Removing cobalt from Li-ion batteries would benefit the Earth and the humans inside it, all while maintaining performance levels…
Lithium-ion batteries are taking over the world; they’re found in smartphones, laptops, and even electric vehicles. Along the way, however, the battery industry built a dependence on cobalt because of its high energy density (amount of energy stored per unit volume), stabilization ability, and corrosion prevention.
Unfortunately, cobalt also happens to be toxic toward the environment and scarce in addition to its linkage to human rights violations during the mining process.
Researchers from the University of Texas created a battery cell with a nickel-rich cathode that performs just as well as the cobalt-based cathodes, with slightly lower energy densities but similar charge rates and higher operating voltages.
The process in which the cathode is created is interesting; the Ni, Mn, and Al ions are mixed at the nanoscale through a reactor, and the pumping rates and temperatures must be precise to optimize both structure and composition.
For more information, read this article! It’s very interesting: https://www.wired.com/story/this-cobalt-free-battery-is-good-for-the-planet-and-it-actually-works/