Lithium is a chemical element used during the 19th century to treat gout. It can be derived from two major sources that are slat lake brines and then manufactured via several processes to form its derivatives. Highly reactive lithium derivatives are categorized into lithium concentrated, lithium metal, lithium carbonate, lithium chloride, lithium hydroxide, butyl lithium, and others. The peculiar characteristic of lithium is that its high energy storage capacity makes it suitable for use in a variety of applications. Lithium carbonate is used in batteries, frits for the ceramic and enamel industries, air conditioning chemicals, pharmaceuticals, heat resistant glass and many others. Lithium orotate and lithium citrate are better mood stabilizers.
Lithium and its derivatives have tremendous application in healthcare and medicine. They are also utilized in greases & lubricants and many portable electronic devices. Other than energy storage, lithium also displays properties such as high coefficient of thermal expansion, viscosity glass modifiers in the glass melts and elevated electrochemical potential over other catalytic metal.
Market influencing factors
The rising demand for lithium has been increasing successively owing to newly evolved battery storage applications including grid storage as well as electrical & hybrid vehicles. The emergence of the electric vehicle running on lithium batteries, increased use of portable devices coupled with convenience, inclining focus of government bodies as well as consumers towards environmental concerns further boosts the growth of the market. Besides, being cost-effective, eco-friendly and safe for different product manufacturing such as tyres, tubes, rubbers, alloys, polymers and aluminum smelting again drives the lithium derivatives market. Swift growth of the all end-user segments, rapid industrialization, and easily available cheap labor are the factors stimulating market growth.
However, lack of recharging infrastructure in most of the region and requirement of the huge initial cost investment are the factors that might hinder the growth of the market. In addition, dearth of lithium expertise manpower with full-fledged knowledge for lithium, extraction activities resulted in collapsing number of lithium start-ups by having a terrible impact on growth of the market. Developing applications within the energy sector and emerging market in various nations offer higher opportunities to market players to have a strong foothold within the market presence of lithium in politically sensitive geographies and product safety issues are the two major concerns faced by market players.
Global lithium derivatives market is mainly segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, the Middle East & Africa. Increasing lithium mining activities, the existence of leading vendors such as Albemarle Corporation and FMC Corporation and triggering demand for lithium derivatives strikes the market growth in North America. Glass and ceramic industries has always been the biggest consumer of lithium in European countries propelling the market.
Additionally, constant efforts put forth by car manufacturers to launch the car models integrated with lithium-ion battery technology as well as emerging trend for electrical vehicle stimulated the growth. Asia-Pacific is the attractive region in terms of lithium derivative market expansion, owing to the presence of small-scale lithium derivative producers, extensive R&D for an electrical vehicle, blooming automotive industry, and rise in demand for portable electronic devices. In Latin America, Argentina is exhibiting progressive growth due to increased mining projects.
The expansion is the primary strategy adopted by prominent players in the market, followed by acquisition. Prominent key players in the market are constantly emphasizing on innovating applications to maintain their position in the market.
For instance, Standard Lithium Canada based company signed MoU with LANXESS, a global specialty chemical company on 9th May 2018. The purpose of this agreement is the development of commercially viable extraction of lithium from operational smack over brine resource.
Standard Lithium also has entered into license, exploration, and option agreement, under which the company acquires all rights to engage lithium brine exploration activities on properties located in Bristol dry lake and Cadiz dry lake.
Global Lithium derivatives Market Segmentation
• By Derivative Type
- Lithium Carbonate
- Lithium Hydroxide
- Lithium Metal
- Lithium Concentrate
- Lithium Carbonate
- Lithium Chloride and Others
• By Application
- Li-Ion Batteries
- Glass & Ceramics
- Lubricants & Greases
• By Geography