great efficiency, acceleration and range - at the same price
or cheaper than today's conventional cars."
"On Dec. 16, Toyota announced that they would accelerate development
of lithium batteries for use in their hybrids. That's a clear sign of
how important battery power may become for the auto industry."
"Dozens of smaller companies are racing toward a lithium payday. Some
say that their lithium batteries will solve all our transportation
problems, and make hydrogen fuel cells immediately irrelevant. The
major car companies are not taking the wild claims very seriously, but
some battery companies have attracted wider attention. In Nov., A123
Systems, a private company in Watertown Mass., unveiled a lithium
battery that earned them $32 million in funding from big name
investors, such as Sequoia Capital, Motorola, and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. The company is working with Department of
Energy on the development of lithium ion batteries for hybrid
vehicles. Lithium iron phosphate batteries from Valence Technology, a
publicly traded company based in Austin, Tex., are being used in
Segway electric scooters and a much publicized converted plug-in
Read "A Laptop in Every Garage."
"Detroit's automakers are investing in Johnson Controls Inc. to
develop a lighter and less expensive hybrid battery expected to be in
vehicles by 2010 and able to compete with today's top-selling,
Japanese-made hybrid batteries."
"The Milwaukee-based supplier will be up against a Toyota Motor Corp.
joint venture called Panasonic Electric Vehicle Energy, which makes
batteries for Toyota and has 74% of the hybrid battery market. Sanyo
has a 13% market share, making batteries for the Ford Escape and Honda
Accord, and an independent Panasonic battery operation making hybrid
batteries for the Honda Civic has a 13% market share.
** "Another challenge in developing lithium-ion batteries is finding a
market that Japanese manufacturers are not already dominating, Brandt
said. "In general, Japanese battery manufacturers have made alliances
with Japanese car manufacturers," Brandt said. "We believe that there
is interest in getting access to this type of technology rather than
going to Japan for joint ventures or other licensing deals."
Read HYBRID OUTREACH: U.S. automakers join lithium-ion battery
project," by Jason Roberson. September 6, 2006
"Brazilian automotive company OBVIO! will develop and introduce
lithium-ion-powered electric cars based on its 828 and 012 microsport
car designs (earlier post) for export to North America......
Read "OBVIO! to Introduce Electric Cars to North America." July 2006
"Mitsubishi Fuso has developed a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) which
offers improved fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional
vehicles while still providing rugged reliability for day-to-day
"The new truck combines a small, clean-burning diesel engine, an
ultra-slim electric motor/generator and advanced lithium-ion batteries
in a drive train that also includes a high-efficiency automated
mechanical transmission. The result is a medium-duty truck that
achieves up to 30% better fuel economy in delivery applications and
also produces significantly less emissions than its standard
Read "Mitsubishi Hybrid Truck with Li-ion Batteries." July 2006
"Dave Hermance, executive engineer for advanced vehicle technology at
Toyota, said the lithium ion batteries needed to make plug-ins work
could take 10 years or more to develop.
"The battery for a plug-in system needs to be extremely hardy, he
said, noting that fully charging and completely draining batteries eat
away at their durability. That's why the Prius battery ranges between
50 percent and 70 percent charged."
"The duty cycle of a plug-in is much worse," Hermance said. "The
demands are much higher."
"Several major battery producers are working to develop lithium-ion
systems to handle those demands, he said, but it's going to take a lot
of time to get it right."
"Frank is more optimistic. He believes new lithium-ion batteries could
cut costs for plug-in power packs to about $5,000 within 18 months.
With growing popularity, the costs could fall even more, he said."
Read "Toyota now says PHEV batteries in 10 years." Apr 2, 2006
You might be interested in reading the following lengthy report:
"Costs of Lithium-Ion Batteries for Vehicles." Center for
Transportation Research. Argonne National Laboratory
IMPACT OF BATTERY RECALLS
"Sony has finally bitten the bullet and issued a worldwide recall of
all Sony-manufactured lithium-ion batteries used in notebook
computers. Earlier in the day, Lenovo/IBM joined the ranks of Dell,
Apple, and Toshiba in issuing a recall for all Sony batteries that
ship with their notebooks."
"Between Dell, Apple, Toshiba, and Lenovo, the number of recalled
batteries worldwide is climbing past 7 million. Sony, being one of the
largest lithium-ion battery manufacturers in the world, undoubtedly
supplies other vendors (not to mention themselves) aside from those
under the recall, so that number is sure to climb."
