We buy a car, get if filled with gasoline, drive it to mountains, plains, and places we wish to go without worrying much about what's all inside the car that makes it run miles, drives it, and what all components it consists of. Except for the people who love to spend their time in the garage on the weekends. But it's always good to know what all components car consists of well if not all, then let's talk about the batteries. For a car system, car batteries are one of the most critical and important parts. Without car batteries, the keys in your pocket and the engine in your cars can be considered of no use. Why? Because if not car batteries, then who or what will make your car's engine on after turning the ignition on?
There's a variety of car battery types and the elements used in it. But out of all the ingredients, the most eminent element is the Cobalt. Cobalt is a silverish-white, brittle, magnetic metal used by the few car batteries. The batteries consisting of Cobalt are known for its high energy density and are thus used by many battery making companies. Cobalt, in fact, is that element of our periodic table with element name as 'Co,' atomic number 27, a melting point of about 1493 degrees Celsius and boiling point of about 2870 degrees Celsius but didn't get much recognition besides the variety of advantages it offers. There are many applications of Cobalt, though like it is used to make alloys, in paint industries, as a catalyst and the one as we know in the lithium-ion batteries.
What Type of Batteries Use Cobalt?
The most common type of batteries available in the market is Lithium Ion or Li-ion batteries. These batteries are found almost everywhere, from our everyday portable electronic devices to electronic car vehicles, and are known for having high voltage and for storing charge per unit volume and per unit mass. These batteries consist of several elements or material types. One such popular element is Cobalt. Cobalt, as described above, is a brittle, white silver kind of metal used at the cathodes of the lithium-ion battery and also the reason behind lithium-ion battery being popular for being more powerful is also Cobalt as out of the mixture of all the metals present at the cathode, Cobalt is known for its ability to hold power and boost energy density as when the lithium-ion gets away or into the cathode it (Cobalt) helps to keep the structure stabilized. The trust of management and reliance on a lithium battery can be because of many reasons, but the highlighted component of it has always been Cobalt.
There are numerous articles and findings on the internet about almost everything, and when you search for whether we will run out of Cobalt? Then you might find the answer to be yes. With an increase in the number of population and new generations coming up, the day is not so far that we will run out of Cobalt like any other naturally occurring elements or materials. It might make you angry about why the population is blamed for everything. But it's actually interrelated as the count of population increases, numbers of drivers, passengers, transporters increase too, and for each one, we need a car. So with a rise in the number of car production, there will be an evident rise in the number of lithium batteries that consist of Cobalt, which in turn puts the existence of Cobalt in danger. Like population, there are certain other factors responsible for the depletion of Cobalt like rising costs and difficulty in extraction, which means as we the people of earth have already extracted a greater chunk of Cobalt from earth's surface, then it gets difficult to extract and high costs needed for digging. It is found that in the earlier times, the Cobalt was easy to extract metal as it was available on the upper surfaces of the earth as compared to now where there is no sign of the ores on the upper ones.
Is cobalt battery-friendly for the environment?
Cobalt as an element, as a metal, has a huge list of applications and a variety of industries, be it in medication for preparing cancer-fighting drugs or in the automobile sector in the form of lithium-ion batteries. It is undoubtedly a metal that contributes to various applications, but for a very long time, there has been a word about discarding or replacing Cobalt as a constituent in the industries. It is so because Cobalt is found in the form of ore. And ores need to be dug out of earth surfaces through mining and then extracted to get the real metal, as a result of which we see pollution and danger to many lives revolving around this process. In Congo or even in Australia, it has been found that visuals around the mining sites of Cobalt have been horrifying and that it is directly affecting aquatic lives and the lives of labor involved in the mining process. Also, it is found that cobalt mining is somehow promoting child labor as many young kids every year are taken in for the mining process. If this is not enough, then you better be informed that the mining of Cobalt and such ores actually leads to the greenhouse effect as there is a heavy release of greenhouses gases because of the fossil fuels involved in mining. There are a lot of scientists, activists, and big people speaking out loud against the use of Cobalt. Recently, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, has officially declared that his company will try to minimize and replace the use of Cobalt for its car batteries. Tesla is the leading brand of electric vehicles, and such an announcement coming from a person like Elon, it was really appreciated as the cobalt batteries are not economical as well as not eco-friendly. We should all pledge to cut the usage of Cobalt in any way possible.
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