United States

Up until 2009, the United States was heavily dependent on Asia for its supply of lithium-ion batteries. In order to push the domestic battery manufacturing industry, the American government awarded approximately 2.2 billion euros in grants, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to manufacturers of Li-ion battery cells, modules and packs. Today, despite the more than 125 establishments with a combined revenue upwards of 12.5 billion euros, the US battery industry controls less than 20% of the global Li-ion cell production capacity [1].

In terms of the repurpose, reuse and recycling of Li-ion batteries, most of the efforts to improve the collection and processing of end-of-life (EoL) batteries are not marketable and are usually kept at the research and academic levels. However, the quantity of EoL Li-ion batteries expected to be available from an aging fleet of EVs together with an increasing amount of electronics being upgraded and disposed has started to draw attention from companies; especially those heavily reliant on the supply chain of minerals and materials used for battery manufacturing.

In January of 2019, the US Department of Energy launched the creation of its first Li-ion battery recycling R&D center entitled ‘ReCell’. According to Jeffrey S. Spangenberger, the program’s director, ReCell’s key goals include making Li-ion battery recycling competitive and profitable and using recycling to help reduce US dependence on foreign sources of cobalt and other battery materials [2]. The initiative will receive approximately 13.5 million euros investment over three years and is comprised of a collaboration between Argonne National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), several universities and companies from across the Li-ion battery supply chain. ReCell’s final goal is to create a feasible method for batteries to be recycled, thus reducing American dependency on foreign nations for its supply of materials such as lithium and cobalt. The project is closely aligned with the 2019 American president’s Executive Order 13817, which identifies the need for ​“developing critical minerals recycling and reprocessing technologies” as part of a broader strategy to ​“ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” [3]

References:

[1] “Bloomberg - Are you a robot?” [Online]. Available: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-29/u-s-lags-china-expands-in-race-for-electric-vehicle-dominance. [Accessed: 31-Oct-2019].

[2] M. Jacoby, “It’s time to get serious about recycling lithium-ion batteries,” Chemical & Engineering News, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://cen.acs.org/materials/energy-storage/time-serious-recycling-lithium/97/i28. [Accessed: 31-Oct-2019].
[3] “DOE launches its first lithium-ion battery recycling R&D center: ReCell | Argonne National Laboratory.” [Online]. Available: https://www.anl.gov/article/doe-launches-its-first-lithiumion-battery-recycling-rd-center-recell. [Accessed: 31-Oct-2019].

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