Read "Sony issues global li-ion battery recall," By Jacqui Cheng. 9/28/2006
"Dell Inc.'s recall of 4.1 million laptop computer batteries came as
embarrassing news to Sony, which supplied the problem batteries, but
proved to be good news for rival Japanese electronics companies Sanyo
and Matsushita, pushing the struggling company's shares higher
"Sony, Sanyo and Matsushita, maker of Panasonic brand goods, are the
three major Japanese producers of lithium-ion batteries, which are
rechargeable and used in laptops, digital cameras, music players, cell
phones and other gadgets."
"Sony Corp. in Tokyo said it was still calculating how much the
incident will cost but that it has promised to cooperate fully with
Dell Inc. in the largest recall of electronics-related products in
U.S. history. Worries about the cost burden sent Sony shares tumbling
1.15 percent in Tokyo to 5,150 yen ($44)."
"Dell Recall a Boon for Sony Rivals." August 16, 2006
The financial impact on Sony will undoubtedly be huge, but the vendor
has been tight-lipped about how much it expects the battery crisis to
cost. Previously, Sony had estimated the cost of the combined Apple
and Dell recalls could be as high as US$250million, but analysts put
the figure at between US$200million and US$300million for the Dell
Read "Three more vendors recall Sony lithium-ion batteries," by Dylan
Bowman. Oct 2006. http://www.itp.net/news/details.php?id=22239&category=
"Despite the recent recalls of millions of notebook battery packs,
lithium-ion battery technology appears to be here to stay when it
comes to powering portable PCs, experts say.
Read Lithium-Ion Batteries to Survive Notebooks' Flames," By John G.
Zinc Matrix Power hopes their zinc-based batteries will offer an alternative!
"The Camarillo, Calif.-based start-up is one of a number of companies
that has been toiling away at a problem that's no longer obscure due
to Dell's massive laptop battery recall: Lithium ion batteries can,
under the right conditions, explode into flames.
"By contrast, Zinc Matrix has come up with a silver zinc-based battery
that can't explode, Dueber said. The materials inside the
battery--mostly zinc, zinc oxide and water--aren't flammable.
Notebooks running on these batteries, which will go into low-volume
production in early 2007, can last eight to 10 hours, he said, longer
Read "Can anything tame the battery flames? Fuel cells and alternative
batteries have a chance to go mainstream, thanks to technological
improvements and exploding laptops." By Michael Kanellos. CNET
News.com. Published: August 15, 2006,
Position Statement from the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association:
"As the trade organization for companies that manufacture lithium ion
cells and batteries as well as portable electronic products powered by
lithium ion and other rechargeable batteries, the Portable
Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) is committed to the highest
quality and safety standards in product manufacturing. Our members are
the leaders in the development of lithium ion technology and have also
led in creating sophisticated manufacturing quality control and
quality assurance practices, protective circuitry, and IEEE standards
for communication between devices (such as computers or cell phones)
"Lithium ion batteries are used not just in portable consumer
applications. They also are used in large format applications by the
military, medical industry, and automotive industry. In fact, lithium
ion batteries are now found in electric and hybrid vehicles. In order
to meet this increased demand, it is expected that more than 2 billion
lithium ion cells will be manufactured in 2006."
"We are aware of a small number of incidents involving fires in
batteries of this type. Based on the millions of lithium-ion batteries
in use today and the exceptionally small number of cases in which a
battery malfunction has occurred, we believe these batteries are safe
and reliable when used according to manufacturers' guidelines."
Read "Statement from Norm England," President and CEO of the Portable
Rechargeable Battery Association.
"Are you tired of proprietary laptop batteries that will only fit one
brand or model of machine? Sick of exploding batteries, melted
laptops, and burned leg hairs? By this time next year, all your
troubles may be a distant memory. IPC - Association Connecting
Electronics Industries (henceforth simply IPC) formed an OEM Critical
Compoments Committee last October to come up with industry standards
for essential computer parts, and laptop batteries are up next on that
committee's hit list."
"By July 2007, the group intends to have completed a Lithium-ion
battery standard for laptops and handheld devices, including safety
specifications that would prevent any further issues like the recent
Sony and Dell troubles with overheating batteries. The task force
includes senior managers from Dell, HP, Apple, and Lenovo, all of whom
have an obvious interest in safe laptops. Other companies represented
include IBM and Motorola, both of whom might know a thing or two about
battery technologies, as well as Lucent, Intel, and Cisco."
