Kae Fink shows what a shredded battery looks like (“Vendor R” on the right); she recovered the purer materials on the left using a new recycling method she developed with other NREL researchers. Photo by Werner Slocum, NREL

U.S. DOE Announces $15 Million to Boost Collection of Used (Spent) Consumer Batteries at Retailers

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) today announced it is making up to $15 million available through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to drive recovery of spent consumer batteries at retailers that can be sent to recyclers. Recycling spent batteries provides our domestic industry with additional sources of necessary materials to make new batteries or other products. Not only does recycling provide a diverse and robust material source, but the circularity of these materials builds a more sustainable manufacturing supply chain and reduces waste streams from manufacturing.

Batteries power our daily lives from consumer electronics to national defense and enable the electrification of the transportation sector and provide stationary grid storage. With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), DOE is investing across the supply chain from research to manufacturing to collecting the batteries at end-of-life and helping to build domestic recycling network for batteries that contain critical elements such as Nickel, Lithium, Cobalt, Manganese, Copper, and Graphite. Many of these materials are in use today in consumer electronics with rechargeable batteries such as cell phones, laptops, vacuum cleaners, and smart watches.

Retailers can play a vital role in making recycling accessible and easy for consumers. As sellers of batteries, retailers are top-of-mind for consumers. Once batteries are no longer usable, consumers need places to deposit their spent batteries. Retailer store fronts visited by consumers are prime locations for battery collection. Collection points can also serve as an incentive for consumers to visit store fronts.

DOE is seeking projects led by retailers to create or expand to collect, sort, store, and transport consumer electronics batteries and battery-containing devices. Learn more about this funding opportunity here. An informational webinar will be held on February 22, 2024 at 3:30 pm ET, register here. Applications are due on April 9, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET.

Learn more about the MESC mission to catalyze investments in America’s energy future in support of the re-shoring, skilling, and scaling of U.S. manufacturing across energy supply chains.

Register for Webinar On February 22, 2024 at 3:30 pm ET.


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