Battery Electrolyte: Understanding Its Function and Types
Battery electrolyte is a vital component of batteries,
especially lead-acid batteries, that plays a significant role in their
performance. The electrolyte is an electrically conductive solution that
facilitates the movement of ions between the battery's positive and negative
electrodes, thus enabling the flow of electric current. In this essay, we will
explore the function and types of battery electrolytes.
Function of Battery
The primary function of battery electrolyte is to facilitate
the movement of ions between the positive and negative electrodes of the
battery. When a battery is charged, the electrolyte solution undergoes a
chemical reaction that causes the battery to store electrical energy. When the
battery is discharged, the chemical reaction is reversed, and the stored energy
is released as electric current.
The electrolyte solution also plays a crucial role in
maintaining the battery's voltage and specific gravity. The voltage of a
battery is the measure of its electrical potential, while the specific gravity
is the density of the electrolyte solution. A low specific gravity indicates
that the battery is discharged, while a high specific gravity indicates that
the battery is charged.
Types of Battery
There are several types of battery electrolytes, each with
its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of battery
- Acid Electrolyte: Acid electrolytes are the most common type
of electrolyte used in lead-acid batteries. The electrolyte solution is a
mixture of sulfuric acid and water, which provides a high specific gravity and
excellent electrical conductivity. However, acid electrolytes are corrosive and
can cause damage to the battery and surrounding components if they leak or
- Alkaline Electrolyte: Alkaline electrolytes are used in
nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries. The electrolyte solution is
a mixture of potassium hydroxide and water, which provides a high specific
gravity and excellent electrical conductivity. Alkaline electrolytes are less
corrosive than acid electrolytes, but they are more sensitive to temperature
- Saltwater Electrolyte: Saltwater electrolytes are used in
some types of experimental batteries. The electrolyte solution is a mixture of
saltwater and water, which provides a low specific gravity and moderate
electrical conductivity. Saltwater electrolytes are less corrosive than acid
electrolytes, but they have a lower energy density and shorter lifespan.
Battery Electrolyte Market Dynamics
Drivers in battery
The Battery Electrolyte Market is influenced by several
factors that impact its dynamics. One of the key drivers of this market is the
significant growth in demand for batteries, which is expected to continue for
the next few years. Various industries such as electric vehicles, energy
storage, and consumer electronics have experienced a surge in demand for
lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries due to the global focus on minimizing the
use of conventional sources of energy.
Restraints in battery
However, the market faces certain restraints that hinder its
growth. One such restraint is the lack of efficient recycling technologies for
battery materials. The high cost involved in the manufacturing of lithium-ion
batteries makes recycling of raw materials used in these batteries a more
attractive option. However, there is a shortage of recycling technologies for
these batteries. Countries like India do not have proper legislation that can
prevent the illegal dumping of spent lithium batteries. As a result, the lack
of efficient recycling technologies for battery materials can have a negative
impact on the growth of the battery market and, consequently, on the demand for
On the other hand, the declining cost of solar photovoltaic
modules, along with global initiatives to eliminate carbon emissions and
promote renewable energy, provides ample opportunities for battery electrolyte
market players. However, rising concerns over the harmful effects of batteries
on human health also pose a barrier to the market's growth. In summary, the
battery electrolyte market is driven by the growth in demand for batteries in
various industries, but its growth may be hindered by the lack of efficient
recycling technologies and concerns over the environmental impact of batteries.
In recent years, the battery electrolyte market has
witnessed several developments, particularly in the field of technology and
One notable development is the emergence of solid-state
electrolytes as a promising alternative to liquid electrolytes. Solid-state
electrolytes have several advantages over liquid electrolytes, such as improved
safety, higher energy density, and longer lifespan. Companies such as Toyota
and BMW are investing in the research and development of solid-state
electrolytes, and it is expected that solid-state batteries will play a
significant role in the future of energy storage.
