The USA’s Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the first round of winners of its Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Prize.
The Battery Recycling Prize is administered by the DOE’s sustainable innovation arm the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and forms part of the department’s drive to increase recycling of cobalt and lithium, both of which feature heavily in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, in order to reduce US dependence on mining of the two materials. Each of the 15 winning projects received $67,000 (€61,374.32) for implementing sustainable, cost effective processes to reclaim, sort, store and recycle lithium-ion batteries, which are found in a diverse array of devices including electric vehicles (EVs), mobile phones and power tools: currently, only 5% of lithium-ion batteries in the US are recycled once they are spent.
Daniel R Simmons, the DOE’s Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said: “This prize encourages American entrepreneurs, like these prize winners, to find innovative solutions to collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling. The goal of these efforts is to develop technologies to profitably capture 90% of all lithium based battery technologies in the United States and recover 90% of the key materials from the collected batteries. These efforts will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, strengthening America’s economic growth and energy security.”
The second phase of the DOE’s Battery Recycling Prize, to be focused on ways to standardise the process of recycling materials used in electric vehicle batteries, will offer winners between $250,000 and $500,000 (€228,974.67 to €457,949.35); while the third phase, which will reward innovative ways of scaling up battery recycling protocols to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles – the number of electric vehicles in the US is projected to grow by 100% by 2025 and 300% by 2030 – will feature prizes between $500,000 and $1m (€915,883).