US DOE to support domestic manufacturing with US$24.5mn
The US Department of Energy (DOE) reports its plans to support domestic manufacturing improvements to build resilient, modern electricity infrastructure and address environmental challenges.
The DOE plans to fund up to US$24.5mn to back the research and development (R&D) for the materials and technologies needed to:
- Expand the grid with new, clean-energy sources
- Deliver affordable electricity to disadvantaged communities
- Help reach Biden’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
“By investing in American-made, clean-energy technologies, the Department of Energy is harnessing our country’s innovative spirit to build an equitable and sustainable energy system. These funding opportunities will help manufacture the next-generation energy storage systems and power lines that support President Biden’s climate goals, create and sustain U.S. jobs, and build a strong, secure, and efficient electric grid,” commented Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
The US Department of Energy (DOE)’s funding opportunities
Enhancing flow battery system manufacturing
As part of the ‘Flow Battery Systems Manufacturing’ funding opportunity, the DOE will award up to US$20mn for R&D projects focusing on flow battery systems. “By partnering with industry to address flow battery challenges, this opportunity can help position the United States as a world leader in the next-generation energy storage technologies,” commented the DOE.
Advancing electricity-conducing materials manufacturing
As part of The Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric applications (CABLE) Conductor which will award up to $4.5 million in cash and vouchers, DOE will support the commercialisation of affordable, manufacturable materials that will conduct electricity more efficiently.
CABLE is a three-stage, three-year prize, where participants aim to identify and verify new materials and methods to enhance conductivity, as well as a method to produce the material affordably.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.