The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the availability of $192 million for advancements in battery recycling and the establishment of a consortium dedicated to battery research and development. This investment brings the total amount allocated by the Biden administration for electric vehicle (EV) and battery technologies to nearly $3 billion.
In a news release, it was emphasized that the demand for EVs and stationary energy storage is expected to increase the lithium battery market by up to tenfold by 2030—making it crucial to invest in sustainable and cost-effective recycling of consumer batteries to support a secure, resilient, and circular domestic supply chain for critical materials.
Approximately $125 million of the funding will be directed toward consumer electronics battery recycling, reprocessing, and battery collection advancements. This money can be used for various battery-related projects, including the development of educational campaigns, behavior change initiatives, and assistance to retailers in collecting, sorting, storing, and transporting consumer electronics batteries.
Projects chosen to receive funding must also contribute to the development of the American workforce and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, according to the announcement. Concept papers for these projects are due on August 17, while the deadline for full applications is November 29.
The advanced battery R&D consortium, comprising universities, National Laboratory partners, major electric vehicle manufacturers, mineral and material suppliers, and other stakeholders, will receive up to $60 million. This consortium aims to support the development of alternative battery chemistries that are cost-effective, use fewer rare materials, and promote recycling. Interested parties must submit their applications, along with a community benefits plan, by September 8.
Additionally, the Department of Energy will continue to offer the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize, which was initiated in 2019. An allocation of $7.4 million has been made for a "Breakthrough Contest" and the fourth phase of the prize program, titled "Demonstration of Impact." The Breakthrough Contest welcomes participation from industry entrepreneurs, including previous contestants, and will provide further support to winning teams from the third phase. In the fourth phase, participants will be challenged to demonstrate the effectiveness of their solutions in facilitating the movement of batteries from consumers to recyclers.