The Manufacturing and Supplying Process of Lithium Batteries

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( — December 27, 2021) –From cameras to mobile phones, to computers and now even cars many devices that we use in our day-to-day depend on small amounts of very rare metal, lithium. This mineral is the crucial element to make rechargeable batteries.

The problem with lithium is that it is difficult to find and even more difficult to extract. It is usually found in the depths of dry lakes mixed with solidified salted water. What is particular about this mineral is that the dry lakes from which it is extracted must have experienced volcanic activity at some point, so the areas where this mineral can be extracted are considerably reduced.

Once the place that meets all these requirements is found, digging begins to find the saline solution in which this precious mineral is found. With a complex system, lithium-rich salt water is pumped to the surface and sent to a pond.

The problem that lithium presents as soon as it is extracted is that it is very humid, and to make the batteries, you need pure dry lithium powder. So it is necessary to pump the lithium into large evaporation pools for the sun to do its evaporation work. Part of the water evaporates, and the salt ends up crystallizing, leaving the lithium in a more concentrated solution. After a period of between 18 and 24 months, the lithium is concentrated up to 60 times more. Subsequently, the pond’s pH level and conductivity are measured to check what the concentration and saturation levels are.

Fabrication process

Later, the water is pumped to a processing plant where the lithium will be extracted. First, the salty water is allowed to settle after a rough trip, once filtered and heated, it is ready for processing. In a giant blender, water is mixed with soda crystals to form a solid component called lithium carbonate.

Through a constant vacuum under the conveyor belt, it sticks every last gram of the valuable powder on its way to the wash. It is then sent to a rotary dryer that will dry up the last remaining water and from which a white powder comes out that will later be converted into lithium.

Later, this white powder is transported to conditioned plants where it will be converted into lithium-ion cells. Lithium is an ideal material for batteries since if we apply electricity to it, it charges positively. If we want to release this energy, we just have to put it next to something negative and the charge will flow.

Conventional batteries can only do this process once, but the positive disposition by nature of the lithium implies that we can recharge it again and again. So to turn it into a battery you have to find a way to glue it to something negative. Lithium is first mixed with a solvent to turn it into dense ink.

It is then poured into a large machine that is similar to a modern printing press, but instead of on paper, the thin layer of lithium ink is applied to aluminum foil. The thinner these sheets are, the more they can be stacked in a battery and the more energy storage capacity it will have.

When we talk about lithium-ion batteries, we are talking about flat batteries lithium battery pack manufacturers which are described the further detail below. Lithium-ion batteries can store no more and no less than 150 watts/hour of electricity in just 1kg of battery triple the storage capacity of a conventional lead-acid car battery. Lastly, it binds to negatively charged copper to create a powerful and lightweight battery cell. Once each finished cell is charged, the ions will move back and forth creating 3.8 volts of energy.

We remind you that by recycling waste batteries and accumulators (RPA) we are preventing more lithium from being extracted from the earth.

Top supplier of electric vehicle batteries

Currently, the companies that dominate the electric vehicle battery market are located in Asia: two are in China, three are in South Korea, and the other two are in Japan.

The electric vehicle batteries that currently constitute the ever-expanding supply provided by the growing market come from seven major suppliers in many cases, the European and American auto industries have claimed that they need to reduce the dependence of this component on Asian countries. The latest Vondo explains why this dependence is so obvious: China, South Korea, and Japan top the list of the world’s leading battery suppliers.

To be classified as Tier 1, manufacturers must strike a good balance between the quality of their products and the quantity they can produce each manufacturer every three months to determine their level according to their standards. Currently, seven companies comply with these regulations. Two of these companies are in China, three are in South Korea, and the other two are in Japan (although one of them is majority-owned by a Chinese company)

In order to be classified as Tier 1, the manufacturer’s annual production capacity must exceed 5 GWh. In addition to being a supplier in the Chinese market, it must also be qualified to supply batteries for foreign electric vehicles. In order to rank these seven companies based on market share, Benchmark uses data from SNE Research in June 2021