The world’s largest battery manufacturers , including Samsung SDI, LG Chem and SK Innovation, are looking for alternative ways to cope with cobalt shortage, one of the most important components of lithium-ion batteries . According to analysts, the current shortage of cobalt would be attributed to the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country providing more than half of the global cobalt supply.
In this historic moment, due to the unstable political situation, the Congo is exporting small amounts of mineral, while demand is on the increase as electric cars are growing. The result is that the price of cobalt is Increased by 90% , reaching to $ 61,000 per ton.
For this reason, the main producers are trying to make batteries of different composition : at present, a lithium ion battery is made up of about 60% nickel, 20% cobalt and 20% manganese, while what manufacturers are trying to do Is to bring the quantity of nickel to 80% and other materials to 10% each . Evolution could be made possible with a different composition of cathodes.
Innovation should bring several benefits, including lowering the price of batteries and increasing their lifetime , but in any case it will take at least three or four years before seeing the first possible prototypes.