American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Energy Provisions in Inflation Reduction Act Spur Efforts to Build Out U.S. Battery Supply Chain, as States Step Up Their Own Efforts

    The energy provisions in the recently passed congressional Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are beginning to bear fruit.  Standing to get $35 million in government subsidies for every gigagwatt-hour of cell storage capacity produced, battery suppliers are stepping up their efforts in the United States.

    As the Wall Street Journal reports, Norwegian battery maker Freyr and energy conglomerate Koch Industries Inc., are accelerating plans to build a multibillion dollar battery plant in Coweta County, Georgia, with Freyr’s CEO Tom Einar Jensen citing the IRA as the reason for speeding up the partnership’s timeline.

    Unlike many other projects, which are heavily focused on the EV battery value chain, the Koch Industries/Freyr partnership will supply lithium-Ion batteries primarily for the energy storage market.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, “the first phase of the project in Coweta County, Ga., will bring online 34 gigawatt-hours of annual cell production at a projected cost of $1.7 billion. (…)  A second phase to expand the Georgia plant could increase the cell capacity further and add production of complete energy-storage units or battery inputs such as cathodes or anodes. The total investment is expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2029.”

    The project, which is expected to create more than 720 jobs, is another case in point for states taking on a more active role in securing critical mineral supply chains.

    According to Jensen, the partners decided to locate the project in Coweta County “in part because of an undisclosed financial package the county offered together with the state of Georgia.”  As outlined in the press release issued by Governor Bryan P. Kemp’s office on the project, the state is looking to cultivate a “vertically integrated supply chain that will help companies increase efficiencies by reducing the reliance on imported materials.”

    Earlier this fall, the State of Michigan approved a “more than $200 million grant for Our Next Energy Inc.’s (ONE) planned EV battery factory in Van Buren Township, Michigan.  The company, an EV battery startup spearheaded by a former leader of Apple Inc.’s secretive car project, plans to invest $1.6 billion into the project, which is slated to be fully operational by the end of 2027 and have the capacity make battery cells for about 200,000 EVs annually.”

    Also in October, the State of Louisiana entered into a partnership with Ucore with a significant incentive package to establish a rare earth separation facility in the state.  The package includes $9.6M in tax incentives and payroll rebates over the first ten years of operation.

    Even some cities are getting into the act.  In June, the city of Stillwater, Oklahoma approved a $7 million incentive package for USA Rare Earth’s vertically-integrated rare earth metallization and permanent magnet manufacturing plant, a $100 million investment.  The company recently announced it will partner with Oklahoma State University on materials science initiatives.

    States like Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas have also attracted EV battery makers as automakers scramble to lock down supplies and policy stakeholders work to create frameworks conducive to attracting investment into these critical industries.

    In the coming weeks and months, ARPN will continue to feature more examples of state level public-private cooperation or formalized public private partnerships (PPPs) to sustainably strengthen domestic critical mineral supply chains.

  • Battery Show Panels Mull Options to Strengthen U.S. Battery Supply Chains in Wake of Inflation Reduction Act Passage

    As one of the longest running and biggest automobile shows in North America, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) — or the Detroit auto show, as it is known more colloquially — has traditionally been one of the key events for car makers every year.   This year, however, another concurrently held event taking place roughly 30 miles west of the NAIAS gathering may have commanded at least as much attention as the Detroit auto show — for good reason, as followers of ARPN will understand.

    Billed as “North America’s largest and most comprehensive advanced battery manufacturing trade show,” the Battery Show held September 13th through the 15th, drew a record crowd of 15,000 people, which, according to organizers is almost 50 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

    One big factor, says Gabrielle Coppola for Bloomberg’s Hyperdrive newsletter, was federal legislation — the just passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with its impactful energy provisions.

    Citing industry representatives who see an uptick in interest in “an industry that’s growing, where there’s substantial government support,” Coppola writes:

    “Battery upstarts are salivating over the goodies in the bill, particularly the tax credits for manufacturing components here in the US.”  

    She adds:

    “While US startups are loving the carrots in the IRA, others are unhappy about the sticks. The auto industry lobbied against content rules that will limit how many EVs will be eligible for consumer tax credits. Korean trade officials have objected to their US counterparts on behalf of Hyundai, Kia and battery manufacturers who fear excluding Chinese-sourced materials and imported cars will put them at a disadvantage.”

