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Samsung Panasonic and Tesla with cobalt-free batteries

Lithium-ion batteries contain a variety of materials such as lithium, nickel, aluminum, iron, manganese, and cobalt. Of all these metals, cobalt is the most expensive. Over the last four years, the average cost of cobalt has been higher than the combined cost of all other battery metals.

Chibueze Amanchukwu, a professor of molecular engineering at the University of Chicago, said:

Cobalt prices have also historically been very volatile. Part of this variability is due to the fact that cobalt is usually produced as a by-product of nickel and copper mining and is associated with fluctuations in demand and prices for these metals. Cobalt mining and refining is also geographically restricted.

“Most of the world’s battery-grade cobalt reserves are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and cobalt mining is associated with human rights abuses and child labor,” said Sam Adam, senior powertrain research analyst at LMC Automotive. I am.

Chinese investors dominate about 70% of Congo’s mining sector. China also dominates the cobalt refining industry by more than 80%, and the raw material will be commercial grade cobalt metal suitable for use in EVs. In the light of the US-China trade war, the supply of cobalt is in an unstable position for US manufacturers.

Some cobalt-free batteries already exist, but some trade-offs are needed.

“There is already a viable cobalt-free battery, which is lithium iron phosphate or LFP, but the main drawback of LFP is its low energy density and therefore the golf practice field,” says Adham.

LFP batteries have been improved and more and more automakers are adopting technologies that are much cheaper than cobalt batteries. Tesla is already using LFP batteries in Model 3 and Model Y vehicles manufactured in China. Tesla says it will extend the use of LFP batteries to all entry-level Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. Ford and Volkswagen also said they will offer vehicles with LFP batteries.

Similar to the cobalt, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) supply chain, batteries are dominated by Chinese companies such as BYD and Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL). To reduce the US’s dependence on foreign countries, the US Department of Energy released a national blueprint in June to develop domestic lithium battery production and support investment to support further research and development. In that goal, the blueprint calls for the elimination of cobalt from lithium batteries by 2030. Two US-based startups, Sparkz and Texpower, haven’t yet proven the technology for electric vehicles, but say they can help.

Watch the video to learn more about the technologies companies are using to curb the industry’s reliance on cobalt-containing batteries and how to make EVs cheaper by eliminating cobalt.

Samsung Panasonic and Tesla with cobalt-free batteries

Source link Samsung Panasonic and Tesla with cobalt-free batteries

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