The Department of Energy (DOE) has teamed up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to award prizes totaling $5,500,000 to businesses and innovators that are able to develop processes to recycle lithium-ion batteries more efficiently. Currently, lithium-ion batteries are only able to be recycled at a rate of less than 5%. The goal of this project is to increase that rate all the way up to 90%. The prize money will be awarded in three phases and is up for grabs for any US resident that has “the desire and drive to transform ideas into impactful realities.” Lithium-ion batteries can be found in a number of consumer electronics including electric vehicles.
The official statement about the prize money from American-Made Challenges website reads:
“Innovation happens when the right resources, people, and passion come together to address a challenge. With the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize, teams of creative individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses will advance conceptual solutions to prototypes and finally to pilot demonstrations to address challenges with the lithium-ion battery recycling supply chain. The goal of this $5.5-million phased prize competition is to develop and demonstrate processes that, when scaled, have the potential to capture 90% of all discarded or spent lithium-ion batteries in the United States for eventual recovery of key materials for re-introduction into the U.S. supply chain.”
Additional details about the prize program can be found here.