Li-Bridge, a public-private alliance representing the US battery ecosystem, convened by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and managed by Argonne National Laboratory, released an action plan to accelerate the creation of a robust domestic manufacturing base and comprehensive supply chain for lithium-based batteries.
According to the report, the US will not achieve complete lithium battery supply chain independence by 2030, but it estimates the country can capture 60% of the economic value consumed by domestic demand for lithium batteries by that year, generating $33 billion in revenues and creating 100,000 jobs. This is up from the 30% domestic value-added most likely to result from doing business as usual.
James Greenberger, executive director at NAATBatt International, states: “US industry is still 10 to 20 years behind Asia, and about five years behind Europe, in commercializing manufacturing of this critical technology. The electrochemical storage of electricity will be as important a technology to the economy of the 21st century as the semiconductor chip has been.”
The Li-Bridge report “Building a Robust and Resilient US Lithium Battery Supply Chain” includes 26 recommended actions to bolster the domestic lithium battery industry. Underscoring the need to stabilize policy and spur investment, key recommendations in the report include a buying consortium for raw energy materials, a system of shared pilot lines to speed the commercialization of new battery technologies, significant additional investment in battery industry workforce training, and permitting reform.
The report complements a series of recent government initiatives designed to strengthen the country’s battery and semiconductor industries including the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or BIL) and the CHIPS and Science Act, which together represent some of the most significant industrial policy initiatives in US history.
Announced in October 2021 by DOE and Argonne, Li-Bridge is spearheaded by three industry trade groups—NAATBatt International, the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology (NY-BESTTM) Consortium, and New Energy Nexus—with active involvement from DOE national labs and Boston Consulting Group. Li-Bridge’s report is a result of collaboration of more than 40 companies, spanning market leaders and startups across the automotive, advanced battery, mining and chemical, and electric utility sectors. Those organizations collectively employ more than 1.2 million people and generate approximately $900 billion in annual revenues.
Fueled by exponential demand, lithium-based batteries and the devices they power are major contributors to economic growth in the 21st century on par with semiconductors. According to the report, if the US cannot establish a secure and stable supply chain for lithium battery technology within its borders, other countries will enjoy the economic growth and job creation that lithium battery technology will create. Today, about 76% of lithium battery cells and the large majority of cell components are made in China.
Lithium-based batteries are also critical for achieving US climate objectives. The report states that without reliable access to lithium battery technology, the US has no chance of meeting its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goal or ensuring an inclusive and socially responsible industry. With US defense applications increasingly dependent on lithium-based batteries, the report warns of the national security risks in relying on batteries and battery components made abroad.