As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden administration announced that a new round of federal funds to support the US battery manufacturing industry is becoming available. This $3.5 billion package is the second part of a large $6 billion-plus program that awarded funds to its first applicants last year.
Under the new package, the first round of initial concept papers is due to the Department of Energy by January 9, 2024. Full applications to be considered in the first round must be submitted by March 19, 2024. The DOE will be conducting four funding rounds for this initiative, with a minimum federal award of $50 million and a maximum of $300 million. In August 2024, the DOE will announce the applications that will be funded in the first round.
This package is specifically focused on the extraction and development of raw materials for batteries alongside battery manufacturing and recycling. You can read all the specific requirements on the DOE’s Infrastructure Exchange website, which are described in detail in a 141-page document.
Some areas of the battery supply chain this funding is specifically seeking to encourage include lithium extraction in both hard-rock and brine mining operations, silane gas production for battery precursors, and rare earth metals. On the battery production side, a variety of cells and chemistries are eligible for funding, including next-generation solid-state batteries and their various components. Both pilot and commercial-scale projects are eligible for funds.
You can read the DOE’s press release on the funding here.
More funding for domestic battery manufacturing is undoubtedly a great thing. Global battery production is rapidly accelerating, and the US still lags behind leaders like China in this area — possibly by 10 to 20 years‘ equivalent infrastructure development.
In particular, funding advanced solid-state and other experimental chemistries could help the US regain some advantage in this space, along with support for innovative and sustainable extraction techniques for materials like lithium, cobalt, and graphite that are currently pulled from the earth with significant environmental and sometimes geopolitical ramifications.
We’ll be eagerly awaiting the list of companies funded as part of the first round next year.
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