Nickel and cobalt have precarious international supply chains, but eliminating them from batteries raises tough questions.
The electric vehicle or EV revolution owes its existence to lithium batteries, and those batteries have a cocktail of specialized minerals to thank for their high performance.
In most cases, that cocktail’s ingredient list includes cobalt and nickel, minerals that help deliver the long lifespan and range that consumers increasingly demand of EVs.
But with hundreds of millions of new EVs expected to hit the streets in the coming decades, skyrocketing demand for nickel and cobalt could strain mineral supply chains. Fearing a supply shortage that would slow the EV boom, the U.S. Department of Energy is now proposing that we eliminate cobalt and nickel from batteries altogether.
Earlier this month, the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries, a cross-agency group chaired by the Department of Energy, released the first ever National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries to guide the development of a domestic battery industry that helps the U.S. meet its climate targets.
Among other goals, the blueprint calls for eliminating nickel and cobalt from lithium batteries by 2030 to develop “a stronger, more secure and resilient supply chain.”
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