Biden Administration Awards LA Companies $319 Million for Battery Manufacturing

(Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (press release) — The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today announced the first set of projects funded by the president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and the electrical grid and for materials and components currently imported from other countries. 

The 20 companies will receive a combined $2.8 billion to build and expand commercial-scale facilities in 12 states to extract and process lithium, graphite and other battery materials, manufacture components, and demonstrate new approaches, including manufacturing components from recycled materials. Two battery component processing facilities in Vidalia and St. Gabriel will receive more than $319 million in investments to help Louisiana expand its role as a manufacturing powerhouse. 

The federal investment will be matched by recipients to leverage a total of more than $9 billion to boost American production of clean energy technology, create good-paying jobs, and support President Biden’s national goals for electric vehicles to make up half of all new vehicle sales by 2030 and to transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. 

“This is truly a remarkable time for manufacturing in America, as President Biden’s Agenda and historic investments supercharge the private sector to ensure our clean energy future is American-made,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Producing advanced batteries and components here at home will accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to meet the strong demand for electric vehicles, creating more good-paying jobs across the country.”

Although plug-in EV sales have tripled since President Biden took office, the U.S. depends on foreign sources for many of the processed versions of critical minerals needed to produce electric vehicle batteries. Since coming into office, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken swift action to secure a reliable and sustainable battery supply chain. Today’s grants are a critical next step in that strategy. The funded projects announced today include U.S. processing and recycling of critical minerals to support domestic manufacturing. Responsible and sustainable domestic sourcing of the critical materials used to make lithium-ion batteries—such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite—will strengthen the American supply chain, accelerate battery production to meet increased demand, and secure the nation’s economic competitiveness, energy independence, and national security. 

Louisiana Project Summaries 

Syrah is launching the Phase 3 expansion of its Natural Graphite Active Anode Material facility in Vidalia. The expanded facility will provide more significant, localized active anode material supply, significantly reducing our dependency on, and cost vulnerabilities to, imported active anode material supply. Vidalia’s Phase 3 expansion is supported by Tier 1 customers with large-scale battery and elective vehicle manufacturing positions in the USA. 

Koura has been operating a domestic fluorochemical plant in St. Gabriel, since 1991 with a safe track record and strong community engagement. The facility expansion will increase employment at the St. Gabriel facility and provide Koura an opportunity to expand its activities in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) across the greater Baton Rouge region, including job training, internship programs, and funding scholarships. 

FACTSHEETS: Individual project information can be found here

The funding for the selected projects will support: 

  • Developing enough battery-grade lithium to supply approximately 2 million EVs annually
  • Developing enough battery-grade graphite to supply approximately 1.2 million EVs annually
  • Producing enough battery-grade nickel to supply approximately 400,000 EVs annually
  • Installing the first large-scale, commercial lithium electrolyte salt (LiPF6) production facility in the United States
  • Developing an electrode binder facility capable of supplying 45% of the anticipated domestic demand for binders for EV batteries in 2030 
  • Creating the first commercial scale domestic silicon oxide production facilities to supply anode materials for an estimated 600,000 EV batteries annually
  • Installing the first lithium iron phosphate cathode facility in the United States 

Currently, virtually all lithium, graphite, battery-grade nickel, electrolyte salt, electrode binder, and iron phosphate cathode material are produced from abroad, and China controls the supply chains for many of these key inputs. 

Workforce and Community Engagement 

DOE evaluated applications on technical merits and contributions to increasing American production of advanced battery components, as well as on applicants’ commitments to deliver benefits for communities and workers. The companies submitted plans for engagement with local stakeholders, Tribal nations, environmental groups, and labor unions to ensure the funded projects create high-quality jobs; advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and contribute meaningfully to the Justice40 initiative to provide 40% of the overall benefits of federal clean energy investments to disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. 

Of the 20 companies selected , five will build new facilities in disadvantaged communities, and 15 in locations adjacent to disadvantaged communities. Additionally, six announced projects have established goals for hiring residents of disadvantaged communities into permanent roles, and 13 included commitments to negotiate Workforce and Community Agreements. These agreements are focused on engagement with host communities, labor unions, and/or Tribal entities, to agree on community benefits and implementation plans. At least two funded projects have collective bargaining agreements for both construction and ongoing production jobs, and an additional nine projects have committed to labor neutrality, with two applicants already pursuing Project Labor Agreements with unions representing their workers. 

The funded projects will help employ workers from many different construction and industrial unions and 15 of the projects will collaborate with minority serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to hire and train workers. The new and expanded facilities funded through these awards are expected to cumulatively support more than 8,000 jobs, including 5,000 permanent jobs. 

The funding announced today is the first phase of $7 billion in total provided by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to strengthen the domestic battery supply chain by supporting upstream materials processing to create the precursor materials for batteries. DOE anticipates moving quickly on additional funding opportunities to continue to fill gaps in and strengthen the domestic battery supply chain. 

DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) is responsible for strengthening and securing manufacturing and energy supply chains needed to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and support a clean and equitable energy transition. MESC will manage the portfolio of projects with support from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.  

American Battery Material Initiative

The President also announced the launch of the American Battery Material Initiative, a dedicated effort to align Federal investments and activities, domestic and international, to accelerate the development of the full end-to-end battery supply chain, including the critical minerals and materials we need to meet production and deployment goals. The Initiative will be led by the Department of Energy, with support from the Department of the Interior, and work closely with the Partnership on Global Infrastructure and Investment and the Department of State to align and leverage dozens of programs and efforts across the Federal government to support and grow the battery supply chain, including resources through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. The Initiative will work to coordinate domestic and international supply chain efforts to coordinate permitting for critical minerals projects ensuring that we develop the resources we need in an efficient and timely manner, while strengthening Tribal consultation, community engagement, and environmental standards to build smarter, faster, and fairer. 

Categories: Energy, Manufacturing, Politics, Today’s Business News