Nov 7, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Volvo using blockchain to trace cobalt supply for electric vehicle batteries

A logo of Swedish multinational manufacturing company Volvo.

Photo: Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Volvo says it's working with suppliers to bring "global traceability" of cobalt used in EV batteries through the use of blockchain technology.

Why it matters: Cobalt is a key material in batteries, but its extraction — largely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — is linked to human rights abuses and dangerous conditions.

The big picture: Demand for the material is set to grow as automakers roll out more and more EV models in the coming years — including Volvo, which unveiled its first fully electric car last month with more on the way.

Where it stands: Volvo said the use of the digital transaction technology "boosts transparency of the raw material supply chain as the information about the material’s origin cannot be changed undetected."

  • The company said it has reached agreements with its two main battery suppliers, CATL and LG Chem, to implement the "traceability" this year. Tech companies including Oracle and IBM are involved in the effort.

Go deeper:

Go deeper