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With the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), demand for materials used to produce batteries is expected to increase dramatically. Aside from the lithium needed to produce modern lithium-ion batteries, much attention is focused on the cost of the materials used for EV battery cathode production. Cobalt is an important ingredient in lithium-ion battery cathode production, accounting for about a quarter of the cost of the battery. The price for cobalt spiked to $40 per pound in 2018, but returned to $25 dollars per pound in 2021, while the next most expensive material was nickel at $9 per pound in 2021. Due to the high cost and price volatility associated with cobalt, battery manufacturers/researchers are seeking alternatives to reduce or eliminate the need for cobalt in battery production.

Battery Cathode Material Price Trends, 2010-2021

Source: Nitin Muralidharan, Ethan C. Self, Marm Dixit, Zhijia Du, Rachid Essehli, Ruhul Amin, Jagjit Nanda, Ilias Belharouak, Advanced Energy Materials, Next-Generation Cobalt-Free Cathodes – A Prospective Solution to the Battery Industry's Cobalt Problem, January 2022.