Wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy and could generate 35% of global electricity production by 2050. Wind power is generated by using large turbine blades to use wind power to rotate a shaft that feeds into a generator. To create electricity, the generator is dependent on a magnetic field. Permanent magnets in the generator create the magnetic field without any input of electricity, allowing the turbines to run at lower wind speeds while still producing energy. The use of permanent magnets also negates the need for a gearbox in the turbine, making the machinery more reliable and less expensive to maintain. As an important component of the strongest permanent magnets, cobalt is a vital element for renewable wind power.
Renewable energy from solar and wind is essential for the decarbonized economy. Rechargeable batteries containing cobalt store electricity when it is produced so that it can be used when the wind is not blowing, tides are not flowing, or the sun is not shining.
Cobalt plays an important role in renewable biogas technology. Biogas is a methane-based energy carrier and is widely used for delocalised electricity and heat production or as a renewable replacement for natural gas. Biogas is an environmental technology which produces energy-rich gases by degrading complex organic materials including those found in landfill waste, sewage sludge, bio-waste treatment and certain species of crops. The fermentation involved in biogas production can be improved by adding small amounts of cobalt sulphate, cobalt chloride, cobalt carbonate, or cobalt acetate.