Demand for manganese in batteries is set to grow over eight-fold this decade, due to new battery chemistries and rising electric vehicle sales, according to Benchmark’s Manganese Sulphate Market Outlook.
Manganese is a crucial element in nickel cobalt manganese (NMC) cathodes and can be used to improve the range of electric vehicles at a relatively low cost. New battery chemistries are expected to use even more manganese.
Automotive companies are increasingly turning to manganese-intensive forms of battery chemistry due to lower cost structures and improved performance.
General Motors has invested in Element25 (earlier post), which is building a manganese refinery in Louisiana, and this month also backed Mitra Chem, a Silicon Valley company which is developing lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) cathodes (earlier post).
Chinese cathode companies are also expanding production of LMFP cathodes where manganese’s properties can improve performance at a lower-cost.
Next-generation lithium manganese nickel oxide (LMNO) battery chemistries are also soon to be commercialized; Benchmark forecasts a 6% share by 2030.
However, the supply chain for high-purity manganese sulfate (HPMSM) production is dominated by China, which currently accounts for 96% of global supply.
Understanding the chemical complexity of more mature commodity markets is essential as OEMs seek to manage supply chain risks and scale for emerging EV demand. Manganese sulfate is an increasingly strategic input which helps to improve battery safety and lower the cost of cathode chemistries—understanding how manganese refining capacity will scale is at the heart of the lithium-ion economy and its longer-term technological evolution.—Maximilian Court, product director at Benchmark
Manganese’s elemental properties, its lower-cost application in batteries, and its concentration in China is why western OEMs, governments and businesses need to address upcoming market deficits; and it’s important that they engage with that future story now.—Jess Roberts, Benchmark’s Head of Forecasting