Part of the Stock Digest group of websites: Visit Tech Stock Digest  

Inside Albemarle's quest to reinvent the lithium market

(Reuters) - As global demand for lithium hits overdrive, Albemarle Corp is investing millions of dollars to engineer specialized types of the light metal for electric car batteries, part of a strategy to remain the niche market’s top producer.

The pivot comes as battery makers such as Panasonic Corp, the sole battery supplier to Tesla Inc, increasingly demand more purified versions of lithium that can help boost electricity storage and increase a battery’s charge, shaping Albemarle’s strategy, according to sources and documents reviewed by Reuters and confirmed by the company.

Once used primarily as a pharmacological treatment for bipolar disorder, lithium has become one of the world’s most in-demand commodities thanks to the rising popularity of electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Roughly 500,000 electric vehicles were sold globally in 2016, a figure that is expected to jump sevenfold by 2022, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Albemarle’s strategy, which includes developing a battery research center near its North Carolina headquarters, is aimed at setting it apart from its major competitors, including Chile’s SQM and China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp.

Albemarle has historically sold basic types of lithium under short-term contracts, much like rivals. Now, the company is diverging from rivals and developing dozens of lithium products that can help boost electricity storage and increase a battery’s charge.

The pivot comes as battery makers such as Panasonic Corp, the sole battery supplier to Tesla Inc, increasingly demand more purified versions of lithium that can help boost electricity storage and increase a battery’s charge, shaping Albemarle’s strategy, according to sources and documents reviewed by Reuters and confirmed by the company.

Once used primarily as a pharmacological treatment for bipolar disorder, lithium has become one of the world’s most in-demand commodities thanks to the rising popularity of electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Roughly 500,000 electric vehicles were sold globally in 2016, a figure that is expected to jump sevenfold by 2022, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Albemarle’s strategy, which includes developing a battery research center near its North Carolina headquarters, is aimed at setting it apart from its major competitors, including Chile’s SQM and China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp.

Albemarle has historically sold basic types of lithium under short-term contracts, much like rivals. Now, the company is diverging from rivals and developing dozens of lithium products that can help boost electricity storage and increase a battery’s charge.

Click here to continue reading...

Subscribe to the RSD email list and get the latest resource stock activity directly to your inbox, for free.

MARKET SUMMARY

INDICES

Name Last Change
DOW 25413.20 0.49%
S&P 500 2736.27 0.22%
NASDAQ 7247.87 0.15%
TSX 15155.50 0.07%
TSX-V 624.51 0.00%

Resource Commodities

Name Last Change
Gold 1221.51 0.67%
Silver 14.41 0.90%
Copper 2.80 0.050
Platinum 846.50 0.000
Oil 56.46
Natural Gas 4.27 5.48%
Uranium 29.18 0.00%
Zinc 1.20 0.00%

@RSDigest ON TWITTER

Part of the Stock Digest family of websites
Small Cap Stock Digest