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IBM’s New Battery Design Taps Seawater as Alternative Mineral Source

International Business Machines said Wednesday that it has developed a battery design that uses seawater and does not require any cobalt, as the race to find alternative sources of expensive minerals Intensifies.

IBM said it has partnered with Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, a battery-electrolyte-supplied central glass and battery maker’s research wing for commercial development of the new design.


“The goal, within a year or so, is to get the first working prototype (battery),” said Jeff Welser, vice president of IBM Research.

Welzer added that IBM does not necessarily create a product using the design.

The move came as battery makers struggle to reduce cobalt content in high-car lithium-ion batteries, and the expansion of the electric vehicle market is expected to take place primarily in the Republic of Congo. There will be a shortage of minerals.

IBM said its technology has proven to improve lithium-ion batteries in cost, charging time and energy efficiency.

The company also said that it is partnering with the University of Tokyo to advance quantum computing by developing the first practical application of the technology.

Under this agreement, IBM Q System One, the company’s quantum computing system designed for scientific use, will be installed in an IBM facility in Japan. The company is competing with Google and Microsoft of Alphabet, the first company to commercialize quantum technology, which can boost growth in fields such as artificial intelligence and chemistry in a few years.

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