From consumer electronics to national defense, lithium (Li)-ion batteries power our daily lives. Over the past 10 years, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) commitment to battery R&D has reduced the cost of Li-ion batteries by 80%, lowering the cost of electric vehicle battery packs to an estimated $197/kWh. To continue driving down costs for consumers and businesses, we must ensure that the United States has a sustainable supply chain of materials and reduce our reliance on critical materials. DOE’s work, detailed in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office’s (VTO) Research Plan to Reduce, Recycle, and Recover Critical Materials in Lithium-Ion Batteries, is at the forefront of battery R&D.
DOE’s R&D portfolio addresses three pillars: diversifying global supply chains to mitigate supply risk; developing material and technology substitutes; and promoting recycling, reuse, and more efficient use to significantly lower global demand for critical materials. To mitigate potential Li-ion battery critical materials supply risks, DOE’s goal, by September 2022, is to reduce the cost of electric vehicle battery packs to less than an estimated $150/kWh with technologies that significantly reduce or eliminate dependency on critical materials and utilize recycled material feedstocks.
To achieve this goal and address potential critical materials issues, VTO supports three key areas of R&D:
Supporting laboratory, university, and industry research to develop low- or no-cobalt active cathode materials for next-generation Li-ion batteries;
Establishing the ReCell Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling R&D Center, focused on cost-effective recycling processes to recover Li-ion battery critical materials; and
Launching a Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize to incentivize American entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions to solve current challenges. Read more about the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize, or watch a video detailing the Prize.