Global Competition in the Lithium-Ion Battery Supply Chain: A Novel Perspective for Criticality Analysis

Environ Sci Technol. 2021 Sep 21;55(18):12180-12190. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.1c03376. Epub 2021 Sep 9.


With the accelerated pace of energy transition, competition in the lithium-ion battery (LIB) supply chain is intensifying across a wide scope of countries. In order to understand the potential risk derived from the competitors, this study quantifies the global competition intensities of 15 categories of LIB-related commodities, which has not been well characterized by previous criticality analysis studies. On the basis of the collected data and designed treatment techniques, the "competition index" is developed for this purpose. Here, we show that lithium hydroxides, LIBs, and lithium carbonates were the focal points of global competition in the LIB supply chain in 2019, and there will be more competition for lithium hydroxide in the future. The competition for commodities related to LIBs among Korea, Japan, and the USA are the most notable. Such insights into the global conflict potential of LIB-related commodities provide a reference for underlying competitors and corresponding transition strategies of regional industrial structures. The index developed by us complements the criticality analysis framework, which could be expanded to assess the criticality of materials relevant with other industries.

Keywords: Competition for supply; Criticality analysis; Global supply chain; Lithium-ion battery; Supply risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electric Power Supplies*
  • Electrodes
  • Industry
  • Ions
  • Lithium*


  • Ions
  • Lithium