Electric Vehicles: The Dirty Nickel Problem – by Cliff Rice (Clean Technica – September 27, 2020)


“Certainly, electric vehicle manufactures cannot live up to their
professed good intentions of using “environmentally friendly”
nickel if that nickel comes from laterite deposits.”

Electric vehicles are only a small part of the world vehicle market, but this is expected to change. While there are several competing battery chemistries which are likely to be used in this emerging market, many of them contain significant amounts of nickel.

This is a problem, and to understand why it is a problem, we need to understand the basics of where nickel comes from. It gets a bit complicated.

Nickel is mined from two types of deposits — sulphide and laterite. Sulphide nickel occurs in hard rock that has formed from crystallization of magma with the proper conditions and chemistry.

Laterite nickel is a product of the weathering of ultrabasic bedrock under proper conditions of rainfall, drainage, temperature, and slope in the tropics.

Nearly all nickel currently used in batteries comes from sulphide nickel. This is because batteries require nickel of high purity, which is usually obtained from sulphide nickel. Also, sulphide nickel can be mined, smelted, and refined with less environmental impact than laterite nickel.

For the rest of this article: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/27/electric-vehicles-the-dirty-nickel-problem/

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