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Beth Murdock

Research student

Lancaster University

Department of Chemistry



Research overview

Cobalt has been a key element in the fabrication of rechargeable Li-ion batteries, since the original Li-ion battery commercialized by Sony in 1991. Yet, in the ‘tumultuous Copper Belt’ in the DRC, practices in cobalt mines are indifferent to human rights, with thousands of children under 10 being exploited by child labour. Recent calls to major users and suppliers of cobalt-based products for them to sign a declaration supporting the Responsible Raw Materials Initiative (RRMI) have only gone so far; despite the signatures of Apple, Googe and Sony (amongst others) many mines remain unregulated. What is required is a replacement material to cobalt for batteries.  This project starting October 2019, focuses on the science of replacement of Co in cathode materials in rechargeable batteries.

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