4 steps the US is taking right now to boost battery manufacturing

The Biden administration is keen to boost battery manufacturing on home soil as soon as possible. But in case you didn’t notice, the Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads in Congress on Biden’s huge infrastructure plan. So here are four steps the Department of Energy is going to take right now to boost EV and clean energy storage battery production in the US.

The US Department of Energy’s ultimate goal is to increase domestic battery manufacturing while investing to scale the full lithium battery supply chain. That includes the sustainable sourcing and processing of critical minerals used in battery production, all the way through to end-of-life battery collection and recycling.

Here are four things the DOE is going to kick off right now:

Strengthen US manufacturing requirements in federally funded grants, cooperative agreements, and R&D contracts. From here on out, all innovators using taxpayer money through DOE Science and Energy Programs will have to “substantially” manufacture those products in the US in order to create domestic jobs. (We don’t know how the DOE quantifies “substantially.” We’re going to guess it’s in the small print.)

Procure stationary battery storage. The DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) will evaluate current opportunities for deploying battery storage at federal sites. FEMP will also call for projects from federal sites interested in deploying energy storage projects and provide the technical assistance needed to get those projects built. 

Finance the EV advanced battery supply chain. The DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program has around $17 billion that it can loan to manufacturers of vehicle battery cells and packs so they can re-equip, expand, or establish US manufacturing facilities.

Release the “National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries” report. Done – the report debuted yesterday. The Federal Consortium on Advanced Batteries (FCAB), which is chaired by the DOE and includes other federal agencies, released a report titled, “National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries.” It’s a 10-year government-wide plan to develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain, with an emphasis on job creation.

The DOE also has six battery supply-chain boost recommendations for Congress, which you can read here, but the DOE should probably take a seat in the Capitol building’s waiting room. It’s gonna be a while.

Photo: Excell Battery Company

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.