A New York-based startup, Conamix, has finalized $2 million in a Series A funding round to continue with developing batteries that do not require cobalt. The Series A funding is said to be a part of an $8 million funding comittment from Volta Energy Technologies and other companies.

Conamix is developing cobalt-free materials that can be used for lithium-based batteries which are used for powering electric cars.

"Volta identifies and invests in battery and energy storage technology, including integration hardware and software, after performing deep diligence with the support of unparalleled global research institutions. Volta connects the most promising energy-storage innovators with select corporate investors, delivering returns for all."

Details of how Conamix goes about developing cobalt-free batteries are not available as neither the startup nor its main funder, Volta, have shared them thus far. However, should Conamix be succesful in developing the cobalt-free batteries at a cost that is lower than what is currently possible, this could prove to be a viable alternative to the current batteries for electric cars which require cobalt.

Cobalt Supplies

World cobalt reserves as of 2017. | Statista.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the largest supplier of cobalt glob ally currently. It also holds the largest reserves of cobalt, and coltan, as it is reported that the country is still sitting on approximately 60% of the world's cobalt reserves.

Cobalt and coltan are currently used in the production of electric car batteries, electronic devices, and renewable energy technology.

Another problem that the elimination of cobalt in the production of batteries will eliminate is that of child mining in the DRC. To this effect, the country has approved a blockchain technology solution to address the provenance issue of the strategic minerals. The solution, developed by Dorae Inc., applies blockchain technology to the secure transmission of mining supply chain data, ensuring that the source of the minerals is always known up until it is used in the manufacturing of various products.