The U.S. The Department of Energy (DOE) announced it is releasing over $192 million in additional funding to help businesses streamline battery recycling processes from consumer products.
The decision extends the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize contest, launches an advanced research and development (R&D) consortium for consumer-product batteries and builds on the nearly $3 billion invested in EV and battery technologies by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
As the U.S. looks to shore up a steady supply of raw materials for batteries, recycling is increasingly targeted as a pathway to resource stability. Recycling within the U.S. is being targeted by the DOE as China manages over half of the world’s lithium, cobalt, and nickel refining ability.
Since announcing the Phase III Battery Recycling contest winners last year, the DOE will award an additional $7.4 million to fund Phase IV: Demonstration of Impact. Successful candidates will exhibit effective transport of used batteries from consumers to Pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical recycling plants.
Part of the funding will finance a “Breakthrough Contest”. The competition is open to any entrepreneur offering solutions that meet the requirements of the Battery Recycling Prize goal: It’s meant to increase participation while supporting Phase III winning teams.
These incentives push the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda forward. Financing battery recycling and manufacturing projects can generate good-paying jobs and a clean energy economy. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm projects such investments can help secure a domestic supply chain, offering social and economic benefits.
The Biden-Harris Administration targets half of all vehicle sales to be electric by 2030. This is great for reducing air pollution, but the boom of EV manufacturing and adoption in America will need new R&D to minimize risks including:
- Human rights violations
- Habitat destruction from resource mining
- Production shortages due to global lithium-ion battery deficits
Wood Mackenzie research analyst Max Reid suggests current battery recycling and import methods won’t meet the growing demand for EVs.
“There needs to be a push in expanding virgin sourcing while maximizing the recycling sector to ease the deficit,” said Reid.
The Advanced Battery R&D Consortium aims to address this by providing up to $60 million in funding to convene local EV manufacturers, universities, National Laboratory partners, mineral and material suppliers, and other key battery stakeholders. They will identify and address requirements to successfully scale the next phase of EV commercialization in America.
The research will prioritize using alternative or cheaper and more abundant natural materials to strengthen a domestic supply chain instead of relying wholly on foreign oil to drive the transportation sector.
And with over $4 billion left to grow and secure America’s battery supply chain, the DOE just released a new funding opportunity.
The DOE has also allocated $125 million to Consumer Electronics Battery Recycling, Reprocessing, and Collection. The funds will assist local communities and state governments by:
- Implementing campaigns to encourage mass participation in battery recycling programs.
- Reducing costs of recycling consumer electronic batteries to increase the repurposing market demand.
- Establishing or improving battery collection, recycling, and reprocessing services within states.
- Supporting retailers in scaling programs for collecting, sorting, storing and transporting consumer electronics batteries to recycling plants.
For more information on requirements, deadlines, and how to apply, visit the Energy.gov website.
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