With the increased significance of lithium-ion batteries, the pressure on the availabiltity of relevant ressources rises -- publication in Nature Reviews Materials
Lithium and cobalt are fundamental components of present lithium-ion batteries. Analysis by researchers at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) shows that the availability of both elements could become seriously critical. Cobalt-free battery technologies, including post-lithium technologies based on non-critical elements such as sodium, but also magnesium, zinc, calcium and aluminium, represent possibilities to avoid this criticality in the long term. These results are presented in Nature Reviews Materials.
Besides lithium as charge carrier, cobalt is a fundamental component of the cathode in present lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), determining the high energy and power density as well as the long lifetime. However, as outlined in the article by Dr. Christoph Vaalma et al., this element is suffering from scarcity and toxicity issues. "In general, the rapidly growing market penetration of LIBs for electromobility applications, such as fully electric cars, will lead to an increasing demand for raw materials, especially with respect to lithium and cobalt", says Professor Stefano Passerini, who supervised the study together with Dr. Daniel Buchholz at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm.
Their scenario-based analysis until 2050 for various applications of batteries shows that the shortage and price increase of cobalt are likely to occur, since the cobalt demand by batteries might be twice as high as the today's identified reserves. In contrast, today's identified lithium reserves are expected to be much less strained, but the production will have to be strongly upscaled (possibly more than ten times, depending on the scenario) to match the future demand. However, both elements additionally suffer from strong geographical concentration, moreover in countries which are reported to be less politically stable. According to the researchers, this gives rise to strong concerns about a possible shortage and associated price increase of LIBs in the near future. "It is therefore indispensable to expand the research activities towards alternative battery technologies in order to decrease these risks and reduce the pressure on cobalt and lithium reserves", says Daniel Buchholz. Stefano Passerini, HIU deputy director, emphasises: "Post-lithium systems are especially appealing for electromobility and stationary applications. This is why it is both very important and urgent to unlock their potential and develop these innovative, high-energy batteries towards market maturity".
These results are further confirmed by the global scenario for battery applications in the field of electromobility until the year 2050, recently developed at HIU and published as book chapter. "The future availability of cobalt for the mass production of LIBs has to be classified as very critical, which is also evident from the price increase of cobalt higher than 120% within one year (2016-2017)", HIU system analyst Dr. Marcel Weil points out. In addition, the establishment of a battery economy with a high rate of recycling would certainly be imperative to decrease the pressure on critical materials.
Both studies highlight the importance of new battery technologies based on low-cost, abundant and, at best, non-toxic elements, demonstrating the importance of their further development in order to decrease the pressure on critical resources. To address this need, KIT and University of Ulm joined their efforts in the proposal for a Cluster of Excellence Energy Storage Beyond Lithium: New Storage Concepts For A Sustainable Future, focusing on the development of sodium-ion, magnesium-ion and other batteries based on abundant materials. The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Justus-Liebig University Gießen are also involved in these efforts.
C. Vaalma, D. Buchholz, M. Weil and S. Passerini "A cost and resource analysis of sodium-ion batteries" Nat. Rev. Mater. 3, 18013 (2018): https:/
M. Weil, S-. Ziemann, J. Peters: "The Issue of Metal Resources in Li-Ion Batteries for Electric vehicles." in: "Behaviour of Lithium-ion Batteries in Electric Vehicles." Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier 2018
About the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU)
The HIU was established in January 2011 by KIT, member of the Helmholtz Association, in cooperation with Ulm University. With the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), two other renowned institutions are involved in the HIU as associated partners. The international team of about 110 scientists at HIU works on the development of future energy storage systems for stationary and mobile use.
More about the KIT Energy Center: http://www.
Paper in Nature Reviews Materials: http://rdcu.
Margarete Lehné, Deputy Press Officer
Anna Sebastian, HIU Public relations
Being „The Research University in the Helmholtz-Association", KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 26,000 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life.
KIT - The Research University in the Helmholtz Association
Since 2010, the KIT has been certified as a family-friendly university.
This press release is available on the internet at http://www.
Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
Scientists predict a new superhard material with unique properties
17.06.2018 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
A sprinkle of platinum nanoparticles onto graphene makes brain probes more sensitive
15.06.2018 | University of California - San Diego
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering