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Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize

The U.S. The Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize focuses on identifying innovative solutions for collecting, sorting, storing, and transporting spent and discarded lithium-ion batteries — from electric vehicle (EV), consumer electronics, industrial, and stationary applications — for eventual recycling and materials recovery.

The Battery Recycling Prize is a $5.5-million phased prize competition designed to incentivize American entrepreneurs to develop and demonstrate processes that, when scaled, have the potential to profitably capture 90% of all discarded or spent lithium-based batteries in the United States for eventual recovery of key materials for re-introduction into the U.S. supply chain.

This Battery Recycling Prize is NOT for lead-acid batteries as currently a vast recycling supply chain collects, stores, transports, recycles, and re-introduces more than 99% of lead back into the lead-acid battery supply chain.

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The Battery Recycling Prize Contests

The competition consists of three phases that will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to meet battery recycling needs. Each phase includes a contest period when participants work to rapidly advance their solutions.

Phase I of the competition is complete, with 15 winners receiving $67,000 each, for a total of $1 million awarded. These 15 competitors have advanced to Phase II, where they will translate the Phase I concepts into end-to-end solutions that demonstrate a viable business model that can be scaled. View the Phase III rules to learn more.

Researchers working in a laboratory.

Phase I: Concept Development and Incubation (COMPLETE) — Applicants submitted a business model or an innovative solution and technology plan toward profitable collection, sorting and separation, storing and transporting (while rendering batteries safe or inert) of end-of-use and spent lithium-ion batteries. Applicants submitted concepts related to a single track, multiple tracks, or full end-to-end solutions for one or multiple applications (consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and stationary storage and/or other large industrial uses). Each individual/team/entity could apply to more than one track but could only enter one submission per track. Up to 15 winners were selected at the end of Phase I, with each team receiving $67,000.

Phase II: Prototyping and Partnering (COMPLETE) — Participants design, simulate, and prototype a proof-of-concept solution for one or multiple commercial uses (consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and stationary storage and/or other large industrial uses). Participants are encouraged to incorporate winning ideas from various tracks. Up to 10 winners will be selected at the end of Phase II to receive cash awards (at least $250,000) and non-cash vouchers of $100,000 for use at national labs and approved organizations that are within the American-Made Network and to enter Phase III.

Phase III: Pilot Validation — Winning participants from Phase II must substantially advance their end-to-end solutions from proof-of-prototype to a refined pilot of the technology. This could include building, demonstration, and analysis to validate a small-scale pilot prototype with a focus on solutions under real-world applications and scenarios for one or multiple applications (consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and stationary storage and/or other large industrial uses). At the end of this phase, up to four winners will be selected to receive cash awards (at least $500,000).

In each phase, submissions will be evaluated by expert reviewers (Advisory Reviewers) and a federal consensus panel. The selection official will make the final determination based on those reviews.

Graphic of the American-Made Challenges framework; Make a plan, design a proof of concept, develop prototype and identify pilot partner.

The intent of this Battery Recycling Prize is to:

  • Enable U.S.-based recyclers to reach economies of scale in their processes by providing higher volume feedstocks
  • Attract private, public, state, and local dollar investments to scale collection, storage, and transportation of spent and discarded lithium-ion batteries
  • Create new solutions and develop them from concepts to eventually recycle 90% of spent and discarded lithium-ion batteries
  • Bring together diverse technologies and entities/innovators/businesses that when combined can provide a more comprehensive solution to the challenges facing the battery recycling supply chain.

Solutions that help shape the future of battery recycling

Learn about this Prize