The funding from the department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program comes amid a broader White House goal of having half of all vehicles sales in 2030 be zero-emission. It also follows a $2 billion commitment announced earlier this month to EV battery component maker and lithium-ion battery recycler Redwood Materials Inc.
“By supporting a circular economy for critical materials, the project is expected to reduce the U.S. reliance on global supply chains or new mining,” the Energy Department said of its financing offer to Li-Cycle. “The critical materials that make up EV batteries are in high demand and can be difficult to procure.”
The Li-Cycle project will use a technique called hydrometallurgical recycling to recover battery-grade lithium carbonate, cobalt sulfate, nickel sulfate, and other critical materials from manufacturing scrap materials and used batteries, the Energy Department said.
The administration’s support for the project comes as it seeks to create a domestic battery supply chain. Demand for lithium, which also is used for grid storage and weapons, is projected to exceed current production by 2030. The US relies on international markets for the processing of most raw materials, according to the department.
“Currently, a handful of countries control most of the global battery recycling supply chain, with China dominating lithium carbonate refining markets,” the department said. “Li-Cycle expects its facility to be the first source of recycled battery-grade lithium carbonate in North America.”