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News Trends: Supply Chain Security & Manufacturing Expansions Define a Tumultuous Year in Energy Storage

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate
May 20, 2021

Just over a year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a global pandemic. At the time, there was a great deal of uncertainty about how COVID-19 would impact the energy industry. Almost 12 months later, we witnessed a 20% drop in oil demand, a 5% reduction in electricity consumption, and the largest year-over-year reduction in global CO2 emissions. However, through it all, the energy transition continued to move forward at an accelerated rate.

Using our news commentary feature, we have been tracking key developments in the energy industry over the first year of the global pandemic, covering nearly 650 individual developments across more than 10 of our major topic areas. These innovation-related events range from partnerships and investments to recent R&D and policies. Each news commentary includes information about the companies involved and our take on the development.

The news trends analysis is one of the main factors shaping the Lux Energy Team's outlook for 2021 and beyond. Many of the transformational developments that occurred directly influenced the Energy Program's four key themes – Evolution of Electricity Networks, Decarbonization of Industry, The Business of the Energy Transition, and Future Energy for Mobility – and shaped our 2021 predictions. In the below figure, we analyze the activity over the past 12 months within one of our main topics, energy storage.

News Trends Supply Chain Security & Manufacturing Expansions Define a Tumultuous Year in Energy Storage

As we enter the second year of the global pandemic, we take a look back at the "Truly Disruptive" and "Very Important" developments over the past 12 months. We have also selected the most read and discussed innovation-related events.

Application – mobility:

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Application – STATIONARY:

CELL INNOVATIONS:

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CELL MANUFACTURING:

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Energy storage innovation interest remains at a critical high, and 2020 marked a turning point in demand. Electric vehicle sales spiked, and automakers are now rolling out dedicated platforms to build many electric vehicles, foreshadowing supply chain challenges that will shape the industry over the next decade.

The chemistry roadmap is mostly set – a combination of iron-based and nickel-based cathodes in the near term, with a shift to silicon anodes and solid-state electrolytes in the longer-term roadmap – but new demands related to battery safety and recycling create new innovation opportunities.

In stationary storage, larger projects will be announced more frequently as the nascent space grows rapidly. While Li-ion is the dominant chemistry today, opportunities in long-duration storage will benefit from Li-ion supply chain concerns, creating opportunities for Zn-air, flow batteries, and other alternatives.

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