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ITA: Tin in Li-ion batteries could represent significant new use

The International Tin Association (ITA) released a new report detailing its latest research on potential new market opportunities for tin in lithium-ion batteries. ITA concluded that if tin does gain market share, lithium-ion batteries could grow to represent a significant new tin use in the 2025-2030 timescale—up to 60,000 tonnes per year by 2030.

ITA tracks global R&D, patents and markets for tin and has identified a strongly growing interest in tin in energy materials and technologies, including lithium-ion batteries. Tin has a wide range of technical properties that mean its uses extend to many areas of everyday life. For the same reason, it can adapt well to meet emerging needs for new materials that can generate, store and deliver tomorrow’s energy.

ITA identified nine technology opportunities for tin in lithium-ion batteries, mainly in high-capacity anode electrode materials, but also in solid-state and cathode materials.

The report details the technical specifications and performance data for each one, highlighting tin’s advantages over its competitors, notably particularly its synergies with a new generation of silicon anodes.

At the same time, the work reviews the current state of development in lithium-ion batteries generally, including the latest market data for applications in electric vehicles and energy storage. Key players in the market are identified and future technology directions highlighted.

ITA modeled the potential tin use in each of the technology opportunities and markets to indicate tentatively and conservatively the potential scale of future tin use.

Three anode materials technologies are highlighted that could each reach 10-20,000 tpa by 2030 if they gain market share in a highly competitive market.

This could at least double by 2050, especially if its use alongside silicon becomes established, although there are very high uncertainties in all long-term forecasts for lithium-ion battery markets.

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