US announces $2.8 billion in grants for mineral production for electric vehicle batteries

October 19, 2022

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that it is awarding $2.8 billion in grants for projects that will increase domestic mineral production and increase manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries in the United States.

The Biden administration also announced that it is launching the American Battery Material Initiative, to strengthen critical mineral supply chains as automakers race to expand U.S. electric vehicle (EV) and battery production.

Reuters reported that Albemarle Corp and Piedmont Lithium Inc are among the 20 manufacturing and processing companies in at least 12 states winning grants from the DOE. The funds will be used to develop enough battery-grade lithium, graphite, and nickel and the first large-scale, U.S. commercial lithium electrolyte salt production facility.

The White House said funding for the selected projects will support developing enough battery-grade lithium to supply approximately 2 million EVs annually; developing enough battery-grade graphite to supply approximately 1.2 million EVs annually; producing enough battery-grade nickel to supply approximately 400,000 EVs annually; installing the first large-scale, commercial lithium electrolyte salt (LiPF6) production facility in the United States; developing an electrode binder facility capable of supplying 45 percent of the anticipated domestic demand for binders for EV batteries in 2030; creating the first commercial scale domestic silicon oxide production facilities to supply anode materials for an estimated 600,000 EV batteries annually and installing the first lithium iron phosphate cathode facility in the United States.

The supply-chain effort, led by a White House steering committee and coordinated by the Department of Energy with support from the Interior Department, aims to “mobilize the entire government in securing a reliable and sustainable supply of critical minerals used for power, electricity, and electric vehicles,” the White House said.

By 2030, President Joe Biden wants 50 percent of all new vehicles sold to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric models along with 500,000 new EV charging stations. He has not endorsed the phasing-out of new gasoline-powered vehicle sales by 2030.

Legislation Biden signed in August sets new strict battery component and sourcing requirements for $7,500 consumer EV tax credits. A separate $1 trillion infrastructure law signed in November 2021 allocates $7 billion to ensure U.S. manufacturers can access critical minerals and other necessary components to manufacture the batteries.

The White House said in a fact sheet the United States and its allies do not produce enough of the critical minerals and materials used in EV batteries.

It said: “China currently controls much of the critical mineral supply chain and the lack of mining, processing, and recycling capacity in the U.S. could hinder electric vehicle development and adoption, leaving the U.S. dependent on unreliable foreign supply chains.”

In March, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for EV batteries.



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