New rare mineral in China that can revolutionize electric car batteries forever.
Chinese scientists found a new type of mineral rich in niobium, a superconducting metal that can make batteries far superior to current ones.
Much of China’s success in the electric vehicle market is due to the constant work carried out for more than a decade, the subsidies from its government and the determined commitment made by CATL in recent years for lithium-ion batteries. Lithium also has essential deposits for extracting rare earths, allowing the production of the aforementioned batteries.
Precisely, in one of its largest deposits, a mineral not seen until now has been found that could revolutionize electric mobility: it is called Niobobaotite, and it is rich in niobium. This superconducting metal could change the batteries of electric cars as we know them.
The discovery occurred 90 kilometres south of the border between China and Mongolia, in one of the largest known deposits of rare earths, the Bavan Obo mining region, in Inner Mongolia. This Niobobaotite, thanks to its composition, could favour the production of more durable, efficient and safe batteries than current ones.
Chinese scientists are developing new niobium-graphene batteries that increase battery life by more than 30 years (10 times longer than current lithium-ion batteries). As they do not contain flammable substances, they are faster to load, perform better, and are safer.
An essential factor is that China imports almost 95% of niobium for its steel industry. It could make China completely self-sufficient, depending on the amount of Niobobaotite metal found (something yet to be confirmed). Niobium is one of the most common rare earths, but they are mainly found in Brazil (with 90% of the known reserves) and Canada.
The fact that seeking increasingly urgent solutions to reduce lithium in batteries could make niobium, and consequently this Niobobaotite, an essential element for new generations of batteries. Today, niobium is mainly used to improve the strength of steel, which is why it is widely used in rockets or jet engines. However, as we said, work is already underway in China to advance the development of batteries with niobium.
Source- El Confidencial