DOE Announces Battery Recycling R&D Center to Boost Defense

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced plans for a $20.5 million investment in lithium-ion battery recycling, aiming to reduce its reliance on foreign supply of key minerals such as cobalt and lithium.

These investments include $15 million to create a new Lithium Battery Research and Development (R&D) Recycling Center in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The remaining $5.5 million will be used as prize money in a contest seeking “solutions to collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said these efforts aim to reclaim and recycle materials, such as lithium and cobalt, from lithium-based battery technology used in electronics, defense, energy storage and transportation applications. Lithium and cobalt, key resources in batteries, were added to the Department of the Interior’s list of “critical minerals” last year.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. is now import-dependent for 50 key metals and minerals – 100 percent import dependent for 21 of those. America is forced to import nearly $7 billion worth of minerals annually to meet demand.

Strengthening our defense supply chain will help facilitate access to the vital resources that protect those who protect our country. Without minerals like beryllium, lithium, copper and nickel, our troops wouldn’t have key defense technologies like fighter jets, body armor or advanced imaging technologies. Increased recycling and increased domestic production are essential to strengthening the nation’s metal and minerals supply chain.

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