Catalyzing Innovative Research for Circular Use of Long-Lived Advanced Rechargeables (CIRCULAR)

Active
No
Status
Posted
Published Date
January 31st, 2024
Close Date
March 19th, 2024
Total Funding
$30,000,000.00
Award Ceiling
$5,000,000.00
Award Floor
$500,000.00
Expected No. Awards
0
Opportunity No.
DE-FOA-0003303

Agency

Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (DOE-ARPAE)

Eligible Applicants

Unrestricted

Funding Category

Science and Technology and other Research and Development

Funding Instrument

Procurement Contract

Opportunity Category

Discretionary

Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement

Yes

Additional Information

https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov

Summary

The federal grant notice titled "Catalyzing Innovative Research for Circular Use of Long-Lived Advanced Rechargeables (CIRCULAR)" is being offered by the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E), an organization within the Department of Energy (DOE). The grant aims to support the development of innovative solutions for creating a circular economy in the domestic electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain. A circular economy refers to an economy that focuses on restorative and regenerative industrial processes and economic activities. It aims to maintain the highest value of resources used and eliminate waste through superior design. In the context of the EV battery supply chain, the goal is to optimize the full vehicle life cycle by shifting from production and sales to a model that focuses on customers' mobility needs and access. The grant seeks to overcome technological and economic barriers to achieve a circular EV battery supply chain in North America. This includes developing foundational technologies that can maintain materials and products in circulation at their highest level of performance and safety for as long as possible. The program aims to decrease energy-related imports, reduce emissions, and improve energy efficiency within the battery supply chain. Applicants interested in this grant opportunity should visit the ARPA-E eXCHANGE website for additional information and to submit their proposals. The submission deadline is 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time on March 19, 2024.

