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$2.8B US battery supply chain infusion

White House awards grants to 20 battery materials companies Metal Tech News - October 19, 2022

In a massive leap toward establishing a domestic lithium-ion battery supply chain, the White House has awarded $2.8 billion in grants to companies advancing 20 battery materials manufacturing and processing projects in the U.S. and launched an initiative "to mobilize the entire government in securing a reliable and sustainable supply of critical minerals used for power, electricity, and electric vehicles."

To be administered by the U.S. Department of Energy, the grants are to build and expand facilities in 12 states that will extract and process lithium, graphite and other battery materials; manufacture lithium battery components; and demonstrate solutions, such as producing materials from recycled batteries.

With matching funds from grant recipients, this investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is expected to leverage roughly $9 billion to support the Biden administration's goals of having electric vehicles make up half of all new automobiles sales in the U.S. by 2030 and to transition the nation to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

"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 Granholm.

In addition to the injection of cash into the battery materials supply chain, the White House has launched the American Battery Materials Initiative to bolster domestic mining and processing of battery materials.

Investment objectives

While the White House touts a tripling of EV sales since President Biden took office, the U.S. continues to depend heavily on foreign sources, especially China, for the processed critical minerals that go into the lithium batteries powering the transition to electric mobility.

"China currently controls much of the critical mineral supply chain and the lack of mining, processing, and recycling capacity in the U.S. could hinder electric vehicle development and adoption, leaving the U.S. dependent on unreliable foreign supply chains," the White House penned in an Oct. 19 fact sheet.

The grants administered by DOE are focused on supporting the domestic processing and recycling of critical minerals to support domestic manufacturing. Responsible and sustainable domestic sourcing of the lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and other materials critical to lithium-ion batteries.

Objectives of this funding include:

Develop enough battery-grade lithium to supply approximately 2 million EVs annually.

Develop enough battery-grade graphite to supply approximately 1.2 million EVs annually.

Create the first commercial silicon oxide production facilities to supply anode materials for roughly 600,000 EV batteries annually.

Produce enough battery-grade nickel to supply approximately 400,000 EVs annually.

Install the first large-scale, commercial lithium electrolyte salt production facility in the U.S.

Develop an electrode binder facility capable of supplying 45% of the anticipated domestic demand for binders for EV batteries in 2030.

Install the first lithium iron phosphate cathode facility in the U.S.

"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," said Granholm.

A summary of the companies' issued grants and the 20 proposed projects to expand the domestic manufacturing of lithium battery materials can be read at 20 Battery companies awarded $2.8 billion in the current edition of Metal Tech News.

Battery Workforce Initiative

On top of administering $2.8 billion in grants to companies along America's burgeoning lithium-ion battery supply chain, DOE is heading up the White House's Battery Workforce Initiative, a whole-of-government effort to secure a reliable and sustainable supply of critical battery materials.

This includes the implementation of a Biden administration strategy that is based on a minerals and large capacity battery supply chain review ordered by the President.

Recommendations of this review include:

Take a mineral-by-mineral approach to both expand sustainable and environmentally responsible domestic mining, processing, and recycling of critical minerals.

Work with partners and allies to diversify international supply chains, recognizing that America's national and economic security is bolstered through strong alliances and international coalitions of reliable partners.

Develop a faster and fairer domestic process that meets strong environmental and labor standards, that ensures meaningful community engagement and consultation with Tribal Nations, and reduces time and cost of permitting.

"The American Battery Materials Initiative will align and leverage federal resources for growing the end-to-end battery supply chain; work with stakeholders, allies, and partners to develop more sustainable, secure, resilient supply chains; and support faster and fairer permitting for projects that build the domestic supply chain," the White House summarized in its fact sheet.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

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With more than 16 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.


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