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DOE deploys funds for battery recycling

Consumer recycling, battery R&D, latest li-ion competition Metal Tech News – June 14, 2023

Piggybacking off its initial Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize, the U.S. Department of Energy announced more than $192 million in new funding for recycling batteries from consumer products, launching an advanced battery research and development consortium.

With electric vehicles and stationary energy storage projected to increase the lithium battery market by as much as ten-fold by 2030, DOE says it is essential to invest in sustainable and lower-cost recycling of consumer batteries in support of a resilient and circular domestic critical materials supply chain.

"The United States is leading the way in developing advanced battery technologies that will power our clean energy future and boost our global competitiveness," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. "These investments in battery production and recycling will ensure the U.S. has a secure and sustainable domestic supply chain and strengthens our economy."

As of April, more than 3.6 million plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in America. With battery costs having fallen more than 90% since 2008 and the energy density and performance of those batteries increasing, the federal agency has opted to deploy the $125 million Consumer Electronics Battery Recycling, Reprocessing, and Battery Collection funding opportunity, taking advantage of the $7 billion authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to grow and secure America's battery supply chain.

Consumer electronics

To incentivize the veritable untouched "gold mine" that is recycling consumer electronics, the latest funding opportunity will primarily focus on the development and implementation of education to:

Increase participation by consumers in existing battery recycling programs.

Improve the economics of recycling consumer electronics batteries to spur greater recycling.

Assist states and local governments in establishing or enhancing battery collection, recycling, and reprocessing programs.

Help retailers implement programs to collect, sort, store, and transport consumer electronics.

This funding, which will be administered by DOE's Vehicle Technologies Office and Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains, supports goals and targets detailed in the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries' (FCAB) National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries.

For those seeking to participate, concept papers are due Aug. 17, with the final deadline for full application to be complete by Nov. 29.

R&D consortium

The rapid growth of EV manufacturing and adoption across vehicle classes will require new solutions for challenges associated with raw materials and critical minerals; therefore, substantial research and development is required for new or alternative battery chemistries that can achieve lower costs and use more abundant materials.

Portioning aside roughly $60 million, the Advanced Battery R&D Consortium funding opportunity hopes to convene major manufacturers of EVs in the U.S., universities, national laboratory partners, mineral and material suppliers, and other key battery stakeholders to address critical battery needs for the next phase of wide-scale EV commercialization.

The consortium seeks to advance battery research and development that is relevant and responsive to the needs of EV manufacturers and to further develop a domestic battery supply chain and recycling capabilities that are essential to meeting the rapidly growing demand for EV batteries.

Integral to DOE's efforts to develop advanced transportation technologies, the federal agency hopes the consortium will help decarbonize the transportation sector and significantly reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

Applications for the consortium funding opportunity are due by Sept. 8.

Lithium-ion prize

First launched in 2019, the Battery Recycling Prize has awarded $5.5 million for innovative solutions to collecting, sorting, storing, and transporting spent and discarded lithium-ion batteries.

In recognition of its ongoing importance in informing larger battery recycling efforts, DOE announced $7.4 million toward the funding of a new breakthrough contest, as well as phase four of the prize.

Hoping to incentivize the development of solutions that meet the overall Battery Recycling Prize goal, the breakthrough contest is open to industry entrepreneurs, including new or former Battery Recycling Prize participants, and will bolster participation from new competitors while providing additional support to phase three winning teams.

Phase four: Demonstration of Impact, will challenge participants to prove how effectively their solutions contribute to moving spent or discarded batteries from consumers to recyclers across all commercial uses.

The goal of the Battery Recycling Prize is to incentivize American entrepreneurs to develop and demonstrate technologies that, when scaled, have the potential to profitably capture 90% of all discarded or spent lithium-based batteries in the U.S. for recovery of key materials that can be reintroduced into the American supply chain.


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