The global anode market for batteries was worth US$3.2 billion in 2020 but will grow to US$14.1 billion in 2027, according to analyst firm QY Research.
Silicon anode’s growth will stand out at 76.6% on average per year, accounting for 10.1% of all battery anodes in 2027, beating natural graphite’s 10%, according to the analyst firm’s estimate.
Current anodes in batteries are either use natural graphite or synthetic graphite. In 2020, synthetic graphite accounted for 76.3% of anodes in batteries, while natural graphite accounted for 19.4% and silicon anode only 1.2%.
Small batteries used mostly natural graphite but large batteries used in electric vehicles use synthetic graphite more and more.
Silicon anodes add silicon to graphite. Synthetic graphite is made out of cal tar. Adding silicon to graphite can increase the energy density of batteries by up to 3 times.
China’s Putailai is the world’s largest anode maker in terms of revenue. Other four companies in the top five include Japan’s Showa Denko, China’s BTR, China’s Shanshan and South Korea’s Posco Chemical.
These five companies combined control 63.6% shares. Only three companies manufacture silicon anode, however: China’s BTR, Japan’s Shin-Etsu and South Korea’s Daejoo.
QY Research however said more companies are expected to begin production of silicon anode in the next two to three years, including Putailai and Shanshan.
South Korea’s Hansol Chemical is planning to build silicon anode production facilities by the end of next year by spending around 85 billion won. It has been receiving technology for this from Samsung SDI.
SK Materials has formed a joint venture with silicon anode firm Group 14 and is planning to start production in 2022.
However, QY Research noted that silicon anode will require overcoming some challenges such as applying carbon nanotube, preventing expansion and shortening of life span.