With the surge in demand for lithium-ion batteries, the price of cobalt, a previously unknown element, is also rising rapidly. Many companies are beginning to worry about the security of their supplies. But the supply of cobalt depends largely on changes in the copper and nickel markets.
The price of once little-known cobalt is rising rapidly, and some people are even worried that there will be a shortage of cobalt in the future. The surge in demand for lithium-ion batteries used in electronic products and electric vehicles is an important reason for the price increase, and companies are beginning to worry about the safety of supply.
According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, cobalt prices have more than doubled since 2017, and some companies are already looking for ways to reduce supply chain costs to cope with the sharp rise in cobalt prices. It is said that Apple has begun to try to buy cobalt metal directly from cobalt miners, as have automakers such as BMW and Volkswagen.
According to the Commodity Exchange statement Dayton, headquartered in the United Kingdom, the demand for cobalt in the automotive battery category is estimated to rise by more than 40% in 2018. Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles in the Chinese and European markets have become the first demand factors, and Tesla models The gradual addition of 3 production also makes the rising market demand in the United States an important motivation for cobalt.
Although battery engineers can change the design or replace some elements with other elements, the only cobalt element is difficult to replace. Although there are some elements that can replace cobalt, they can cause loss of function.
Umicore CEO Mark Greenberg told reporters that there is no element with a higher energy density than nickel. No element can stabilize all energy better than cobalt. So you may have heard some technical news about replacing cobalt models, but this will not happen in the next 20 to 30 years, because the existing technology has not yet appeared.
A potential problem is that most cobalt ore in the world is a by-product of other metal mining processes. In 2017, approximately 69% of the world's cobalt was produced from copper and 29% was a by-product of nickel. Therefore, the amount of cobalt largely depends on the price changes in the copper and nickel markets.
Today, miners such as ERG and Glencore are planning to re-examine cobalt mining from the ground up, hoping to balance supply and demand within a short period of time, but if the electric vehicle business continues to develop rapidly, this balance will not be maintained.
Although it is estimated that the cost of producing electric vehicles will be reduced to 2022 after cobalt, it is estimated that the cost of producing electric vehicles in a short period of time will continue to be close to the cost of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, Dutton said in a statement.
Although we often see the emergence of some new battery technologies, it is still too early to truly achieve large-scale commercialization. In other words, the future will be a nationwide lithium-ion battery. Let's take a look at the related content of power management with the editor.
In order to protect the environment, more and more countries and regions are still promoting new energy vehicles, so this also forces the demand for lithium-ion batteries, so that lithium-ion batteries must be cobalt. Although scientists can change the design or replace certain elements with other elements, cobalt alone is difficult to replace, which is the key to doubling its price within a year.
A potential problem is that most cobalt ore in the world is a by-product of other metal mining processes. In 2017, about 69% of cobalt in the world came from copper and 29% came from nickel by-products. Therefore, the amount of cobalt largely depends on the price changes in the copper and nickel markets.
Regarding the future of lithium-ion batteries, Marc Grynberg, head of Umicore Materials, said that no element has a higher energy density than nickel, and no element has a more stable energy density than cobalt. So in the next 20 to 30 years, this will not happen. Lithium-ion batteries are still king.
The previous news is preparing graphene battery mobile phone manufacturers. This is a new generation of commercial batteries. Its biggest advantage is that the battery capacity of the same volume is about 45% of lithium-ion batteries, but it can complete a complete battery in 12 minutes. , And may maintain a high degree of stability in environments up to 60 degrees Celsius. Currently, the wait is still going on.