Battery Megafactory Forecast
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
When ground broke on the massive Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada in 2014, the world marveled at the project’s audacity, size, and scope.
At the time, it was touted that the cutting-edge facility would be the largest building in the world by footprint, and that the Gigafactory would single-handedly be capable of doubling the world’s lithium-ion battery production capacity.
What many did not realize, however, is that although as ambitious and as forward-looking as the project sounded, the Gigafactory was just the start of a trend towards scale in the battery making space. While Tesla’s facility was the most publicized, it would ultimately be one of many massive factories in the global pipeline.
Today’s data comes to us from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, and it forecasts that we will see a 399% increase in lithium-ion battery production capacity over the next decade – enough to pass the impressive 1 TWh milestone.
Here is a more detailed projection of how things will shape up in the coming decade:
|Region||Capacity (GWh, 2018)||Capacity (GWh, 2023)||Capacity (GWh, 2028)|
|Asia (excl China)||45.5||78.5||111.5|
In just a decade, lithium-ion battery megafactories around the world will have a combined production capacity equivalent to 22 Tesla Gigafactories!
The majority of this capacity will be located in China, which is projected to have 57% of the global total.
The Top Plants Globally
According to Benchmark, the top 10 megafactories will be combining for 299 GWh of capacity in 2023, which will be equal to almost half of the global production total.
Here are the top 10 plants, sorted by projected capacity:
|Rank||Megafactory||Owner||Country||Forecasted capacity by 2023 (GWh)|
|#1||CATL||Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd||China||50|
|#2||Tesla Gigafactory 1||Tesla Inc / Panasonic Corp (25%)||US||50|
|#3||Nanjing LG Chem New Energy Battery Co., Ltd.||LG Chem||China||35|
|#4||Nanjing LG Chem New Energy Battery Co., Ltd. Plant 2||LG Chem||China||28|
|#5||Samsung SDI Xian||Samsung SDI||China||25|
|#6||Funeng Technology||Funeng Technology (Ganzhou)||China||25|
|#7||BYD , Qinghai||BYD Co Ltd||China||24|
|#8||LG Chem Wroclaw Energy Sp. z o.o.||LG Chem||Poland||22|
|#9||Samsung SDI Korea||Samsung SDI||Korea||20|
|#10||Lishen||TianJin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock CO.,LTD||China||20|
Of the top 10 megafactory plants in 2023, the majority will be located in China – meanwhile, the U.S. (Tesla Gigafactory), South Korea (Samsung), and Poland (LG Chem) will be home to the rest.
Reaching economies of scale in lithium-ion battery production will be a significant step in decreasing the overall cost of electric vehicles, which are expected to surpass traditional vehicles in market share by 2038.
Visualizing Nuclear Power Production by Country
Nuclear power accounted for 10% of global electricity generated in 2020. Here’s a look at the largest nuclear power producers.
Nuclear Power Production by Country
Nearly 450 reactors around the world supply various nations with nuclear power, combining for about 10% of the world’s electricity, or about 4% of the global energy mix.
But while some countries are turning to nuclear as a clean energy source, nuclear energy generation overall has seen a slowdown since its peak in the 1990s.
The above infographic breaks down nuclear electricity generation by country in 2020 using data from the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
Ranked: The Top 15 Countries for Nuclear Power
Just 15 countries account for more than 91% of global nuclear power production. Here’s how much energy these countries produced in 2020:
|Rank||Country||Number of Operating Reactors||Nuclear Electricity Supplied|
|#5||South Korea 🇰🇷||24||152,583||6.0%|
|Rest of the World 🌎||44||207,340||8.1%|
In the U.S., nuclear power produces over 50% of the country’s clean electricity. Additionally, 88 of the country’s 96 operating reactors in 2020 received approvals for a 20-year life extension.
China, the world’s second-largest nuclear power producer, is investing further in nuclear energy in a bid to achieve its climate goals. The plan, which includes building 150 new reactors by 2035, could cost as much as $440 billion.
On the other hand, European opinions on nuclear energy are mixed. Germany is the eighth-largest on the list but plans to shutter its last operating reactor in 2022 as part of its nuclear phase-out. France, meanwhile, plans to expand its nuclear capacity.