Description

Agency Description: The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), an organization within the Department of Energy (DOE), is chartered by Congress in the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-69), as amended by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358), as further amended by the Energy Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-260): “(A) to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States through the development of energy technologies that— (i) reduce imports of energy from foreign sources; (ii) reduce energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; (iii) improve the energy efficiency of all economic sectors; (iv) provide transformative solutions to improve the management, clean-up, and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel; and (v) improve the resilience, reliability, and security of infrastructure to produce, deliver, and store energy; and (B) to ensure that the United States maintains a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.” ARPA-E issues this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under its authorizing statute codified at 42 U.S.C. § 16538. The FOA and any cooperative agreements or grants made under this FOA are subject to 2 C.F.R. Part 200 as supplemented by 2 C.F.R. Part 910. ARPA-E funds research on, and the development of, transformative science and technology solutions to address the energy and environmental missions of the Department. The agency focuses on technologies that can be meaningfully advanced with a modest investment over a defined period of time in order to catalyze the translation from scientific discovery to early-stage technology. For the latest news and information about ARPA-E, its programs and the research projects currently supported, see: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/. ARPA-E funds transformational research. Existing energy technologies generally progress on established “learning curves” where refinements to a technology and the economies of scale that accrue as manufacturing and distribution develop drive improvements to the cost/performance metric in a gradual fashion. This continual improvement of a technology is important to its increased commercial deployment and is appropriately the focus of the private sector or the applied technology offices within DOE. In contrast, ARPA-E supports transformative research that has the potential to create fundamentally new learning curves. ARPA-E technology projects typically start with cost/performance estimates well above the level of an incumbent technology. Given the high risk inherent in these projects, many will fail to progress, but some may succeed in generating a new learning curve with a projected cost/performance metric that is significantly better than that of the incumbent technology. ARPA-E funds technology with the potential to be disruptive in the marketplace. The mere creation of a new learning curve does not ensure market penetration. Rather, the ultimate value of a technology is determined by the marketplace, and impactful technologies ultimately become disruptive – that is, they are widely adopted and displace existing technologies from the marketplace or create entirely new markets. ARPA-E understands that definitive proof of market disruption takes time, particularly for energy technologies. Therefore, ARPA-E funds the development of technologies that, if technically successful, have clear disruptive potential, e.g., by demonstrating capability for manufacturing at competitive cost and deployment at scale. ARPA-E funds applied research and development. The Office of Management and Budget defines “applied research” as an “original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge…directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective” and defines “experimental development” as “creative and systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience, which is directed at producing new products or processes or improving existing products or processes.” Applicants interested in receiving financial assistance for basic research (defined by the Office of Management and Budget as “experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts”) should contact the DOE’s Office of Science (http://science.energy.gov/). Office of Science national scientific user facilities (http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/) are open to all researchers, including ARPA-E Applicants and awardees. These facilities provide advanced tools of modern science including accelerators, colliders, supercomputers, light sources and neutron sources, as well as facilities for studying the nanoworld, the environment, and the atmosphere. Projects focused on early-stage R&D for the improvement of technology along defined roadmaps may be more appropriate for support through the DOE applied energy offices including: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (http://www.eere.energy.gov/), the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (https://www.energy.gov/fecm/office-fossil-energy-and-carbon-management), the Office of Nuclear Energy (http://www.energy.gov/ne/office-nuclear-energy), and the Office of Electricity (https://www.energy.gov/oe/office-electricity). FOA Description: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a circular economy “refers to an economy that uses a systems-focused approach and involves industrial processes and economic activities that are restorative or regenerative by design, enables resources used in such processes and activities to maintain their highest value for as long as possible, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, and systems.” Further, “a circular economy reduces material use, redesigns materials, products, and services to be less resource intensive, and recaptures ‘waste’ as a resource to manufacture new materials and products.” Successfully achieving a circular economy requires implementing the above principles to the supply chains of numerous products. Specifically, creating a circular EV battery supply chain focuses on optimizing the full vehicle life cycle. Thus, the emphasis must shift from production and sales within an ownership model to a model focusing on customers’ mobility needs and access in the form of leasing, as it exists today, vehicle-on-demand (e.g., Zipcar®), and mobility-on-demand (e.g., robotaxis). These different business models may coexist but will require increasing collaboration and transparency among different actors, while costs and revenues will be distributed across the supply chain. A circular supply chain offers new revenue streams and business opportunities by providing services to maximize EVs’ lifetime performance through: • Enhancing regular predictive maintenance; • Repairing and remanufacturing of battery modules and packs; • Improving the reuse and recovery of EOL parts and materials; and • Minimizing carbon footprint and maximizing resource efficiency. A circular supply chain also offers opportunities to reduce production and operating costs by: • Improving the quality and stability of critical minerals’ supply chains through cell regeneration, reuse, and recycling; • Facilitating rework, reuse, repair, and remanufacture of batteries through modular designs, reversible manufacturing materials and methods; and • Reducing asset costs per unit amount of energy delivered owing to the retention of the embedded manufacturing value of batteries, their prolonged lifetime, and the extended use of EVs. The overarching goal of the CIRCULAR program is to successfully translate the above definition of a circular economy to the domestic EV battery supply chain by supporting the development of innovative solutions that can overcome both the technological and economic barriers to broad commercial adoption. CIRCULAR acknowledges that simultaneous advancements in multiple technological domains may be required to accomplish this ambitious objective. Therefore, the program is intentionally structured into four technology development categories designed to converge towards the creation of a domestic circular supply chain for EV batteries. The CIRCULAR program recognizes that conventional recycling is not the only, nor primary, pathway to closing the supply chain loop. Therefore, the primary objective of this program is to catalyze the creation of a circular EV battery supply chain in North America. The program will support the development and deployment of foundational technologies capable of maintaining materials and products in circulation at their highest level of performance and safety for as long as possible. Achieving this goal will directly impact ARPA-E mission areas as follows: • Decrease Energy-Related Imports: The CIRCULAR program aims to reduce the import of critical battery materials, cells, packs, and EVs by establishing new supply chain loops within the U.S. Currently, individual steps in the battery supply chain (mining, material processing, cell component assembly, battery cell manufacturing, and recycling) are concentrated mostly outside of the U.S. • Reduce Emissions: The CIRCULAR program aims to decrease the domestic energy burden and carbon footprint of the EV battery supply chain by extending the service life of battery cells and packs and by maintaining manufacturing value to the greatest extent possible through regeneration, repair, reuse, and remanufacture. The program will also reduce emissions associated with battery recycling by minimizing the amount of waste and by recycling only pack components that have reached their EOL. • Improve Energy Efficiency: The CIRCULAR program aims to minimize energy and material consumption within the battery supply chain and to exploit opportunities to improve energy efficiency through innovative battery design, material regeneration, and/or manufacturing strategies. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a circular economy “refers to an economy that uses a systems-focused approach and involves industrial processes and economic activities that are restorative or regenerative by design, enables resources used in such processes and activities to maintain their highest value for as long as possible, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, and systems.” Further, “a circular economy reduces material use, redesigns materials, products, and services to be less resource intensive, and recaptures ‘waste’ as a resource to manufacture new materials and products.” Successfully achieving a circular economy requires implementing the above principles to the supply chains of numerous products. Specifically, creating a circular EV battery supply chain focuses on optimizing the full vehicle life cycle. Thus, the emphasis must shift from production and sales within an ownership model to a model focusing on customers’ mobility needs and access in the form of leasing, as it exists today, vehicle-on-demand (e.g., Zipcar®), and mobility-on-demand (e.g., robotaxis). These different business models may coexist but will require increasing collaboration and transparency among different actors, while costs and revenues will be distributed across the supply chain. A circular supply chain offers new revenue streams and business opportunities22 by providing services to maximize EVs’ lifetime performance through: • Enhancing regular predictive maintenance; • Repairing and remanufacturing of battery modules and packs; • Improving the reuse and recovery of EOL parts and materials; and • Minimizing carbon footprint and maximizing resource efficiency. A circular supply chain also offers opportunities to reduce production and operating costs by: • Improving the quality and stability of critical minerals’ supply chains through cell regeneration, reuse, and recycling; • Facilitating rework, reuse, repair, and remanufacture of batteries through modular designs, reversible manufacturing materials and methods; and • Reducing asset costs per unit amount of energy delivered owing to the retention of the embedded manufacturing value of batteries, their prolonged lifetime, and the extended use of EVs. To view the FOA in its entirety, please visit https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov.

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