US Moves Toward Grid Resiliency, Clean Energy Economy
The U.S. government makes strides with investments in domestic battery material processing and component production, clean energy technology commercialization, and renewable energy accessibility.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made announcements highlighting investments in domestic battery material processing and component production, clean energy technology commercialization, and renewable energy accessibility.
The U.S. DOE sets out to realize the vision of a clean energy future where energy and national security are top priorities. Image used courtesy of Pixabay
Cathode and anode components found in electric vehicle (EV) batteries use critical elements (including nickel, cobalt, lithium, copper, and graphite) for production.
According to lithium-ion battery (LiB) recycling company Redwood Materials, Inc. (Redwood Materials), LiB components used in EVs are costly, and most manufacturing takes place overseas. The U.S. government is investing in onshoring battery material processing and component production to bring back economic value to the U.S. and strengthen its domestic supply chain.
Lithium-ion battery packs. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock
Redwood Materials is helping the U.S. achieve supply chain independence by scaling up the production of its anode copper foil and high-nickel cathode materials. The company will use recycled end-of-life feedstocks to harvest critical elements to produce EV-grade anode and cathode components.
Production of the anode copper foil will provide material for generating anode current collectors. The conductive material (copper, in this case) collects the current from the anode and directs it to other battery components. The non-conductive material (such as polyethylene or polypropylene) prevents any short circuits that could occur with direct contact between two metal parts.
Under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office has provided Redwood Materials with a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan. The company expects to produce 100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of cathode and anode materials yearly at gigafactory scale. This is a milestone for the U.S., one that is set to promote the deployment of one million EVs each year. Redwood Materials is also planning to push forward the construction and build-out of its first battery materials campus.
Securing U.S. Energy and National Security
Accompanying the DOE’s investment in Redwood Materials is the department’s recent launch of the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation (FESI). The first-of-its-kind agency-related foundation will help the DOE by facilitating the commercialization of clean energy technologies. The innovations arising from the DOE-FESI alliance will support the Biden-Harris Administration in achieving its clean energy goals and bolster the resiliency of America’s evolving energy infrastructure.
The DOE issued a Request for Information (RFI) to help structure its engagement with FESI and communities wishing to participate in the energy transition. The RFI also aims to garner information on how stakeholders will work alongside FESI.
Redwood Materials will produce EV-grade cathode and anode materials from recycled end-of-life feedstocks to support U.S. supply chain independence. Image used courtesy of Pixabay
One climate-change-focused investment, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, aims to support domestic manufacturing and energy production and the reduction of carbon emissions by around 40 percent. The legislation will deliver $369 billion across ten years to support establishing a clean energy economy.
President Biden’s State of the Union address included the submission of EV infrastructure deployment plans by all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. This movement supports President Biden’s goal of building 500,000 EV chargers nationwide by 2030 as part of the Made-in-America EV charging network.
The DOE is teaming up with the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to establish two programs funded by the President’s IRA, the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C) (OAEPC) and the Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program (48(e)) (LICBCP). Another program opened by the DOE enables applicants to enter the $750 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program. The program supports owners of industrial and manufacturing plants, helping them retrofit their facilities for producing or recycling advanced energy products.
Established under the Recovery Act of 2009, the OAEPC program expanded with IRA funding of $10 billion. The DOE, along with the Treasury and IRS, plan to release $4 billion in tax credits for clean energy projects.
The LICBCP is designed to incentivize solar and wind capacity by offering bonus credits up to a maximum of 1.8 GW per year. The program focuses on providing better accessibility to renewable energy for underserved and environmental justice communities.