U.S. Department of Energy awards $2.8 billion to boost EV and grid battery production


The Biden-Harris Administration announced the first set of projects to be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the Department of Energy. Manufacturers of electric vehicle batteries and grid-scale energy storage received a combined $2.8 billion to build and expand commercial-scale facilities in 12 states. 

The funds will support organizations that extract and process lithium, graphite and other battery materials, manufacture components, and demonstrate new approaches, including manufacturing components from recycled materials. 

This federal investment will be matched by recipients, leveraging a combined total of more than $9 billion to boost American clean energy technologies. 

“This is truly a remarkable time for manufacturing in America, as President Biden’s Agenda and historic investments supercharge the private sector to ensure our clean energy future is American-made,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Producing advanced batteries and components here at home will accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to meet the strong demand for electric vehicles, creating more good-paying jobs across the country.” 

Award recipients 

One of the recipients of funds was Koura, an Orbia company. The company received $100 million to support the manufacture of lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) batteries. Koura will expand a facility on its existing site in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. Once operational, Koura expects the plant to produce up to 10,000 MT of LiPF6 each year. 

The future is powered by lithium-ion batteries. We are uniquely positioned to innovate with our ‘mine-to-market’ capability to meet modern needs for resilience and energy independence,” said Koura president Gregg Smith. 

Entek was another recipient of DOE funds. The company has over 35 years of experience producing battery separators for batteries to support electric, advanced start-stop and standard vehicles, trucks, emergency vehicles, emergency backup power, utility scale energy storage, and industrial batteries. It is a U.S. based producer of ‘wet-process’ separator for lithium batteries and continues to invest in the future of the domestic lithium battery industry. 

Another $100 million award was approved for Group14 Technologies, a global manufacturer and supplier of silicon battery technology. Group14 is building a battery materials manufacturing facility in Washington state. The company is already manufacturing its silicon battery technology at commercial scale today, and Group14 will leverage the funding from the DOE to expand the capacity of a secondary site to meet rising EV battery demand. Group14 launched in April of last year and raised $400 million in a funding round led by Porsche AG to support the construction of its second battery fabrication facility. 

“With our growing footprint in the Pacific Northwest, we’re answering the call for ‘all-American’ batteries and remain steadfastly committed to building out a fully end-to-end domestic battery supply chain to help the U.S. stay ahead in the electrification race,” said Rick Luebbe, CEO and co-founder of Group14. 

Massachusetts-based 6k received a $50 million award for production of engineered materials for lithium-ion batteries and additive manufacturing. The company uses a proprietary plasma technology for its materials processing. The funds will be joined by 6K’s investment of $57 million in a full-scale battery material manufacturing plant to be built in the southeast United States. 

“We are at a tipping point where investments in transformational technologies like our UniMelt microwave plasma will set us apart from China to help drive America’s energy independence,” said Dr. Aaron Bent, CEO for 6K. “As the popularity of electric vehicles escalates and clean energy technologies like wind, hydro and solar are deployed, the urgency for domestic battery material production to support cell manufacturing and battery storage will become vital. Battery material processing on US soil will support our critical infrastructure and de-risk supply chain availability while strengthening our national security and US competitiveness.” 

Albemarle Corporation, a global specialty chemicals company specializing in lithium, bromine and catalysts, has been awarded a nearly $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the first set of projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The grant is intended to help finance construction of a new, commercial-scale U.S.-based lithium concentrator facility at Albemarle’s facility at Kings Mountain, North Carolina. 

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