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Back-to-Nature Batteries Charge Forward

Amid warnings of looming battery materials shortages, we've unearthed ten battery projects that leverage abundant natural resources.

The facts are well known: The heart of the global transition to electric vehicles has been the lithium-ion battery. And the heart of the Li-ion battery is, of course lithium—a substance that is in limited supply and expensive to mine and refine, with global superpowers facing off over its control.

And that’s not to mention the other metals that are in relative short supply such as nickel, cobalt, and others. In fact, a recent report by the International Energy Agency warns that global battery and minerals supply chains need to get ten times larger to meet critical needs by 2030. Specifically, to meet 2030 global net carbon emission goals, 50 more lithium mines, 60 more nickel mines, and 17 more cobalt mines than are currently in operation are needed.

No wonder, then, that concurrent with the ongoing work of refining and producing more and better Li-ion batteries has been numerous R&D projects aimed at developing batteries with components that use less problematic materials. Instead, these researchers are working with materials found in abundance in the natural world.

The number of such projects is uncountable (though we featured ten of them earlier this month, here). Nonetheless, here are ten other projects Battery Technology has watched over the past year, each with a goal of making the nature of batteries natural.

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