Read "Industry standards for Li-ion batteries in the works," by Anders
Bylund. 8/24/2006. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060824-7579.html
LITHIUM ION BATTERY PRODUCTION
For a discussion concerning manufacturing of lithium ion batteries in
the Unites States vs other countries, see the following paper:
"Factors Affecting U.S. Production Decisions: Why are There No Volume
Lithium-Ion Battery Manufacturers in the United States?" Prepared for
Economic Assessment Office Advanced Technology Program. National
Institute of Standards and Technology, By Ralph J. Brodd Broddarp of
Nevada, Inc. June 2005
IV. Structural Factors Affecting Production Decisions."
"Our interviews revealed strongly contrasting business environments in
the United States compared with Asian countries with burgeoning
activity in rechargeable batteries. The different market structures
and other characteristics underlying these varied environments favor
manufacturing of recharge-able batteries in these Asian countries,
typified by Japan which manufactures 80% of Li-ion batteries today."
"This section explores the different structural factors in the
contrasting national business environments in greater detail in order
to seek answers to why U.S. firms failed to success-fully engage in
Li-ion battery manufacturing despite their dominance in primary
"Although traditional markets are still important to the lithium
industry, batteries are the growth leader, increasing by more than 20
percent per year in the past few years, and lithium-ion and
lithium-polymer batteries appear to have the greatest potential for
additional growth. Batteries may soon become the leading end use for
Read "Mineral resource of the month: Lithium." GeoTimes. July 2006
"The China Battery Industry Association reports that exports of
mainland China's lithium battery makers post a notable 127 percent
growth between 2002 and 2003. Some 314 million units of lithium
batteries have been shipped from mainland China in 2003. In the last
five years, mainland China makers have increased their production
capacities by 100 to 200 percent, making the country one of the
leading producers of lithium batteries alongside Japan and South
"In Hong Kong, lithium batteries are the biggest growth sector of
battery types. The lithium battery sector has the most number of new
entrants. The key applications that drive the line in Hong Kong SAR
are mobile phones, PDAs and digital cameras. Industry sources say
demand is poised to grow for lithium batteries/packs applied in
portable media players and Bluetooth devices."
"The Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center says investments in
battery production in Taiwan are limited. Production lines usually
number one to two lines only. IEK-ITIS recommended that Taiwan
manufacturers form strategic alliances or merge production lines with
other companies. If this happens, then Taiwan will be able to grab
large orders from the international market, according to IEK."
"Li-ion batteries account for the largest market among all
rechargeable batteries in Japan. According to the Ministry of Economy,
Trade and Industry, a total of 828 million units were shipped by
Japanese makers last year, up from 781 million units in 2003. Japan's
exports were valued at $2.91 billion in 2003, increasing to $2.76
billion last year. Overseas sales amounted to $2.03 billion last year,
accounting for over 70 percent of the total shipments of rechargeable
batteries during the past five years."
Read "Robust exports buoy lithium battery production - Demand increase
of around 10 to 30 percent this year is set to boost Asia's lithium
battery industry." May 13, 2005
"Production across Greater China relies heavily on OEM business. Only
a few companies capitalize on own-brand sales. Business is largely
export-oriented, with makers shipping most of output to Europe and the
"Lithium-based battery packs comprise most of makers' output. They are
pushing other versions such as NiMH out of the picture. Li-ion battery
packs are in the greatest supply, but makers anticipate Lithium
polymer versions to consistently rack up market share and become the
mainstream product by 2007â??in time for the large-scale influx of 3G
Read "Growth mirrors success of handset industry - Li-ion battery
packs continue to dominate makers' million-unit production. Lithium
polymer models to be mainstream in time for 3G phones." July 01, 2005
"Expansion of the market for portable battery-powered products is
driving makers to develop rechargeable batteries that are more compact
yet have higher energy density and more safety features. This has led
many mainland China and Taiwan suppliers to shift to battery
chemistries such as nickel-metal hydride, lithium ion and lithium
polymers (LiPo). As they are considered more environment-friendly than
conventional nickel cadmium, demand for rechargeable batteries of
these chemistries is also growing with the passage of the EU's WEEE
and RoHS directives."
Read "Lithium key element in new models." Nov. 2005
As usual, if you need additional clarification, please don't hesitate
to ask. I will be happy to help if I can!
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