In the span of a few decades, Lithium-ion batteries have gone from a relatively new technology to the foundation upon which many policymakers and entrepreneurs plan to build a carbon-free future. With demand for these batteries expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, it is crucial to ensure sustainable access to supplies in order to keep up with demand. Failing to do so could have major consequences for a green energy future. This paper explores many of the issues that battery supplies may face in coming decades, the impacts those issues may have, and possible solutions to reduce or eliminate those risks. Rare metals such as Lithium, Nickel, and Cobalt, are necessary to produce Lithium-ion batteries, yet there exist a number of barriers, both domestic and international, that could severely limit US access to these resources. These include a lack of domestic reserves, environmental risks from mining and extraction, and reliance on other, sometimes hostile nations for raw inputs and manufacturing capacity. In order to establish a strong and sustainable domestic market for batteries for both electric vehicles and electricity storage, policymakers and innovators should seek opportunities now to identify and solve these potential issues. Some of these solutions include growing sustainable mining and manufacturing in the US, focusing on increasing recycling capabilities for lithium-ion batteries, and incentivizing the innovation of new battery technologies that can reduce reliance on these rare-earth metals.
University / Institution: Utah State University
Format: In Person
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Business
Faculty Mentor: Brian Isom