Another significant development is the increasing focus on
sustainability in the battery electrolyte market. As the demand for batteries
continues to grow, there is a growing concern over the environmental impact of
battery production and disposal. To address this concern, various initiatives
have been launched to improve the sustainability of the battery industry. For
instance, the European Union has introduced regulations to promote the
sustainable production and recycling of batteries, while companies such as
Tesla and Volkswagen have announced plans to build their own recycling
Additionally, the battery electrolyte market has seen
advancements in recycling technologies. Recycling of battery materials is
essential to minimize the environmental impact of battery production and
disposal. Companies such as Umicore and BASF are investing in recycling
technologies to recover valuable materials from spent batteries.
battery electrolyte Market
The opportunity for growth in the lithium battery
electrolyte market lies in the increasing research and development activities
being carried out by various institutes and leading companies. These efforts
aim to improve the characteristics of electrolytes to make them more
cost-competitive and increase battery capacity. Specifically, research is being
conducted on new forms of electrolytes, such as solid electrolytes, to enhance
overall battery efficiency. The resulting advancements will lead to an increase
in demand for lithium-ion batteries and subsequently, battery electrolytes.
The market growth in this industry is driven by the growing
demand for smart devices, consumer electronics, and electric vehicle batteries,
as well as increased awareness of renewable energy storage. However, the lack
of efficient recycling techniques for battery products and inadequate charging
infrastructure pose challenges to the industry's development. Despite these
challenges, the growing research activities aimed at developing new
electrolytes and the emergence of local electrolyte producers in emerging
nations offer promising market possibilities.
The major challenge faced by the industry is the lack of
government subsidies and incentives for lithium-ion battery manufacturers in
emerging markets. While governments of various countries focus on encouraging
renewable energy, some regions such as Africa have not provided adequate
support for the production of lithium-ion batteries. This lack of government
support hinders the growth of the battery industry and creates a negative
impact on the battery electrolyte market. African countries could play a
crucial role in the lithium-ion battery supply chain, but the lack of
government support is expected to be a significant challenge for the growth of
the battery electrolyte market.
During the forecast period, the lithium-ion battery segment
is projected to be the fastest-growing market, based on the type of battery.
This segment had the highest value in 2021. Lithium-ion batteries have become
increasingly popular due to their ability to provide high energy and power
density in a small volume, high charge/discharge efficiency, and lighter weight
compared to lead-acid batteries. They are used in a wide range of applications,
including electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and energy storage systems.
As a result of the growth in these sectors and the rapid industrialization in
developing countries, the demand for this segment is expected to increase
The largest market segment in terms of value, based on
electrolyte type during the forecast period, is the liquid electrolyte segment.
The liquid electrolyte is a solution of at least one salt dissolved in a
non-aqueous polar solvent, and it is predominantly used in lead-acid batteries.
These batteries are cost-effective and are used in rapidly growing sectors such
as automobiles and energy storage systems. These factors are likely to drive
the market for this segment.
The electric vehicle segment is projected to have the
largest market during the forecast period based on end-use. The market is
driven by the increasing demand for electric vehicles in regions such as North
America and Asia Pacific. Lithium-ion batteries are majorly used in electric
vehicles, e-bikes, and automated guided vehicles, which are the primary
consumers of this technology. The adoption of electric vehicles by consumers is
motivated by factors such as energy efficiency and pollution reduction.
Asia Pacific is the largest market for battery electrolytes
in terms of value, followed by Europe, as of 2021. The region's large
population has resulted in increased demand for energy, prompting various
governments to prioritize minimizing the adverse effects of the energy sector
on the environment. Additionally, the presence of major battery energy storage
system manufacturers such as Samsung SDI Co., Ltd., LG Energy Solutions Co.,
Ltd., and Hitachi Ltd. in the region is driving demand for both lead-acid and
lithium-ion batteries, and consequently, for battery electrolytes.
The battery electrolyte market is categorized by electrolyte
and battery type. The lithium-ion battery segment is expected to grow due to
increased production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs),
driven by initiatives such as the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) to
accelerate the adoption of EVs worldwide. Lithium-ion batteries with liquid
electrolytes contain lithium salts and organic solvents, with sulfuric acid and
sodium hydroxide being some of the commonly used liquid electrolytes for
batteries such as lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and nickel-metal-hydride.
The market for battery electrolytes is expected to grow due
to an increase in the adoption of EVs to reduce carbon footprint, a fast rise
in automotive revenues, elevated demand from the battery replacement market,
and an increased share of alternative energy sources in the energy mix. The
adoption of consumer electronics is also expected to contribute to the market's
growth. However, the high capital cost of EVs compared to conventional fuel
vehicles is a constraint for the lithium-ion battery electrolyte market's
growth. Furthermore, the lack of recycling technology for lithium-ion batteries
is another challenge. The present recycling techniques are not commercially
viable and require subsidies to become profitable.
