Future development trend of anode materials

1. Vertical integration of industrial chain to achieve cost reduction and efficiency

In the cost of negative electrode materials, the cost of raw materials and graphitization processing links accounts for more than 85%, which is the two key links of negative product cost control. In the early stage of the development of the negative electrode material industry chain, production links such as graphitization and carbonization mainly rely on outsourced factories for processing due to large capital investment and high technical barriers; Raw materials such as needle coke and natural graphite ore are purchased from corresponding suppliers.

Nowadays, with the intensification of global competition, more and more negative material enterprises control key production links and core raw materials through the vertical integration layout of the industrial chain to achieve cost reduction and efficiency. Leading enterprises such as Betrie, Shanshan Shares, and Putailai have realized graphitization self-supply through external acquisitions and the construction of integrated base projects, while graphitization processing enterprises have also entered the negative electrode material manufacturing system. In addition, there are also leading enterprises through obtaining mining rights, equity participation and other ways to achieve the self-supply of needle coke raw materials. The integrated layout has become an important part of the core competitiveness of negative electrode material enterprises.

2. High industry barriers and rapid increase in market concentration

Capital, technology and customers build multiple industry barriers, and the position of negative head enterprises continues to strengthen. First, capital barriers, negative material equipment technology, new product research and development, industrial scale, industrial chain upstream and downstream layout, etc., require a long time of large amounts of capital investment, and the process is uncertain, there are certain requirements for the financial strength of enterprises, there are capital barriers. The second is the technical barriers, after the enterprise enters, the continuous improvement of the production process requires the enterprise to have a deep technical background, and in-depth research on the selection of raw materials and process details, and the technical barriers are relatively high. Third, customer barriers, due to factors such as production and quality, downstream high-quality customers usually establish a cooperative relationship with the head anode material companies, and because customers are very cautious in product selection, materials will not be replaced at will after entering the supply system, customer stickiness is high, so the industry customer barriers are high.

The industry barriers are high, the discourse power of leading enterprises is superimposed, and the concentration of the negative electrode material industry is high. According to the high-tech lithium battery data, China’s negative electrode material industry concentration CR6 increased from 50% in 2020 to 80% in 2021, and the market concentration increased rapidly.

3. Graphite anode materials are still the mainstream, and silicon-based materials have great potential for future application

The comprehensive advantages of graphite anode materials are obvious, and it is the mainstream of lithium battery anode materials for a longer period of time. According to high-tech lithium data, in 2022, the market share of graphite anode materials is about 98%, especially artificial graphite anode materials, and its market share has reached about 80%.

Compared with graphite materials, silicon-based negative electrode materials have higher theoretical capacity and are a new type of negative electrode materials with great application potential. However, due to technical maturity and matching problems with other materials of the negative electrode, silicon-based materials have not yet been applied on a large scale. With the continuous improvement of the endurance requirements of new energy vehicles, lithium battery anode materials are also developing in the direction of high specific capacity, and the research and development and introduction of silicon-based anode materials are expected to accelerate.

Post time: Nov-02-2023