Doe Roundtable Zoom

Energy Secretary, Industry Leaders Discuss Efforts to Develop Domestic Battery Supply Chains

June 16, 2021
Discussion on how the federal government and private industry can collaborate to strengthen the domestic lithium battery supply chain.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm recently hosted a roundtable discussion with seven members of the lithium battery industry — each actively representing a segment of the battery supply chain — on how the federal government and private industry can collaborate to strengthen the domestic lithium battery supply chain.

Advanced, lithium-based batteries play an integral role in 21st-century technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs), stationary grid storage, and defense applications that will be critical to securing America's clean energy future. Today, the United States relies heavily on importing advanced battery components from abroad, exposing the nation to supply chain vulnerabilities that threaten to disrupt the availability and cost of these technologies, as well as the workforce that manufactures them.

"America has a clear opportunity to build back our domestic supply chain and manufacturing sectors, so we can capture the full benefits of an emerging US$23 trillion global clean energy economy," Granholm said. "The American Jobs Plan will unlock massive opportunities for U.S. businesses as it spurs innovation and demand for technologies — like vehicle batteries and battery storage — creating clean energy jobs for all."

Granholm, joined by U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18), spoke to recommendations of the recently released National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021-2030, which lays out critical goals and key actions to guide federal agency collaboration to accelerate and support a resilient domestic lithium battery supply chain. The blueprint, developed by the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB), underscores the need for strong collaboration across the federal government, U.S. academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial stakeholders, and international allies.

"The administration's commitment to bringing back manufacturing and supply chains we need here in America is not only commendable but also essential. Our national security and economic prosperity depend on it," said Doyle. "I believe that the battery manufacturing industry can be an example to others that with smart federal investments, the private sector can bring manufacturing to the United States. That would be great for our economy and our workers."

During the roundtable discussion, supply-chain participants shared both the challenges and opportunities of their ongoing operations and plans for growing their operations in the United States.

"The goals for electrification are at risk to the limitations in the supply chain. We see an incredible opportunity in resource recovery so we don't lose resources already in the product supply chain and don't export them in ways that don't benefit our local competitiveness," said JB Straubel, cofounder and CEO of Redwood Materials, which recently announced plans for hundreds of millions in new investments to scale up its battery recycling efforts, including a new 100-acre recycling facility in Northern Nevada that will create hundreds of new jobs. "We're focused on inventing and scaling the technologies that most efficiently recover materials from lithium-ion batteries and reuse them with high use."

"The United States does not currently have the complete supply chain for lithium-ion battery manufacturing," said Dr. Subra Herle, director at Applied Materials. "The government can help bring pieces together to make this happen, help increase innovation, and fund the supply chain consortium of stakeholders across the value chain, as has been done in the semiconductor industry."

During the discussion, Granholm also announced US$200 million in funding over the next five years for EVs, batteries, and connected vehicles projects at Department of Energy (DOE) national labs, which will support EV innovation and decarbonize the transportation sector, the top source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. This funding is open to the DOE's network of 17 national laboratories and is administered by the DOE's Vehicle Technologies Office.

Download the report and view a recording of the roundtable.

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