Robert joined Roskill in 2006, focusing initially on the cobalt market, and moved onto analysing the lithium market in 2008, since when he has further strengthened Roskill’s position as the leading source of insight on this nascent market. Robert has worked on reports and consulting projects across other battery raw materials, notably nickel, cobalt, and graphite, as well as technology - enabling metals such as rare earths, scandium, tellurium, and hafnium. Robert has presented widely on various topics concerning mineral and metal supply, end-use developments, and trends.
What products will you be featuring at the show this year?
Roskill’s regular publications on metal and mineral markets highlight the growing impact of automotive electrification, energy storage, and renewable power sources on raw material demand. Roskill has recently published (January 2017) a report on the lithium-ion battery industry and the raw material impact, bringing together its upstream and downstream market analysis across several non-ferrous products: lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, manganese, copper, and aluminium.
Why are you exhibiting and what connections do you hope to make there?
Roskill’s client base for its published reports and consulting services already includes battery manufacturers, battery users, and the raw material supply chain. However, with battery market growth becoming increasingly focussed on automotive and utility applications, The Battery Show presents an ideal opportunity to introduce our products and services to this new marketplace.
Which customer or market demands were the biggest drivers of your company’s growth during the past three years?
Roskill has seen increased interest in its products and services from two directions. From the downstream user (component or battery manufacturer, or battery user), there is an interest in the raw material supply chain and risks from a bottleneck and price perspective. From the upstream producer, there is interest in market growth patterns, product requirements, and areas of opportunity/diversification. Competition for raw materials from new markets versus existing “industrial” users is also drawing attention.
Do you anticipate that those demands will continue to be your biggest growth drivers for the next three years, or are you anticipating new trends?
Roskill expects CO2 and emissions reduction to play a larger role in demand for batteries and their raw materials over the coming years, with energy efficiency and storage transforming the fortunes of several previously overlooked materials, and changing the dynamics of several more which are already household names. In the very short term, impacts on the supply chain will be variable and not down to any one factor, as each market is different. However, upstream development may lag behind downstream because of the timeframe to develop a new mine versus a battery factory or retooling an automotive production line.
What are your areas of R&D focus, and what timeline do you anticipate for bringing your next new products to market? Can you tell us anything about those products?
Currently, Roskill is mapping out the supply chain for battery raw materials, in response to client demand, but we envisage expanding our expertise into market analysis of other battery components. Beyond battery technology, we are also looking at motors/generators given their criticality to electric vehicles, and technology-enabling materials in renewable energy sources and efficiency improving devices. Light-weighting and powder metallurgy could also play a major role in shaping trends in these markets, and we are following these areas closely.
What new trends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving/changing over the next five years?
The battery market will become increasingly dominated by automotive and energy storage over the next few years, and the requirement for higher performance at lower cost is driving changes to raw material requirements. In automotive lithium-ion batteries, high nickel cathodes are becoming favored, while in the anode silicon is starting to creep in with an expectation that its contribution will increase. It is likely that advancement in lithium-ion performance will diminish the need for alternatives such as lithium-sulphur, however longer-term alternative technologies (whether or not lithium-based) are certainly possible. In the energy storage market lithium-ion is gaining on cost/kW, however other battery technologies such as vanadium-redox could play a large role.
What would you say are the key challenges and opportunities currently faced by the industry?
The advanced battery industry is progressing rapidly both from a technological and market perspective, however we consider raw materials to potentially be a drag on high growth rates as reaction and development times are much slower.
Roskill are exhibiting at The Battery Show at booth 1349
View the full exhibitor list here.