Brazil is emerging as a key player in the automotive sector, with a growing market for electric vehicles (EVs). The country ranked sixth in terms of vehicles sold in 2022 and has witnessed a 58% increase in EV sales in the first semester of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
EVs primarily rely on lithium-ion batteries, which have become crucial components in the industry due to their high energy density. In fact, the demand for lithium, often referred to as “white gold,” has skyrocketed alongside the growth of the EV market.
The value chain of lithium involves extraction, processing, manufacturing, use, and collection and recycling. Innovations in the development of lithium batteries are primarily focused on the processing, manufacturing, and use steps. These innovations aim to improve battery charge capacity, fast charging capabilities, and longer lifespan to facilitate the widespread adoption of EVs.
A patent analysis conducted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reveals that there has been a surge in patent applications related to lithium batteries. Since 2017, over 10,000 international patent families for lithium batteries have been filed annually, totaling more than 177,000 by August 2023. Remarkably, over 13,400 patent families have a Brazilian counterpart. The majority of patents in this field are classified under H01M, which refers to technologies that convert chemical energy into electrical energy.
Brazil has been actively contributing to innovation in the lithium value chain. For instance, a partnership between TUPY S.A., a multinational company, and the University of São Paulo (USP) aims to develop recycling technologies for lithium batteries. Additionally, Brazilian company Sigma Lithium has achieved a significant milestone by producing and exporting the first batch of “green lithium.” This lithium is extracted in a way that adheres to the triple zero standard, ensuring it is free of carbon emissions, waste, and harmful chemicals.
Brazil is also one of the top five lithium producers globally and has the potential to export 130,000 tons of “green lithium” by the end of the year. The government has launched the Lithium Valley Brazil project, aimed at transforming the Jequitinhonha Valley into a technology hub for battery production and other value-added products. Furthermore, Chinese company BYD has recently opened its first battery factory in Brazil, indicating the country’s growing significance in the EV battery market.
Overall, the lithium value chain in Brazil is witnessing continuous innovation across all steps. The country’s focus on sustainable lithium extraction and maximizing the use of the metal through recycling reflects its commitment to responsible resource utilization and environmental preservation.
– Motor1: [Link]
– World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Patentscope website: [Link]
– Automotive Business: [Link]
– World Economic Forum: [Link]