WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Biden administration announced on Oct 19, 2022 that the Department of Energy will give $2.8 billion in grants to 20 companies across the US. These grants will encourage the production of materials to make EV batteries in the US. The money comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and it will be used for a new program called the “American Battery Materials Initiative.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as adopted in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, enables as much as $108 billion to be spent on public transportation in the US. This represents the largest investment made by the federal government in public transit in the annals of the country’s history.
The goal of this program is to make sure that EVs and electric infrastructure have a steady supply of minerals. Since the Biden administration wants half of all new cars sold in the US to be electric vehicles by 2030, we’ll need to make a lot more batteries before then.
The funding for the selected projects will support:
- Developing enough battery-grade lithium to supply approximately 2 million EVs annually
- Developing enough battery-grade graphite to supply approximately 1.2 million EVs annually
- Producing enough battery-grade nickel to supply approximately 400,000 EVs annually
- Installing the first large-scale, commercial lithium electrolyte salt (LiPF6) production facility in the United States
- Developing an electrode binder facility capable of supplying 45% of the anticipated domestic demand for binders for EV batteries in 2030
- Creating the first commercial-scale domestic silicon oxide production facilities to supply anode materials for an estimated 600,000 EV batteries annually
- Installing the first lithium iron phosphate cathode facility in the United States
- Currently, virtually all lithium, graphite, battery-grade nickel, electrolyte salt, electrode binder, and iron phosphate cathode material are produced abroad, and China controls the supply chains for many of these key inputs.
The Biden administration wrote in a briefing that the U.S. and its allies don’t make enough of the important minerals and battery materials needed to power clean energy technologies. China controls a lot of the critical mineral supply chain right now, and the U.S. doesn’t have the capacity to mine, process, or recycle minerals.
This could slow down the development and use of electric vehicles and make the U.S. dependent on unreliable foreign supply chains.
With the new money, projects will be able to find enough battery-grade lithium to make 2 million EVs per year, as well as enough graphite and nickel to make 1.2 million and 400,000 EVs per year, respectively. It will also make it possible to build the first lithium iron phosphate cathode plant and the first large-scale lithium electrolyte salt plant in the United States.
The $2.8 million in grants will be doubled by the people who get them, according to the Biden administration. This will mean that more than $9 billion will be spent on making EV batteries.
If car companies want to make EVs that take full advantage of the Biden administration’s new $7,500 tax credit, they will also need more local supply sources. For example, batteries and minerals will need to be made in the US.