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Battery Recycling Prize: US invests millions in innovation

US energy secretary Rick Perry hopes to spark innovation in battery recycling with the newly established Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize. As well as driving ground-breaking processes, the move will see the construction of a dedicated battery recycling research and development centre. 

The thinking behind the recycling prize and the R&D centre is to develop technologies to profitably capture 90% of all lithium-based battery technologies in the United States. Currently, lithium-ion batteries are collected and recycled at a rate of less than 5%.

Cash prizes totalling US$ 5.5 million are on offer (EUR 4.9 million) to contestants in three phases designed to accelerate the development of solutions from concept to prototype to demonstration.  

A further US$ 15 million will be invested in the proposed state-of-the-art R&D hub to be led by Argonne National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  

‘America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical materials such as cobalt and lithium undermines our energy security and national security,’ says Perry. ‘The Department of Energy will leverage the power of competition and the resources of the private sector, universities, and the national laboratories to develop innovative recycling technologies, which will bolster economic growth, strengthen our energy security, and improve the environment.’

The President’s Executive Order 13817 also identifies the need for ‘developing critical minerals recycling and reprocessing technologies’ as part of a broader strategy to ‘ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals’.

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