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Can Batteries Cope Without Cobalt?

Father of lithium batteries admits cobalt is absolutely essential

Written by Megan Dailey
Posted August 26, 2017

“Stop talking about lithium.”

I couldn’t believe it when Keith Kohl, the man who called the lithium boom years before Tesla was even a blip on the radar, said this to me last week.

I’ll admit, we talk about lithium an awful lot here. But it’s for good reason.

The lithium story has been the most exciting thing in the energy industry for years now...

Our readers have made small fortunes investing in this unique metal and are, in fact, still raking in the gains as you read this!

So I think I can be forgiven for waiting as long as I did for Keith to let me in on the joke before I finally asked, “Why?”

He turned back to his computer, pulled up a single report, and explained exactly why lithium’s time in the limelight is about to come to a close.

No More Lithium

Without a doubt, lithium batteries will be necessary to improving our energy infrastructure in years to come.

You’ve got them in your phone, laptop, and smartwatch. They might be powering your car, your home, or even your workplace.

Li-ion batteries are already stealing massive market share from more traditional lead-acid batteries and will remain the dominant rechargeable energy storage medium for the foreseeable future.

Visual Capitalist Lithium Battery Market Share ChartSource: Visual Capitalist

But the drama surrounding lithium is about to dissipate.

Since Tesla’s Gigafactory was announced in 2015, new lithium production projects have been cropping up all over the world, both in the Lithium Triangle of South America and in Nevada, right next door to the legendary factory.

It still won’t be enough.

The Gigafactory is slated to produce more batteries by itself than were produced in the entire world just five years ago.

While we’re sure to see a lithium supply squeeze in the next few years, it’s still nothing compared to the challenges cobalt is facing this very minute.

Keep Calm, Buy Cobalt

This issue could cause more drama at Tesla than lithium ever did.

Even better, it will offer investors another chance at gains like those we saw in the first few years of the lithium revolution.

Cobalt has truly become the “blue gold” of the energy industry.

Three points are all we need to explain why:

  • It makes up more of a lithium battery than lithium does
  • It’s not mined by itself, but as a by-product
  • Where it can be mined in bulk, political skirmishes put the world’s largest supplies at risk

It’s unique. It’s rare. It’s valuable. Just like gold, but with more critical uses.

And there’s simply no replacing it.

Earlier this year, John Goodenough, the father of the modern lithium battery, came out with a new design that replaced the lithium electrode with sodium.

However, a replacement for the cobalt cathode was notably absent.

The creator of this technology has basically admitted cobalt is absolutely essential.

Yet, one Benchmark Minerals Intelligence analyst has stated that cobalt “has the most fragile supply structure of all battery raw materials.”

That doesn’t bode well for battery makers...

Especially since demand for cobalt has taken off even more quickly than demand for lithium. In fact, analysts are already expecting a deficit as high as 503% in a matter of months!

Possibly the single most critical component of the fastest-growing energy storage medium in the world is in danger of disappearing into the void.

That is, unless someone new can pick up the slack...

Proof Positive

The report Keith showed me was one he’d been working on for months, and I have to say, it’s convinced me he was right.

Lithium is no longer the biggest thing in energy tech.

Lithium batteries, of course, are a different story. They’re not going away anytime soon, and the best of them rely on “blue gold” more than ever before...

But listen, you don’t have to believe me.

Keith has gathered more than enough information to show you exactly why cobalt will be the new darling of the energy industry before the next round of Model 3s hits the streets.

And, more importantly, why it’s an investment opportunity you may just live to regret passing up.

Until next time,

Megan Dailey Signature

Megan Dailey

follow basic@energyandcapita

Megan Dailey is a fresh young face on the investment scene. In her years as a research analyst with Angel Publishing, she’s learned that adapting fast to new investment situations is critically important to successfully navigating today’s volatile market. Her research has helped individual investors identify fast-growing companies in the energy industry that pay actionable investors back in spades. In an age of boundless information, her research is razor-focused on the most lucrative opportunities in energy and beyond. Megan’s research can be found in her weekly editorials on the Energy and Capital site. She also manages the Energy and Capital social media, and is always ready to answer your questions about energy investments via Facebook or Twitter!

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