5G technology will compete for cobalt supply with EVs

Experts predict cobalt supply is adequate for another 5 years to meet the rising demand for efficient capacity metals.



The rollout of fifth-generation (5G) wireless telecom networks around the world has led to a need for equipment that can run at higher speeds and increased efficiencies. This further ushered in a switch towards the use of new metal compounds over the old silicon-based technology. The rising penetration for 5G enabled smartphones, which require larger batteries typically, contain greater volumes of cobalt on a per unit basis. This has boosted the demand for cobalt supply and this is expected to go up over the coming years and even affect the supply of the rare metal to electric vehicles. Cobalt is used along with lithium as cathode rods in rechargeable batteries.

The larger batteries using the lithium cobalt combination are needed by 5G enabled devices to transmit and receive the stronger radio waves. Base station antennas for 5G also require significantly more power, necessitating the use of larger energy storage systems, which are now being built with cobalt-containing lithium-ion batteries.

Cobalt Supply can meet demand for EV

cobalt supply, 5G, wireless telecom, 5G enabled smartphones, cobalt demand

“5G will be a major source of cobalt demand in the years ahead,” said George Heppel, analyst CRU, which expects cobalt demand for portable devices to rise to 73,000 tons by 2025 from 45,000 tons this year.

“Down the road we are likely to see some aggressive bidding for cobalt from electric vehicles and mobile phones, where there isn’t really chemistry that can compete with LCO.”

Cobalt demand estimates mostly vary between 100,000 and 130,000 tons for this year, doubling to between 200,000 and 260,000 tons in 2025.

Cobalt production is supposed to be adequate this year to see the demands till 2022, though a deficit is expected from 2022 as sales of electric vehicles and 5G phones accelerate.

“As the global transition to 5G technology gathers pace, growth in non-EV markets has significant potential to expand across two fronts: portables and energy storage systems,” analysts at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence said in a note.

“Demand growth for energy storage systems has already overtaken electric vehicles, albeit starting from a much lower base, and Benchmark forecasts stationary storage demand to grow by 35 percent per annum through the 2020s.”

Congo is responsible for two-thirds of global cobalt production, and it has not seen much disruption in production or delivery through the Pandemic. And it is expected to keep up the supply.

A study by a team from MIT, Alfred University, UC Berkeley, and RIT found that supplies of cobalt is adequate in the short-term (up to 2030), but that the industry needs to invest in additional efficient refining and recycling capacity, so it can continue to meet demand.

The research said the cobalt demand will range from 235 to 430 ktons in 2030. They predict that the future cobalt supply will become more diversified geographically and mined more as a byproduct of nickel (Ni) over this period. The team suggests that to have a sustained supply, investments should be made in refined supply of cobalt and recycling.

Avatar
Christy Gren
Christy Gren is an Industry Specialist Reporter at Industry Leaders Magazine she enjoys writing about Unicorns, Silicon Valley, Startups, Business Leaders and Innovators. Her articles provide an insight about the Power Players in the field of Technology, Auto, Manufacturing, and F&B.

Recent Posts

Aon – Willis asset disposal aims to ease approval of $30 billion merger

Aon – Willis asset disposal aims to ease approval of $30 billion merger

Aon Plc and Willis Towers Watson have agreed to sell $3.6 billion worth of assets to rival Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in a bid to appease European competition regulators over th
18 hours ago
Roblox declares Q1, reports $387 million revenue as bookings increase

Roblox declares Q1, reports $387 million revenue as bookings increase

Roblox, the hugely popular online gaming platform, reported its first-quarter earnings after becoming a listed company. Its revenue more than doubled as the videogame company benef
2 days ago
Weak US job report results in volatile market

Weak US job report results in volatile market

A weak job report resulted in a record close on Friday for the US stocks. The US labor department’s monthly non-farm payrolls report revealed employers hired 266,000 new workers
3 days ago
Star and Blackstone launch bids to buyout Australia’s Crown Resorts

Star and Blackstone launch bids to buyout Australia’s Crown Resorts

A bidding war has broken out between Australian casino company Star Entertainment Group and US private equity investor Blackstone Group over Crown Resorts, Australia’s bigges
3 days ago
5 Most Expensive Divorce Settlements in History

5 Most Expensive Divorce Settlements in History

Almost half of the marriages end in divorce is an oft-quoted adage, but surprisingly, this is not true in today’s world. The reasons are varied, gender equality, the higher p
4 days ago
JPMorgan Chase appoints two new CIOS in bid to make its C-suite more diverse

JPMorgan Chase appoints two new CIOS in bid to make its C-suite more diverse

JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets, has appointed two new executives to head its information units in a bid to make its workforce more inclusive and increase racial an
4 days ago