Engineers Produce World’s First Cobalt-Free Batteries: Why It’s Good For Earth – EQ Mag Pro
While electric vehicles paint a green future for us all, most are oblivious to what goes in the background.
Sure, electric vehicles are way cleaner and efficient than fossil fuels, but the components needed to make the batteries cause a ton of damage along the way.
Making batteries isn’t a clean affair
Lithium, that’s needed to make the batteries for all kinds of devices — whether it’s for smartphones, computers or even electric cars — is mostly found in the Andean regions of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile which are regarded as one of the driest regions on our planet.
Here, indigenous farmers compete with miners for water for their agricultural needs, since lithium mining is a water-intensive process. According to a UNCTAD article, it takes 2 million litres of water to extract one ton of lithium.
What cobalt mining does to the environment
Cobalt is another crucial component in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, and while it might seem like a regular material, it’s not as easy to find. Around 50 percent of world cobalt researchers are in the Democratic Republic of Congo that accounts for two-thirds of global cobalt production. As much as 20 percent of cobalt is sourced from the central African nation that comes from artisanal miners that force kids to work in these mines under life-threatening conditions.