Department of Energy boosts domestic battery supply chain with billions in funding

The Department of Energy (DOE) opened billions of dollars in funding today to build domestic battery supply chains. Batteries will be crucial in the Biden government’s plans to transition the country to electric vehicles and clean energy.

The DOE says in his Announcement that it will give $3.1 billion to companies to “incentivize the establishment of new, retrofit and expanded commercial facilities” to process materials, make batteries and recycle them at the end of their life. Another $60 million in grants from the DOE will fund efforts to find second uses for old EV batteries. The money comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed last year.

The bigger picture: The Biden administration has set some pretty big goals for clean energy and transportation in the US. He promised the US, under the Paris climate agreement, to halve greenhouse gas emissions this decade. To do that, the board wants to run the electricity grid completely carbon-free energy by 2035 and ensure that by the end of the decade, half of all new car sales will be electric or hybrid vehicles.

That kind of future depends on having battery technology to make electric vehicles more affordable and to store wind and solar energy so it’s available when the sun and wind die down.

Without taking action, a DO analysis last year it was found that the US battery production capacity cannot even meet half of the projected demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles by 2028. Currently, battery supply chains are particularly vulnerable because they concentrated in only a handful of countries. That has led to allegations of labor abuse, such as a lawsuit against Tesla and other companies for the deaths of child laborers.

Today’s announcement is just the latest in a series of steps the Biden administration has taken to get their hands on more (and better) batteries. In March, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic mining and processing of minerals such as nickel, lithium, cobalt, graphite and manganese, which are essential for making batteries. Last June, the Department of Energy published a “national blueprint” for making lithium batteries. All in all, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law covers $7 billion for domestic battery supply chains — from collecting raw materials to making battery cells and recycling them at the end of their life.

SOURCE – www.theverge.com

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