US Announces $192 Million Funding to Boost Battery Recycling

Funding of $125 million will support consumer electronics battery recycling and reprocessing


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced over $192 million in new funding for recycling batteries from consumer products, launching an advanced battery research and development (R&D) consortium, and continuing the Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Prize.

The funds will support the administration’s target to have electric vehicles (EV) make up for half of all vehicle sales in the country by 2030.

The new funding opportunity builds on the $3 billion funding announced by the Biden administration last year under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support domestic battery manufacturing and supply chains.

Consumer Electronics Battery Recycling, Reprocessing, and Collection

The DOE announced $125 million in support for consumer electronics battery recycling, reprocessing, and battery collection.

The funding aims to address critical areas within the consumer electronics battery recycling domain and advance sustainability efforts.

The initiative would play a vital role in implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which authorized $7 billion to strengthen and secure America’s battery supply chain.

Further, the DOE will conduct behavior change campaigns to increase consumer participation in existing battery recycling programs. These campaigns are expected to encourage individuals to actively engage in battery recycling and contribute to a more sustainable future by raising awareness and promoting behavior change.

Improving the economics of recycling consumer electronics batteries is another crucial aspect that will be addressed.

Under the funding, technological advancements and cost-reduction strategies will be explored to make battery recycling economically attractive for businesses and consumers alike.

The funding opportunity also aims to assist states and local governments in establishing or enhancing battery collection, recycling, and reprocessing programs.

The funding opportunity encourages retailers to implement dedicated programs to facilitate the proper collection, sorting, storage, and transportation of consumer electronics batteries.

By supporting retailers in developing effective programs, the DOE aims to improve the overall efficiency and accessibility of battery recycling efforts.

The DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office and the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains will administer this funding to support the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries’ National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries goals.

Advanced Battery R&D Consortium

The Advanced Battery R&D Consortium aims to allocate up to $60 million to bring together major manufacturers of EVs in the U.S., universities, partners from national laboratories, suppliers of minerals and materials, and other key stakeholders in the battery industry.

The primary objective is to address critical battery requirements for the next phase of widespread EV commercialization.

The consortium’s primary focus is to advance battery research and development that aligns with the needs of EV manufacturers.

It will play a crucial role in the DOE’s initiatives to develop advanced transportation technologies while contributing to the decarbonization of the transportation sector.

Additionally, it seeks to foster the growth of a domestic battery supply chain and enhance recycling capabilities, both of which are vital to meet the rapidly increasing demand for EV batteries.

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Prize

The Biden administration has also continued the Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Prize that commenced in 2019. The prize emerged as a driving force in promoting innovative solutions for collecting, sorting, storing, and transporting spent lithium-ion batteries.

Its significant contributions to advancing battery recycling efforts have led to the DOE announcing an additional $7.4 million in funding.

The funding will support the introduction of the Breakthrough Contest and Phase IV of the Battery Recycling Prize, further incentivizing the development of groundbreaking solutions.

The contest aims to attract industry entrepreneurs, including both new and former prize participants. By encouraging a diverse range of competitors, it seeks to tap into fresh perspectives and ideas that align with the overarching goals of the Battery Recycling Prize. It also provides additional support to Phase III winning teams, fostering an environment of collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Demonstrating Practical Impact

Phase IV, named Demonstration of Impact, emphasizes the importance of translating innovative ideas into tangible actions within the battery recycling process.

The primary objective of this phase will be to showcase the real-world effectiveness of proposed solutions in facilitating the seamless movement of spent or discarded batteries from consumers to recyclers across diverse commercial applications.

The Breakthrough Contest and Phase IV further enhance the prize’s impact by inspiring new ideas, supporting winners, and demanding concrete evidence of the efficacy of proposed solutions.

The Battery Recycling Prize is expected to catalyze American entrepreneurs to develop and showcase cutting-edge technologies capable of profitably capturing 90% of all discarded or spent lithium-based batteries in the country for the recovery of key materials and reintroduction in the supply chain.

The prize envisions a future where circularity and resource conservation are central to battery waste management.

Last year, the DOE issued a request for information seeking guidance in implementing $335 million investments from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for lithium-ion battery recycling programs.