The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has today unveiled the initial set of initiatives that are financed by President Obama’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will expand the manufacturing in the United States of batteries used that power electric vehicle (EVs) as well as the electric grid and for components that are that are currently imported from foreign countries. These 20 companies will be awarded an aggregate of $2.8 billion to build and develop commercial-scale facilities in 12 states that will extract and refine graphite, lithium and other materials for batteries, create components and test innovative methods, such as the production of components made from recycled materials. The Federal funding will be shared by recipients to leverage an amount of over $9 billion to boost American production of clean energy technology, create good-paying employment opportunities, and further aid President Biden’s goals for electric cars to be a major component of new vehicle sales before 2030, as well as transition into a net zero emissions economy in 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,” stated U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “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.”
Although the plug-in EV sales have increased by three times in the time since President Biden was elected however, the U.S. depends on foreign sources to supply many of the refined versions of the crucial minerals needed to produce EV batteries. Since the beginning of his presidency Biden-Harris’ administration is taking swift steps to ensure a stable and sustainable battery supply chain. The grants announced today are an important next step in that strategy. The funded projects announced today will include U.S. process and recycling of crucial minerals for domestic production. Sustainable and responsible domestic sourcing of essential materials in the production of lithium-ion batteries – such as cobalt, lithium, graphite and nickel–will improve the American supply chain, speed up battery production in order to meet the growing demands, and ensure our nation’s competitiveness in the economy, energy independence and security.
The funds for selected projects will be used to support:
- Developing enough battery-grade lithium to provide about 2 million EVs annually
- Making enough graphite for battery grade to make approximately 1.2 million EVs every year
- The production of enough battery-grade nickel is enough to supply approximately 400,000 EVs each year.
- The first massive-scale commercial lithium electrolyte (LiPF6) manufacturing plant within the United States
- Developing an electrode binder facility that can supply 45% of the anticipated national demand for binders to electric vehicles in 2030.
- Creating the first commercial scale local silicon oxide manufacturing facility to provide anode material for an estimated 600,000 EV batteries per year
- Installation of the first cathode of lithium iron phosphate facility in the United States
- Presently, the majority of lithium, graphiteand battery-grade nickel, electrolyte salt electrode binder, as well as iron phosphate cathode material are produced abroad, and China is the main supplier for a number of these important ingredients.
Workforce and Community Engagement
DOE examined applications based on technical merits and contributions to increasing American manufacturing of high-tech batteries, as well as on applicants’ commitments to provide benefits for their people and communities. The applicants submitted plans to collaboration with local community stakeholders, Tribal nations, environmental organizations and unions to make sure that funded projects will create jobs of high quality and promote equity, diversity access, equity, and inclusion and make a significant contribution in the Justice40 initiative, which aims to give 40percent of benefit from federal investments in clean energy for communities that are marginalized and unrepresented.
From the 20 businesses chosen, five will construct new facilities in disadvantaged communities or in areas adjacent to disadvantaged communities. Six announced projects set goals to hire residents of disadvantaged communities into permanent roles, and 13 of the projects have commitments to negotiate Workforce and Community Agreements. These agreements are focused upon interacting with the host community as well as labor unions or Tribal organizations, in order to reach an agreement on benefits for the community and to implement strategies. At least two funded projects are covered by collective bargaining agreements that cover the construction as well as ongoing production work, while nine projects have committed to non-union labor, with two projects already working on Proposed Labor Agreements that include unions representing their employees.
The grantees will employ workers from many different construction and industrial unions and 15 of the projects are collaborating with minority-serving institutions like Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in order to employ and train workers. The facilities that are being renovated and upgraded funded through these awards will be expected to support over 8,000 new jobs including 5,000 permanent jobs.
The funding announced today represents the beginning of the $7 billion total, which was provided by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to strengthen the battery supply chain in the United States by assisting upstream material processing in order to produce the raw materials to make batteries. DOE expects to move quickly with additional funding options to ensure that gaps are filled and strengthen the domestic battery supply chain.
DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) is responsible to strengthen and secure production and supply chains for energy needed to modernize the nation’s infrastructure of energy as well as support a clean and equitable energy transition. MESC is responsible for managing the portfolio of projects supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.
American Battery Material Initiative
Additionally, President Obama announced the formation of the American Battery Material Initiative, which is a focused effort to integrate Federal initiatives and investments both domestically and internationally, in order to speed up the growth of the full end-to-end battery supply chain, including crucial minerals and resources we need to meet production and deployment goals. The Initiative will be managed by DOE along with the support of the Department of the Interior, as well as working closely with the Partnership on Global Infrastructure and Investment and the Department of State to align and make use of a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the Federal government to support and grow the battery supply chain, which includes sources through The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. The Initiative will facilitate the efforts of both countries to accelerate permitting for critical minerals projects, ensuring that it is the United States develops the resources needed by the country in an efficient and timely manner, while strengthening Tribal consultation, community engagement and environmental regulations to create smarter, more efficient and better.
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