Lithium-ion batteries were initially developed for the
consumer electronics sector because of their long-lasting charge cycles, high
capacity-to-weight ratio, and high energy density, making them an ideal power
source for consumer electronics applications. As urbanization and consumer
spending continue to rise worldwide, the demand for technically advanced
devices is also expected to increase, driving up the demand for lithium-ion
Lithium-ion batteries have become more popular than other
battery types due to their favorable capacity-to-weight ratio, better performance,
higher energy density, and decreasing price. Although they tend to be more
expensive than other batteries, leading players in the market have been
investing in economies of scale and R&D activities to improve their
performance and lower their prices. Additionally, the data center industry's
increasing demand for Li-ion batteries, thanks to technological advancements
and declining costs, is further supporting their demand during the forecast
period, particularly in developing countries in Asia, where investments in data
center construction are on the rise.
The majority of lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities
are located in the Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe regions. Panasonic
Corporation announced in February 2022 that its Energy Company will establish a
production facility at its Wakayama Factory in western Japan to manufacture
new, large 4680 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
Dominating Companies in battery electrolyte Market
- MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL CORPORATION
- UBE CORPORATION
- GS YUASA INTERNATIONAL LTD.
- GUANGZHOU TINCI MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.
- LG CHEM
- BASF CORPORATION
- AMERICAN ELEMENTS
- TOKYO CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD.
- OHARA INC.
- DAIKIN AMERICA, INC.
- STELLA CHEMIFA CORPORATION
- GUANGDONG JINGUANG HIGH-TECH CO., LTD.
- ZHANGJIAGANG GUOTAI HUARONG NEW CHEMICAL MATERIALS CO., LTD.
- NEI CORPORATION
- MORITA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES CO., LTD.
- NOHMS TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
- SHANSHAN CO., LTD.
- ENCHEM CO., LTD.
- HITACHI, LTD
Recent Developments in battery electrolyte Market
In 2021, battery material supplier Umicore announced the
acquisition of Freeport Cobalt’s cobalt refining and cathode precursor
activities. This acquisition is expected to strengthen Umicore’s position in
the rechargeable battery materials market, including the production of battery
In 2020, battery manufacturer EnerSys completed the
acquisition of N Holding AB, the parent company of NorthStar Group. This
acquisition allowed EnerSys to expand its portfolio of products and services
for the motive power and reserve power markets, including battery electrolyte
In 2019, 3M and Johnson Controls announced a strategic
partnership to develop and supply lithium-ion battery materials, including
electrolytes. This partnership aimed to improve the performance and safety of
lithium-ion batteries used in automotive applications, as well as reducing
Also in 2019, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation announced the
acquisition of German company Enevate Corporation, a developer of advanced
silicon-dominant composite anode material technology for lithium-ion batteries.
This acquisition will allow Mitsubishi Chemical to expand its product portfolio
in the field of battery electrolyte and related materials.
In 2022, battery manufacturer CATL announced a strategic
partnership with Japanese company Taiyo Yuden to jointly develop lithium-ion
battery materials, including electrolytes. The two companies aim to improve the
performance and reliability of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles
and other applications.
Also in 2022, global specialty chemicals company Albemarle
completed its acquisition of Li-Cycle, a Canadian company that specializes in
lithium-ion battery recycling. This acquisition is expected to bolster
Albemarle's position in the lithium-ion battery materials market, including
In 2021, Dutch multinational DSM acquired the electrolyte
business of Solvay, a Belgian chemical company. This acquisition will enable
DSM to expand its offerings in the field of sustainable battery materials, including
In 2020, Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex
Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) acquired the battery materials business of German
chemical company BASF. This acquisition is expected to strengthen CATL's
position in the battery materials market, including electrolytes.
Also in 2020, Swiss chemical company Clariant announced a
joint development agreement with Korean battery materials manufacturer SK
Innovation to develop electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries. The two companies
aim to improve the performance and safety of lithium-ion batteries used in
In conclusion, battery electrolyte is a crucial component of
batteries that enables the flow of electric current and helps maintain the
battery's voltage and specific gravity. Acid electrolytes are the most common
type of electrolyte used in lead-acid batteries, while alkaline electrolytes
are used in nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries. Saltwater
electrolytes are used in some types of experimental batteries. Understanding
the function and types of battery electrolytes is essential for selecting the
right battery for your application and ensuring its optimal performance.