Advanced batteries and fuel cells supplies power to portable and stationary power supplies, uninterruptable power systems; and military equipment and vehicles. Fuel cells are basically electrochemical devices that combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity.
Unlike batteries, they can continuously generate and supply electricity till the time fuel source is connected to it. Based on type, the battery materials can be classified into metals (lead, steel, antimony, zinc and other metals), chemicals (metallic chemicals, other chemicals), polymers (polyolefins, fluoroploymers and other polymers) carbon/graphite; and other materials (silica, glass fibers, ceramics; and others).
Based on function, battery materials can be classified under five segments namely active materials, current collectors, containers, electrolytes, performance additives, separators; and others. Based on application they can be classified under two segments namely primary (alkaline, primary lithium, zinc-air and others) and secondary (lead acid, rechargeable lithium, nickel metal hydride, nickel metal cadmium and others)
Based on type, fuel cell materials can be classified into metals (platinum and other metals), ceramics, polymers (fluoropolymers, other polymers), carbon/graphite; and chemicals.
Based on function, fuel cell materials can be classified under five segments namely catalysts, electrodes, electrolytes, plates and others. Based on application, fuel cell materials can be classified under six segments namely solid oxide, proton exchange membrane, molten carbonate, phosphoric acid, direct methanol and others.
The key drivers for advanced battery and fuel cell materials market are increasing portable devices and equipments, increasing number of electric and hybrid automobiles, recycling concerns and power scarcity in the developing countries. The other drivers for advanced battery and fuel cell materials market include the emergence of new technologies including lithium battery, solid oxide fuel cells; and proton exchange membrane fuel cells and increasing use of combined heat and power products.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the global private equity investments in fuel cell companies increased from USD 671.4 million during 2009-2011 to USD 853.6 million during 2010-2012. This shows the prospective market for advanced battery and fuel cell materials market.
The secondary batteries are increasing at a fast pace as compared to primary batteries. A shift from nickel metal hybrid batteries to lithium batteries is expected in hybrid and electric vehicles during 2014-2020.
The increasing use of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearable electronic accessories and emerging new stationary battery applications is the key reason for growing lithium battery market.
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Among regions, Asia Pacific was the largest market for advanced battery and fuel cell materials in 2013 followed by Europe. Asia Pacific was the largest fuel cells user in 2013 where Japan and South Korea were the key manufacturing countries in the region.
Germany was the largest producer of advanced battery and fuel cell materials in Europe in the same year. Asia Pacific is expected to retain its leadership by 2020 due to its increasing market portable electronic devices and electric and hybrid vehicles market, especially in China.
The major companies operating in advanced battery and fuel cell materials market are Exide Technologies, Eco-Bat Technologies, Doe-Run Technologies, BASF SE, Cabot Corporation, Eramet SA, Hammond Group Inc. and Hollingsworth & Vose Company.
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