PVDF demand to increase chlor-alkali consumption

The demand growth of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) is dependent on lithium-ion batteries for battery-operated electric vehicle (EV) demand and stationery electrical storage. Argus forecasts global lithium-ion battery demand in EVs to reach 3.8GWh by 2034 from 0.7GWh in 2023. EV sales are expected to rise at an average growth rate of 10pc in the next 10 years reaching more than 46mn units.

Global caustic soda demand into battery materials for leading regions is shown in the figure. Argus’s latest caustic soda analytics forecast explains an exponential rise in caustic soda consumption for battery material processing. Global caustic soda consumption in the processing of lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate, cathode materials and recycled black mass was at 1.5mn dmt in 2023 and is expected to reach 3mn dmt in 2033 at a CAGR of 10pc in the first five years.

Global Caustic Demand

The relationship between chlor-alkali products and battery materials is gaining focus in the market. With increasing Lithium-based battery capacity globally, demand for associated battery materials is expected to rise. Among the other components of the Li-ion battery stack, PVDF plays an important role as a binder and separator coating, optimizing energy storage efficiency and reducing battery weight in EVs. 

PVDF utilizes caustic soda and chlorine in its production at different stages. Primary feedstock includes vinylidene chloride or vinylidene fluoride, which are derivatives of caustic soda and chlorine.

Some significant developments in PVDF capacity are taking place in North America and Northeast Asia. Belgian chemical company Solvay entered into a joint venture with Mexico-based PVC producer Orbia to build the largest production facility of battery-grade suspension PVDF in North America with a capacity of 20,000 t/yr. Commercial production is expected to start in 2026 and the expected caustic soda and chlorine demand can be 8,000 t/yr and 12,000 t/yr respectively. 

Solvay has doubled its capacity in Changshu, China in the past five years and raised its capacity in France by 35pc reaching 35,000 t/yr making it the largest production site in Europe. Another major producer French chemical company Arkema increased production capacity by 50pc last year at its Changshu site in China.

Japan-based producer Kureha is undergoing expansion at its Iwaki site in Japan, having a production capacity of 6,500 t/yr. The expansion is in two phases, first is a new capacity of 8,000 t/yr and another 2,000 t/yr in the second phase by debottlenecking resulting in a total capacity of 20,000 t/yr by 2026.

This article was created using data and insight from Argus Caustic Soda Analytics and Argus Battery Materials.

 

 

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