Global Lithium Hydroxide Market: Overview
Lithium hydroxide (LiOH) is an inorganic compound and is a white hygroscopic crystalline material. It is slightly soluble in ethanol and completely soluble in water. LiOH is commercially available in the monohydrate form and the anhydrous form. Both these forms are strong bases; however, LiOH is one of the weak bases out of the alkali metal hydroxides. Along with lithium carbonate, LiOH act as an effective precursor to lithium salts.
Global Lithium Hydroxide Market: Key Segments
Based on purity, the lithium hydroxide market can be segmented into standard-grade, battery-grade, and superior-grade. Standard-grade Lithium hydroxide is primarily recommended for use in industrial applications. It has low mineral impurities. However, it has low water solubility. Battery-grade LiOH has purity higher than 99%. It is utilized as a Li-ion battery precursor and also, in specialty applications. It has low water solubility as well as HCl solubility. Superior-grade LiOH contains very low i.e. less than 0.3% of mineral impurities.
Based on application, the lithium hydroxide market can be divided into lubricants & greases, battery & energy storage, precursor compounds, air purification, ceramics, and others. LiOH is used in the production of lithium salts of stearic and other fatty acids, which are then employed as thickeners in lubricating greases. An example of lithium grease thickener is lithium 12-hydroxystearate, which is used to produce general-purpose grease. A thickener has properties such as efficiency at a wide range of temperatures and high resistance to water to lithium grease. Lithium grease is primarily consumed in industries such as automotive and aviation.
Global Lithium Hydroxide Market: Drivers & Restrains
Lithium hydroxide is also used as an absorbent of carbon dioxide in breathing gas purification systems. These systems are employed in submarines, space crafts, etc. Lithium hydroxide removes carbon dioxide exhaled by individuals by converting it into lithium carbonate and water. For application of respirator systems in space crafts, the anhydrous form of LiOH is preferred, due to its lower mass and lower production of water. Lithium hydroxide is employed as a storage-battery electrolyte and a heat transfer medium. Lithium hydroxide is also used in ceramics and certain Portland cement formulations. For corrosion control in pressurized water reactors, LiOH that is isotopically enhanced with lithium-7 is employed in order to alkalize the reactor coolant.
Lithium batteries & energy storage is a major application segment of the lithium hydroxide market. The increasing demand for energy resources and regulatory push toward non-renewable energy resources such as alternative clean fuels, focus on increased fuel efficiency, and carbon emission standards are likely to generate a favorable environment for the market for lithium-ion batteries. Decrease in the cost of lithium-ion batteries is likely to generate a positive outlook for the lithium-ion batteries industry during the forecast period. The development of lithium-ion battery materials that would enable batteries to withstand elevated temperatures would increase the safety and reliability of the product. This would, in turn, provide lucrative growth opportunities to the lithium hydroxide market during the forecast period.
Continuous government support and favorable policies are boosting the demand for lithium-ion batteries. The critical emission standards set by governments are attracting investments in the clean fuel technology in several regions. China is a major lithium hydroxide market. The government of China is aggressively implementing the installation of charging infrastructure for EVs across the country. This is augmenting the adoption of lithium-ion batteries in China. Rapid adoption of lithium-ion batteries in the country is expected to act as a major driver for the lithium hydroxide market in China during the forecast period.
Global Lithium Hydroxide Market: Regional Outlook
Based on geography, the global lithium hydroxide market can be divided into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. The penetration of Lithium hydroxide is high in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific compared to the rest of the world. Cumulatively, these three regions held nearly 75% share of the global lithium hydroxide market in 2017. The lithium hydroxide market in Asia Pacific and Europe is anticipated to expand significantly in the next few years, primarily due to demand for lithium hydroxide in the battery & energy storage application segment.
Global Lithium Hydroxide Market: Key Players
Some of the key players operating in the global lithium hydroxide market are HELM AG, Chemical Metallurgical Plant (JSC «CMP»), Targray, FMC Lithium (FMC Corporation), Sichuan Brivo Lithium Materials Co. Ltd., PJSC "NCCP", and The Lubrizol Corporation.
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