Picture: Ascend Elements

The US government Department of Energy has begun implementation of a US$335 million programme to support battery recycling.  

The DOE has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input to help guide the programme, which aims to foster and support battery recycling capabilities within the US. 

It has arisen due to the importance of batteries in grid storage and for transportation. It follows a similar RFI being issued earlier this month by the department for research and development (R&D) into so-called Critical Materials, which included ingredients for batteries. 

Much conversation around the US clean energy sector and government support has rightly focused on the more recent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and what that will do to unlock US$369 billion total investment into climate change mitigation and energy security. 

However, the recycling and Critical Materials R&D programmes are being funded with money set aside through the earlier Bipartisan Infrastructure Law aka the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The US$1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in November 2021. 

“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,” US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said yesterday. 

“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.” 

Companys such as Li-Cycle, Ascend Elements and Redwood Materials have already started recycling batteries in North America and have been a great success 

Feedback is being sought on how federal investments can accelerate the recycling value chain from collection and transport to processing and recycling.  

Input on second life applications will also be welcomed, as will suggestions on how to support US workers in the industry, including how to align with the Biden-Harris administration’s objectives of enabling a just and equitable energy transition.