The Energy Department awarded nearly $74 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law for 10 projects to advance recycling and reuse of batteries for electric vehicles and other purposes. The funding will go to academic and commercial applicants in seven states, including four in California. Other grant winners are in Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, Indiana and Alabama.
The University of California-San Diego will receive $10 million to develop and scale-up technology to recycle lithium-ion batteries, while Element Energy in Menlo Park, Calif., will receive $7.9 million for a wind-energy project in west Texas. The company is working with Next Era Energy Resources to pursue commercial-scale technology to boost the second-life battery market for energy storage.
Sales of electric vehicles have skyrocketed in the past two years and are expected to continue rising under the $1 trillion infrastructure law signed last year and the climate-and-health law adopted in August. “With demand for critical battery minerals, such as lithium and graphite, projected to increase by as much as 4,000% in the coming decades, this latest round of funding supports the recycling and reuse segment of the domestic battery supply chain,” the Energy Department said. The projects should help accelerate battery production in America, mitigate battery supply chain disruptions and create good-paying jobs, officials said.