Which Countries Rely Most on Nuclear Energy?
Although total electricity generation is useful for a high-level global comparison, it’s important to remember that there are some smaller countries not featured above where nuclear is still an important part of the electricity mix.
Here’s a breakdown based on the share of nuclear energy in a country’s electricity mix:
|Rank||Country||Nuclear Share of Electricity Mix|
|#13||South Korea 🇰🇷||29.6%|
|#17||United States 🇺🇸||19.7%|
|#19||United Kingdom 🇬🇧||14.5%|
European countries dominate the leaderboard with 14 of the top 15 spots, including France, where nuclear power is the country’s largest source of electricity.
It’s interesting to note that only a few of these countries are top producers of nuclear in absolute terms. For example, in Slovakia, nuclear makes up 53.6% of the electricity mix—however, the country’s four reactors make up less than 1% of total global operating capacity.
On the flipside, the U.S. ranks 17th by share of nuclear power in its mix, despite producing 31% of global nuclear electricity in 2020. This discrepancy is largely due to size and population. European countries are much smaller and produce less electricity overall than larger countries like the U.S. and China.
The Future of Nuclear Power
The nuclear power landscape is constantly changing.
There were over 50 additional nuclear reactors under construction in 2020, and hundreds more are planned primarily in Asia.
As countries turn away from fossil fuels and embrace carbon-free energy sources, nuclear energy might see a resurgence in the global energy mix despite the phase-outs planned in several countries around he globe.
How Energy Prices Performed in 2021
Energy commodities surged in 2021 as demand picked up and supply remained constricted, but which fuels flew highest?
How Energy Prices Performed in 2021
A year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world started to reopen and generate insatiable energy demand. Supply shortages and the clean energy transition further fueled the rise of all energy commodities.
Even in a year where markets and commodities performed strongly, energy prices stood out. The energy component of the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) rose by 59% in 2021, returning more than double any other component in the index.
How Much Did Energy Prices Climb in 2021?
After dipping into negative prices in April of 2020, WTI crude oil had a strong bounce back.
Many of crude oil’s derivative products also increased in price by double digits, resulting in higher gas prices at the pump. The U.S. average retail price for gasoline increased by 45.8% to close at $3.28/gal, while wholesale prices of RBOB gasoline also climbed by 57.8%.
|WTI Crude Oil||56.4%|
|Brent Crude Oil||50.7%|
Natural gas prices in Europe and the UK saw the biggest price increases in 2021, jumping more than 200%.
They were followed by ethanol, a biofuel that oil refiners are required to blend with their products. This requirement, along with the price rises in corn and sugar (ethanol’s primary raw materials around the world), made this hot commodity even more expensive.
Rising Natural Gas Prices Fuel Tension and Unrest
While the U.S. saw increases in its gasoline prices as well, these were mild compared to surges in Europe and elsewhere.
With close to 43% of Europe’s total gas imports coming from Russia, no additional supply was provided during the cold winter months. This was compounded as Germany’s approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has remained in limbo.
So far, 2022 has been a continuation of these trends. For example, liquified petroleum gas (LPG) prices have nearly doubled due to unrest in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan government’s decision to lift price controls on LPG (the primary fuel for Kazakh cars) saw prices surge and led to days of protests and Russian intervention.
Coal Stays Strong Despite the Clean Energy Transition
Despite 2021’s emphasis on the clean energy transition, coal prices nearly doubled as the world was unable to shake off its dependence on the fossil fuel.
Even pledges from the COP26 climate change conference, such as China’s to reduce coal consumption after 2025, are not yet having an impact on prices. That’s because the country is still planning to add up to 150 gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity before then.
On the other hand, uranium couldn’t keep up with the price rises of fossil fuels. Although the energy metal had a breakout year as one of the recently renewed hopes for cleaner energy, the outlook for nuclear energy adoption and development is still mixed.
After the surge of energy prices in 2021, nations will need to carefully manage their clean energy transitions to avoid further unsustainable price rises.
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