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FCAB releases US blueprint for lithium batteries

The Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) (earlier post) has released the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021–2030 to guide investments in the urgent development of a domestic lithium-battery manufacturing value chain.

The worldwide lithium-battery market is expected to grow by a factor of 5 to 10 in the next decade. The US industrial base must be positioned to respond to this vast increase in market demand that otherwise will likely benefit well-resourced and supported competitors in Asia and Europe.

—National Blueprint

The blueprint lays out five critical goals to guide federal agency collaboration:

  1. Secure access to raw and refined materials and discover alternatives for critical minerals for commercial and defense applications. The goal is to reduce US lithium-battery manufacturing dependence on scarce materials, especially cobalt and nickel, in order to develop a stronger, more secure and resilient supply chain. Working through ongoing US Government initiatives and with allies to secure reliable domestic and foreign sources for critical minerals is as vital as ultimately replacing these materials in the lithium-battery supply chain.

  2. Support the growth of a US materials-processing base able to meet domestic battery manufacturing demand. Today, the US relies on international markets for the processing of most lithium-battery raw materials.

  3. Stimulate the US electrode, cell, and pack manufacturing sectors. Despite significant advances in battery energy storage technologies, domestic growth and onshoring of cell and pack manufacturing will require consistent incentives and support for the adoption of EVs. The US should develop a federal policy framework that supports manufacturing electrodes, cells, and packs domestically and encourages demand growth for lithium-ion batteries.

  4. Enable US end-of-life reuse and critical materials recycling at scale and a full competitive value chain in the United States. Recycling of lithium-ion cells not only mitigates materials scarcity and enhances environmental sustainability, but also supports a more secure and resilient, domestic materials supply chain that is circular in nature. Currently, recyclers face a net end-of-life cost when recycling EV batteries, with costs to transport batteries, which are currently classified as hazardous waste, constituting over half of the end-of-life recycling costs. New methods need to be developed for successfully collecting, sorting, transporting, and processing recycled lithium-ion battery materials, with a focus on reducing costs. In addition to recycling, a resilient market should be developed for the reuse of battery cells from retired EVs for secondary applications, including grid storage. Second use of battery cells requires proper sorting, testing, and balancing of cell packs.

  5. Maintain and advance US battery technology leadership by strongly supporting scientific R&D, STEM education, and workforce development. The pipeline of R&D, ranging from new electrode and electrolyte materials for next generation lithium-ion batteries, to advances in solid-state batteries, and novel material, electrode, and cell manufacturing methods, remains integral to maintaining US leadership. The R&D will be supported by strong intellectual property (IP) protection and rapid movement of innovations from lab to market through public-private R&D partnerships like those established in the semiconductor industry.

The FCAB encourages cooperation and coordination across the US Government agencies’ advanced battery efforts and seeks to develop a healthy domestic ecosystem. The consortium is led by the Departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, and State and includes many organizations across the government.


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