The high cost of cobalt cathodes and some potential alternatives

According to an article published in Advanced Energy Materials by researchers at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), cobalt is currently the most expensive cathode material used in lithium-ion batteries.

The DOE says cobalt accounts for about a quarter of the cost of a typical battery, and was the most expensive cathode material in batteries between 2010 and 2021—climbing to $40 per pound in 2018.

Battery producers are looking to move away from the high cost and price volatility of cobalt. The ORNL researchers outlined the potential of some cobalt-free cathodes in their article, including layered, spinel, olivine and disordered rock-salt systems.

After reviewing these alternatives, the researchers write, “despite the promising performance of these Co-free cathodes, scale-up and manufacturing bottlenecks associated with these materials must also be addressed to enable widespread adoption in commercial batteries.”

Source: DOE via Green Car Congress