Lipinski Hails New DOE Battery Recycling R&D Center at Argonne National Lab

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching a new, $15 million Lithium Battery Recycling Research and Development Center at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont. The DOE will also launch a lithium-ion battery recycling prize, which will offer $5.5 million in cash prizes for technologies that can profitably recover lithium from 90% of the lithium battery types on the market.

Lithium batteries are lightweight and high-power, making them the choice for most consumer and mobile technologies on the market, including electric vehicles. Their popularity has sent global demand for lithium and cobalt, another metal used in batteries, skyrocketing. Both metals are in limited supply and mined in politically unstable areas, yet the global recycling rate for lithium-ion batteries is below 5 percent. A cost-effective solution to collect these batteries and recover their valuable metals could lower the cost of electric vehicles and consumer electronics, and would keep these materials out of landfills.

“Argonne has a long history of developing new clean energy technologies and bringing them to market,” said Congressman Lipinski. “Today’s announcement demonstrates one more way they are investing federal research dollars to remove barriers to a renewable energy future. Their focus on cost-effective, market-ready solutions will help ensure that the energy technology of tomorrow is made in the USA.”

An outspoken advocate for aggressive action to combat climate change, Congressman Lipinski has been a strong supporter of clean energy research at Argonne throughout his time in Congress. In 2007, he wrote legislation that launched a prize competition for hydrogen refueling technology, complementing Argonne’s fuel cell work. In 2012, he supported the creation of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne and in 2018, he successfully fought to renew its funding.

“This is an exciting time as applications for energy storage continue to expand,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. “Together, the DOE and Argonne have made pivotal discoveries in advanced materials, chemistry and engineering that have made batteries safer and longer-lasting. We are proud to pioneer the first scale-up and pilot test facilities to enable cost-efficient battery recycling, helping to drive U.S. prosperity and security.”

In addition to the battery recycling center at Argonne, DOE also launched the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize to encourage American entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions to collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling. It will award cash prizes totaling $5.5 million to contestants in three progressive phases designed to accelerate the development of solutions from concept to prototype to demonstration.



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