In the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed by U.S. President Biden at the end of last year, the Department of Energy will invest $2.19 billion to build a complete supply chain of lithium batteries and other energy storage technologies, reducing the potential for the U.S. military and U.S. companies to develop electric vehicles or military vehicles in the future. The extent to which it is affected by international situations or foreign suppliers when equipped.
Although the U.S. Department of Energy has invested a lot of money in energy storage technology in the past 20 years, the $2.19 billion this time is quite different from the past. , The complete lithium battery supply chain from manufacturing to recycling greatly reduces the dependence on the international supply chain.
In the past, due to the reliance on international supply chains, the United States rarely exploited the large amount of lithium ore contained in the country. This investment will also expand mining deposits, and in order to reduce the damage to the environment during the mining process, it will also increase investment in new mining technologies, such as the one recently used in California. Geothermal brine mines are expected to start supplying lithium mines in 2024.
The Department of Energy pointed out that in recent years, the development of electric vehicles and various green energy industries has greatly increased the demand for battery production materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite. This investment will allow the United States to master the source and source of raw materials for lithium batteries and other energy storage technologies. Product manufacturing ensures U.S. energy independence, national security, and corporate competitiveness, and can also provide new momentum for U.S. economic growth.
In 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce and State Department jointly formed The Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB), and announced The National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries, becoming the first The lithium battery development policy led by the U.S. government, and the Ministry of Defense in the blueprint also shows that having an independent lithium battery supply chain is very important for the U.S. military to develop new equipment and maintain national security.
At present, the U.S. military just purchases various specifications of lithium batteries every year. The cost of batteries from individual soldier communication, night vision equipment to land, sea and air vehicles is as high as 200 million US dollars. This does not include various laboratories under the Ministry of Defense. For many research Therefore, if the United States can have a complete lithium battery supply chain in China, it will be able to maintain the combat capability of the US military for a long time.
The U.S. military’s attitude towards electric vehicles has also gradually shifted from the conservative wait-and-see approach in the past to a positive one. As many studies have shown that if the armored vehicles use gasoline-electric hybrid power, it will save more than 30% of fuel consumption every year. Therefore, it is currently working with joint tactical Vehicle (JLTV) manufacturer Oshkosh, conducts various tests of electric JLTV.
If the United States gradually establishes a domestic lithium battery supply chain, in the future, in the situation of great power competition, it is expected that the United States will also use its own lithium batteries to supply energy as a bargaining chip between alliance camps and increase its own influence on allies.