DOE Backs Loans for Battery Anode Plant, Green Hydrogen Project

by Christian Roselund

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made its first two conditional commitments during the Biden Administration through its loan guarantee program, helping to secure funding for a battery anode plant and a massive green hydrogen project. While these still must be finalized, they show a commitment to “on-shore” battery supply chains and help to deploy hydrogen for flexible, zero-carbon
electricity generation.

In the first commitment, on 18 April DOE announced that it will guarantee a $107 million loan to an Australian miner to build a facility to process graphite into battery anodes in Louisiana. If approved, the loan to Syrah Technologies will be the first made under DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program (ATVM) in more than a decade. The ATVM has previously provided loans to Tesla and Ford Motor Company.

While car companies and battery makers have announced plans for several battery manufacturing plants in the United States, the supply chains for these batteries are dominated by China. This is particularly true of processing of graphite for lithium-ion battery anodes. In April 2021 Australia’s Renascor Resources announced that it had raised $11.6 million to fund a graphite processing plant for battery anodes in South Australia, and if this project is completed it could be the first such plant outside of China.

DOE’s conditional award to Syrah follows on the Department of Defense awarding a $35 million contract to a facility to process rare earths in Nevada on 22 February, 2022, and on Biden’s 31 March 2022 authorization of the Defense Production Act to fund projects for battery minerals.

In its second commitment, on 26 April DOE announced that it will backstop $504 million in loans to support the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project. The ACES project features 220 megawatts of hydrogen electrolyzers powered by renewable energy, storage for the hydrogen produced in salt caverns, and a power plant to burn the hydrogen and generate electricity. All of this will take place on the site of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) former Intermountain coal plant in Utah and is part of LADWP’s plans to transition to 100% renewable electricity.

When announced in 2019 ACES was the first big project by a utility to build a hydrogen-burning power plant and inspired many similar projects across the United States. Like the other projects the ACES plant will initially burn a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen, and transition to pure hydrogen.

Read more:
Source: LPO Offers First Conditional Commitment for Critical Materials Project for Syrah Vidalia to Support Domestic EV Supply Chain (DOE Loan Programs Office)

Source: Innovative Clean Energy Loan Guarantees Gathering Momentum, New Conditional Commitment Offered for Hydrogen Production and Storage Project (DOE Loan Programs Office)