China already has 10 GWh of capacity for solid-state batteries, with more than 128 GWh planned for medium-term capacity, CITIC Securities said.

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Solid-state batteries are seen as the next-generation battery technology, and a team of analysts shared their projected planned capacity as well as application roadmap.

China already has 10 GWh of capacity for solid-state batteries, with more than 128 GWh of capacity planned for the medium term -- around 2025, CITIC Securities analyst Liu Yi's team said in a research note today, noting that this is an incomplete count.

Solid-state lithium batteries are expected to address the three main challenges facing liquid lithium-ion batteries: energy density close to the theoretical upper limit, limited battery lifespan, and safety issues, according to the team.

The team believes that solid-state batteries are expected to be used gradually in high-end applications first, and will be used in more areas as costs come down.

Solid-state batteries will be first used in 2023-2024 in areas with lower price sensitivity and higher safety performance requirements, such as aerospace, medical, and some high-end new energy vehicle (NEV) models, according to the team.

After 2025, such batteries will begin to be applied in fields including energy storage, drones, and consumer electronics.

After 2027, as costs fall, solid-state batteries will begin to be applied on a large scale in areas including NEVs and energy storage, according to CITIC Securities.

The team predicts that by 2025 and 2030 the overall global penetration rate of solid-state batteries will be about 1.7 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, and shipments will reach 38 GWh and 509 GWh, respectively.

Solid-state batteries have advantages including stronger safety and higher energy density, which are in line with the future development direction of high-capacity secondary batteries, the team said.

Semi-solid-state batteries, as a transitional route, are already on the eve of mass production, the team noted.

The electrolyte of the semi-solid-state battery adopts a solid-liquid hybrid form, which has a high degree of overlap with the existing lithium-ion battery supply chain, according to the team.

Semi-solid-state lithium batteries will be industrialized much earlier and are expected to start being loaded in large volume in 2024, according to plans already announced by manufacturers, the team said.

Solid-state batteries still have a number of technical issues to be resolved, and cost reduction is the key to their mass adoption.

According to CITIC Securities, the current total cost of oxide semi-solid batteries and sulfide semi-solid batteries is about RMB 0.76 yuan ($0.106) per Wh and 0.86 yuan per Wh, respectively, significantly higher than that of liquid lithium-ion batteries.

To see sustained cost reductions requires R&D investment and scale effects, the team noted.

Separately, Ouyang Minggao, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a professor at Tsinghua University, told a solid-state battery forum on January 22 that China needs to develop transitional technology routes such as semi-solid-state batteries, while at the same time avoiding the disruptive risks posed by radical all-solid-state battery technology routes.

Ouyang argued that 1 percent is an important market share threshold for automotive technology.

In the process of replacing liquid batteries, an all-solid-state battery share of 1 percent would represent a breakthrough, not 50 percent, he said.

Liquid batteries have a life cycle of at least another 20 years, and it will take at least 20-30 years for solid-state batteries to reach 50 percent market share, Ouyang said.

($1 = RMB 7.1698)

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