Cobalt is essential
Cobalt is an essential component in the rechargeable batteries needed for Electric Vehicles. It is present in many of the portable devices that are part of our daily life, including telephones, tablets and laptops.
Cobalt is also a bio-essential element, found in vitamin B12. Cobalt can be magnetized and is used to make magnets, including particularly powerful magnets when alloyed with aluminum and nickel. Other alloys of cobalt are used in jet turbines and gas turbine generators, where high-temperature strength is important. Cobalt salts have been used for centuries to produce brilliant blue colors in paint, porcelain, glass, pottery and enamels. Cobalt can even be used to treat cancer. Cobalt contributes to a greener society by acting as a catalyst in desulphurization reactions and by lowering the activation energy needed for industrial processes.
Cobalt is sourced responsibly
Responsible sourcing is the most serious topic for the cobalt industry.
The Cobalt Institute and its members have a longstanding commitment to the sustainable and responsible production and use of cobalt in all its forms and applications. Industrial miners guarantee health and safety conditions and rewarding livelihoods for their workforces. Significant efforts are being undertaken to formalize artisanal and small-scale mining to ensure that cobalt is sourced responsibly and ethically.
Cobalt is safe to use
Decades of use as a vital component in a wide variety of industries including electronics, hard metals, catalysis, alloys and healthcare mean that the use of cobalt in production environments is well defined and potential hazards are clearly identified and controlled.
Cobalt is abundant
The current global production rate for cobalt is many times smaller than global reserves, so sufficient cobalt is available for many years into the future.
In case of any increase in demand, new supplies can be brought on stream quickly from various geographical sources. Cobalt is infinitely recyclable itself. Recycled cobalt currently provides around 10% of worldwide needs. This is expected to increase dramatically as new technologies come on stream and as the supply of end-of-life battery materials increases.
Cobalt has unique properties
Cobalt is integral to ensuring high power density and longer life span of batteries and thus electric vehicles.
It also plays vital roles in the superalloys needed for jet engines or for its metal bonding properties in tungsten carbide used for many cutting tools. Cobalt can also be found in integrated electronic circuits, in catalysis for the petroleum industry used to produce clean fuel and in healthcare for cancer treatment.
Cobalt enables future technologies
Cobalt has a wide range of useful and valuable physical and chemical properties.
Researchers around the world are making good use of these properties to develop technologies that can enable the achievement of key societal goals – including generation of clean energy. For example, cobalt can be used to generate hydrogen from water. The hydrogen is then available as a fuel for heat, vehicles, seasonal energy storage, and long distance transport of energy.