DOE seeks public opinion of plans to improve domestic battery recycling

Published on September 06, 2022 by Chris Galford

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a request for information (RFI) at the end of August seeking public input on a program to invest $335 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into lithium-ion battery recycling programs.

Officials envision the effort as a critical point of support for clean energy technologies, where such batteries shine, providing energy storage and electric vehicles. The Biden administration, therefore, sees lithium-ion batteries as a domestic resource capable of expanding clean transportation, jobs, and the White House’s own decarbonization goals. However, all things come with a lifespan, and batteries are no exception.

“Battery recycling doesn’t just remove harmful waste from our environment; it also strengthens domestic manufacturing by placing used materials back into the supply chain,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making big investments in our clean energy and transportation future, and securing our supply chain here at home will allow more Americans to benefit from the many clean technologies powered by lithium batteries.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will inject $3.16 billion into battery-related efforts. The bulk of this – $3.1 billion – will benefit battery materials refining and production plants, battery cells, pack manufacturing facilities, and recycling facilities. Another $60 million will support new uses for batteries formerly used in electric vehicles and develop new processes to recycle them back into the supply chain.

For this portion of the project, DOE wants public opinions on how these investments could speed up the collection, transportation, processing, and recycling of batteries and scrap materials, provide second-life applications for lithium-ion batteries and spur new jobs for the domestic workforce. Responses are due no later than Oct. 14, 2022.