The U.S. Department of Energy issued a request for information this week to help inform the investment of $335 million in funding for lithium-ion battery recycling that was included in the 2021 infrastructure law.
“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,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a statement, adding that “securing our supply chain here at home will allow more Americans to benefit from the many clean technologies powered by lithium batteries.”
The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021, contains numerous recycling and renewable energy initiatives. The agency said this latest request builds on a May announcement about $3.16 billion in funding from the law for domestic manufacturing of EV batteries. That included $60 million in funding focused on second-life applications for EV batteries as well as new recycling processes.
Even before the passage of policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the infrastructure law, the lithium-ion battery recycling sector has experienced significant growth and investment in recent years. This week’s announcement is focused on investments that can “accelerate the collection, transportation, processing, and recycling of batteries and scrap materials, enable second-life applications of lithium-ion batteries previously used to power electric vehicles, and support high-quality jobs for American workers.”
As outlined in the RFI, the agency is seeking feedback on three sets of questions related to different sections of the infrastructure law. The $335 million in funding will be awarded through a variety of competitive grants, with funding expected to occur through fiscal year 2026.
The Biden administration has emphasized environmental justice considerations as it plans to distribute separate funding to boost infrastructure and education for the recycling of other materials. That is also the case for the battery recycling funding, with a goal of 40% of the funding to reach disadvantaged communities, in line with the administration’s Justice40 initiative.
The RFI encourages project proposals that would create jobs in low-income communities and tribal areas and jobs for workers previously employed in manufacturing, coal power plants or coal mining.
RFI responses are due by 5 p.m. EST on Oct. 14.