Posted February 24, 2020 05:15:28 When it came to energy-saving technologies, nickel- and cob-based technologies are considered the gold standard.
In recent years, however, nickel has been catching up.
“The nickel and the cobalt have taken off.
They’re in the $5-6 billion range,” said Matt Smith, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
But that hasn’t translated into sales.
In fact, the metals were down about 7% last year, according to Bloomberg data.
Why are the metals so valuable?
A lot of these technologies are based on a single principle: They use a nickel-based material that’s stable and can withstand extreme temperatures and pressures.
But the world’s supply of nickel has fallen significantly in recent years.
According to the United Nations, in 2016, there were more than 12.5 million metric tons of nickel left.
And as of March 31, 2016, about 10.5% of the world was still producing the metal.
“We’re in a transition phase, in which nickel is in decline, and cobex is in its heyday,” Smith told Business Insider.
And while nickel is being replaced by cobalt, there are plenty of ways to store it.
Some of these options include: cobalt dioxide, cobalt carbonate, cobex-iron, and nickel-iron oxide.
All of these products are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and all are solid-state technologies that store energy at room temperature.
In some cases, they can even store electricity for up to two years.
But for some, such as Tesla, these are expensive, inefficient options that require expensive, bulky equipment.
“What’s going on with nickel is that people are looking for alternative storage technologies,” Smith said.
“It’s just a matter of time until we see a nickel replacement.”
For instance, Tesla recently announced plans to roll out a solid-to-gas battery, which is the first solid-phase battery with a nickel electrode.
The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, says that solid-toxicity batteries can store electricity in the form of water or other liquids for up 10 years.
And it’s been hard to find a solid state battery that can hold up to that sort of temperature and pressure.
And so, Tesla is turning to cobalt.
But cobalt is also a very costly material.
The cost of cobalt in 2018 was $8.3 billion, according a report from the Rhodium Group, a metals research company.
That compares to about $1.6 billion for nickel and about $3 billion for cobalt oxide.
The report also notes that cobalt’s value drops significantly when it’s mixed with water or a liquid.
“At room temperature, cobalium is a very volatile metal, and the water is also very volatile, so you end up with a very small amount of cobalum,” Smith explained.
The value of cobaling materials, however is not the only thing that’s changing in the energy storage world.
Smith explained that there are other factors that are changing as well.
For instance: A lot more countries are building wind turbines, which are powered by renewable energy sources.
This is the biggest energy technology change since the advent of the electric car.
And new technologies are taking hold, such a smart thermostat, which allows customers to set their temperature based on demand.
“That could be the first real revolution in the history of energy storage,” Smith added.
“I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it in the last 25 years.”