US announces major investments in local, sustainable battery supply chain

The United States government under President Joe Biden has announced a raft of investments intended to help to secure a domestic supply chain for materials such as lithium and rare earths, which are critical for the transition to a ‘clean’ economy

The US intends to reduce its over-reliance on external sources for critical minerals and materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and rare earths.

As a result, it is taking steps to geographically diversify its partnerships and to support the procurement of sustainable resources, as well as supporting the expansion of domestic mining, refining and recycling of critical materials.

Lithium, cobalt and nickel are key raw materials in the power-trains of electric vehicles (EVs), demand for which was expected to soar in the near and medium terms globally.

Other announcements made earlier this week by the Biden administration included saying that Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables will test the commercial viability of its sustainable lithium extraction process from geothermal brine in Imperial County, California, in the second quarter of 2022. This will be part of a multi-billion-dollar investment in local sustainable lithium production over the next five years.

Also, Redwood Materials has joined forces with carmakers Ford and Volvo for a pilot project aiming at the recycling of end-of-life batteries at its facility in Nevada, to recover critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite.

And the US Department of Energy recently announced a $3 billion investment in building a refining and recycling capacity for critical raw materials key to energy transition.

This is an extract from an article published to the Fastmarkets platform on Thursday, 24 February. Find out more about the platform here.

To keep up to date with the news and market analysis of the energy transition market, visit our dedicated energy transition page.

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