    Mulling several options on how to move forward, panelists discussed ideas ranging from creating a U.S. “white list”similar to the Chinese governments four “White Lists” created in the middle of the last decade outlining approved suppliers from which OEMs would have to purchase batteries in order to qualify for government subsidies, to the implementation of a “battery passport” similar to what has been proposed in Europe, where a consortium of 11 car makers and battery producers has received more than $8.5 million in government funding to “develop a common classification and standards for gathering and disclosing data on batteries.”

    As Coppola outlines, such a system would not “explicitly ban Chinese suppliers, but if you exclude nickel from Indonesia or cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo, it could have that effect,” but U.S. automakers are skeptics when it comes to the passport idea for a number of reasons.

    The United States’ nascent battery manufacturing efforts are still very much dependent on China, and as followers of ARPN well know and industry experts have already outlined, the process of decoupling from Chinese supply chains is fraught with challenges, not least because, in Coppola’s words, “for all the gold-rush mentality and rhetoric about the power of American innovation, companies are anxious that if the US goes too far in its bid to cut out China, their products could be vulnerable to retaliation.”

    One thing, however, is clear —  all the challenges notwithstanding, the Inflation Reduction Act’s energy provisions send a signal to investors that the U.S. is serious about building the secure, responsible industrial base our economy and national security needs, and, provided stakeholders act comprehensively and decisively, may jump-start the effort …to reclaim critical mineral chains.” 

  • Congress “Net-Zeroes” in on Energy Security, Supply Chains for Critical Minerals – A Look at the Inflation Reduction Act

    As countries and corporations continue the global quest towards net zero carbon emissions, the U.S. Congress has passed what some consider landmark legislation to address climate change and bolster our nation’s economic and national security. The clean energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act negotiated by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) — [...]
  • Biden Administration Announces Grant Program for Domestic Production and Recycling of EV Battery Components

    Acknowledging the vast material inputs required to power the EV revolution in the context of the push towards net zero carbon — as well as the significant supply chain challenges associated with the sought-after shift — the Biden Administration has announced a $3.1 billion funding program for U.S. companies producing and recycling lithium-ion batteries. According to Secretary [...]
  • Russia’s War on Ukraine and Rising Resource Nationalism to Reshape Global Post-Cold War Order and Resource Supply Chains – A Look at Cobalt

    With a single electric vehicle battery requiring between 10 and 30 pounds of cobalt content, the lustrous, silvery blue, hard ferromagnetic, brittle nickel and copper co-product has long attained “critical mineral” status. However, with most global supplies of the material coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where mining conditions often involve unethical labor standards and [...]
  • It’s the Processing, Stupid? The Critical Mineral Supply Chain Challenge Visualized

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This Visual Capitalist graphic may not exactly qualify as a picture – but is certainly reveals a lot about the complexity and urgency of the West’s critical mineral woes, and underscores how China has managed to corner the strategic and clean energy materials supply chain especially when [...]
  • Securing the Supply Chain — “If Tesla’s Got Troubles, Everyone Should Worry”

    Every December, editors of the English-speaking world’s dictionaries release their choices for Word of the Year, a “word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest over the last 12 months.” Unsurprisingly, for 2020, the honorees were coronavirus-related terms, with Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com bestowing the honor on the word “Pandemic,” whereas the Collins Dictionary Word of the [...]
  • “Undoubtedly Good News for Industrial Metals” – a Look at the Senate-passed Infrastructure Package

    In a recent piece for Reuters, columnist Andy Home unpacks the U.S. Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure package.   While the bill has yet to make it through the U.S. House of Representatives and a likely conference committee, it is worth taking a look at what its passage could mean for the critical minerals sector. According to Home, the [...]
  • DoD Chapter of 100-Day Supply Chain Report Acknowledges Gateway/Co-product Challenge

    Friends of ARPN will know that “much of our work is grounded in a conviction that the Technology Age is driven by a revolution in materials science – a rapidly accelerating effort that is unlocking the potential of scores of metals and minerals long known but seldom utilized in our tools and technologies.” In this [...]
  • Podcast: Battery Tech Supply Chain Expert Simon Moores Discusses Lithium Challenge

    American Jobs Plan, Green New Deal … irrespective of whether these plans will get implemented fully or in part, the renewable energy transition is already here, and it’s here to stay. The renewable energy sector has been transforming at neck-breaking speed, and with that, demand for the metals and minerals underpinning the green energy shift [...]