The Nickel Sulphide market
Nickel sulphide is a specialty chemical product, mostly used in battery and plating industries. It is also widely consumed in other applications, such as catalysts and ceramics.
Driven by the steady growth from plating and the use of NiMH batteries in hybrid vehicles, consumption of nickel sulphide grew moderately before 2013, at a CAGR of 4%. Since 2014, the rate of growth has remarkedly increased to over 20% per year, with much of the growth of demand coming from Li-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs), which has now become the primary use of nickel sulphide. Nickel is a crucial element to Li-ion batteries which powers the electric revolution. It helps deliver higher energy density in batteries and in turn, a longer driving range for EVs at a relatively low unit cost.
Despite headwinds from COVID-19, the global EV industry has surprisingly showed a double-digit y-o-y growth in 2020, largely underpinned by strong rebound in China and Europe. In the years ahead, supportive policy environment will further drive the EV growth globally as transportation is a key area for countries worldwide to fulfil emission targets. Not only driven by the EV uptake, but also by the trend towards nickel-rich battery formulations, Roskill expects nickel sulphate to become the key growth area for nickel in the coming years as the rapidly growing battery sector would develop into the second-largest application for nickel after stainless steel by 2030.