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DOE doubles down on battery production

Megan Hernbroth
Jul 28, 2022
Three batteries as the bars of a bar chart, each one increasing in height.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office committed an additional $102.1 million to another battery project, through Syrah Technologies, days after committing $2.5 billion in loans to a GM-LG joint battery project.

Why it matters: Clearly, the DOE is willing to play a primary role to spur on lithium-ion battery production in the U.S.

What's happening: The $102.1 million loan will fund the expansion of Syrah's Vidalia Facility, which produces graphite-based active anode material used in lithium-ion batteries.

Quick take: The LPO was instrumental in bringing down costs of materials for solar power during the Cleantech 1.0 boom, and seems poised to do so again for lithium-ion battery production.

  • The DOE is leaning heavily on the LPO to get several aspects of domestic battery production off the ground in the U.S., and companies are primed to take advantage of its tranche of available funds.
  • The LPO has $15.1 billion in remaining loan authority from its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.
  • Though lower battery prices would help decrease overall EV manufacturing costs, it may not be enough to save some struggling EV makers.

What they're saying: “Securing critical materials, such as lithium and graphite, is essential to increasing domestic production of batteries to power the growing number of EVs on our roadways,” Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement.

  • “DOE’s investment in Syrah Vidalia builds on President Biden’s goals to secure our clean transportation future and grow the United States’ electric vehicle and advanced battery manufacturing workforce.”
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