Deep-sea mining could be the future of electric vehicles.
The use of electric vehicles is increasing. As it happens the world begins to move away from petrol and diesel-powered cars. The number of EVs on the road has increased from 17,000 to 7,2 million between 2010 and 2019. Furthermore, according to an estimate from the International Energy Agency, the number could rise up to 250 million by 2030.
Why deep-sea mining?
Urban infrastructure growth, sustainable development, and transition to clean energy are placing massive pressure on the supply of metals. For instance, according to the US Geological Survey, the deep sea contains more cobalt, nickel, copper, and other rare earth metals than all land reserves combined. Since minerals like cobalt and nickel are widely used for EV batteries, deep-sea mining is an alternative source to obtain these metals. Comparing it to land-based mining, where areas of rich biodiverse forests have to be cleared and mountains flattened to get access to these metal deposits.
Although water covers nearly three-quarters of the planet, the depths of our oceans remain largely unexplored. For this reason according to scientists and non-governmental organizations, deep-sea mining can have a disastrous impact on the marine environment and destroy fragile ecosystems.
“There are a lot of conversations about the real risks and unanswered questions about ocean mining”Says Douglas McCauley, a professor and director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative at the University of California Santa Barbara.
While some scientists disagree, others believe that some mining should be allowed. As long as large areas of the deep sea were protected.
“It will be a dramatic shift in the ecology of that environment. That’s something you just have to accept. Some areas of the planet will have to be impacted. If humans are going to move forward in a sort of, zero-carbon future.”Says Natural History Museum zoologist Adrian Glover.
As EV’s demand and supply grow, the world will require more batteries and minerals to manufacture them. Therefore deep-sea mining may be the most effective method of obtaining minerals. While avoiding the destruction of forests and mountains. But the possibility of mining the deep ocean floor will be decided by an international organization—the United Nations.