Session Details

Specialty Carbonates

Tuesday, 21 March

4:05 pm - 4:25 pm (CST) / 21/mar/2023 09:05 pm - 21/mar/2023 09:25 pm
Changes in the automotive power train industry with the development of electric vehicles and hybrid forms is driving the need for electrolyte solutions for lithium ion batteries. This is a fast growing market, well ahead of average GDP. In battery manufacturing, the cost of the electrolyte system comprised of specialty carbonate solvents and lithium salts like lithium hexafluorophosphate constitutes around 6-8 percent of battery raw material cost. Different battery types will need different solvent combinations of ethylene carbonate (EC), propylene carbonate (PC), dimethyl carbonate (DMC), diethyl carbonate (DEC), and ethylmethyl carbonate (EMC). There are some other specialty carbonates in the wider product family like glycerin carbonate (GC). Specialty carbonates have wider uses than just battery electrolytes. DMC, for example is used to make diphenyl carbonate, a comonomer in the production of polycarbonate engineering resins via the melt process. EC and PC are manufactured from the reaction of carbon dioxide with high purity ethylene oxide (HPEO) and propylene oxide (PO) respectively. EC and PAC are feedstocks for DMC, likewise DMC for DEC and EMC. Thus an integrated complex can be developed to provide the range of carbonates needed for electrolyte formulation. Much of the industry is centred on China today, although companies are seeking to invest in developing economies to improve self-sufficiency in battery materials. Some companies with access to HPEO and PO are looking to invest the full range of specialty carbonates as well as providing a means of CO2 capture and re-use. Some companies are also looking to fully integrate downstream into battery chemicals, batteries and even as far as electric vehicles and retail forecourts with EV charging stations. There is scope for significant new investment outside China in this value chain.
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