Biden Administration Announces $3.1 Billion Grant Program for Battery Processing and Manufacturing to Support Clean Energy and Transportation

On May 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of a funding opportunity announcement (“FOA”) through which DOE may provide $3.1 billion in grant funding to support projects that will accelerate the development of a resilient supply chain for high-capacity batteries.  This FOA, the authority for which is provided in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”), is the first release of more than $7 billion included in the IIJA to strengthen the U.S. battery supply chain, create jobs, and help lower electric vehicle costs for families.  The FOA is available here, and FAQs are available here.

The FOA seeks commercial and demonstration applications to address battery material processing and battery component manufacturing and recycling.  The range for individual awards varies between $50,000,000 and $400,000,000.  In addition, DOER anticipates making approximately 17-34 awards.  DOE provided the below chart summarizing “areas of interest” under this solicitation.

Areas of Interest

Battery Material Processing Grants pursuant to Section 40207(b)(3)(A)
1 Commercial-scale Production Plants for Domestic Separation of Critical Cathode Battery Materials from Domestic Feedstocks
2 Commercial-scale Domestic Production of Battery-Grade Graphite from Synthetic and Natural Feedstocks
3 Commercial-scale Domestic Separation and Production of Battery-grade Precursor Materials (Open Topic)
4 Demonstrations of Domestic Separation and Production of Battery-grade Materials from Unconventional Domestic Sources
5 Demonstrations of Innovative Separation Processing of Battery Materials Open Topic
Battery Component Manufacturing and Recycling Grants pursuant to Section 40207(c)(3)(A)
6 Commercial-scale Domestic Battery Cell Manufacturing
7 Commercial-scale Domestic Battery Cathode Manufacturing
8 Commercial-scale Domestic Battery Separator Manufacturing
9 Commercial-scale Domestic Next Generation Silicon Anode Active Materials and Electrodes
10 Commercial-scale Domestic Battery Component Manufacturing Open Topic
11 Commercial-scale Domestic Battery Recycling and End-of Life Infrastructure
12 Domestic Battery Cell and Component Manufacturing Demonstration Topic

 

In order to be eligible to apply for the program, applicants must be a:

Eligibility 

  • S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident;
  • Institution of Higher Education;
  • For-Profit Entity;
  • Non-Profit Entity;
  • State, Local, or Tribal Nation; or
  • Foreign Entity with a Domestic Subsidiary or Affiliate.

In addition, the FOA requires at least 50% cost share – that is, that half of the total allowable project costs must be provided by non-federal sources.

Evaluation Criteria

DOE will evaluate applications based on a number of weighted criteria depending on the proposed project’s area of interest.

For areas of interest 1-3, and 6-11, this includes:

  • Technical Merit, Project Management, and Impact (30%)
  • Commercialization and Market Acceptance (30%)
  • Cost Share (10%)
  • Qualifications and Resources (10%)
  • Equity Plan: quality Jobs & Community Benefits (20%)

For areas of interest 4, 5, & 12, the criteria are weighed as follows:

  • Technical Merit, Project Management, and Impact (40%)
  • Commercialization and Market Acceptance (20%)
  • Cost Share (10%)
  • Qualifications and Resources (10%)
  • Equity Plan: quality Jobs & Community Benefits (20%)

Deadlines

The FOA sets out the following schedule, the first step of which – submission of an LOI – is May 27, 2022.

FOA Issue Date 5/2/2022
Submission Deadline for Letter of Intent 5/27/2022
Submission Deadline for Full Applications 7/1/2022
Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments 8/25/2022
Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications: October 2022
Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations October 2022 – April 2023

 

In assessing this significant opportunity, potential applicants should be keenly aware of the DOE’s financial assistance regulatory requirements with respect to, among other items, cost principles, intellectual property rights under the Bayh-Dole Act, the interest taken by and rights of the Department in any equipment or other property purchased with federal funds or offered as cost share, and attendant labor and manufacturing conditions and requirements.

Make sure to follow the Foley Hoag Energy and Climate Group’s analyses of the IIJA, and see our prior blog posts discussing the provisions on electric vehicles, electric transportation infrastructure, and transmission.

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