© Reuters. Employees are seen on the manufacturing line of lithium-ion batteries for electrical autos (EV) at a manufacturing unit in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/ File photograph
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Two influential Democratic U.S. senators urged the Vitality Division to take steps to spice up U.S. battery manufacturing and next-generation battery analysis, citing China’s dominance and export controls, in keeping with a letter seen by Reuters.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner and Vitality Committee Chair Joe Manchin cited consultants saying that the US is “ten to twenty years behind Asia in commercialization of battery expertise,” and famous that China accounts for greater than 75% of battery cell manufacturing.
“The U.S. should turn out to be a frontrunner in manufacturing batteries and battery parts, whereas securing our provide chains for the supplies that make up these parts,” the senators wrote in a beforehand unreported letter seen by Reuters, citing China’s resolution final month to limit exports of graphite, essential to manufacturing battery anodes.
China dominates the worldwide EV battery provide chain together with manufacturing of graphite – the one largest part.
The letter famous in 2022 the US produced lower than 10% of lithium-ion batteries in 2022 and mentioned demand is predicted to develop over seven occasions by 2035.
The letter desires a committee briefing by Dec. 1 “on ongoing analysis and growth of next-generation battery applied sciences.”
Lithium-ion batteries, the Pentagon has mentioned, are essential to hundreds of navy techniques from “handheld radios, to unmanned submersibles and to future capabilities like lasers, directed vitality weapons and hybrid electrical tactical autos,” the letter famous.
China accounts for 70% of the worldwide manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, the letter mentioned, noting of 5 essential minerals required for many lithium-ion batteries, China “controls between 60-100% of the mining or refining for these minerals.”
The letter additionally mentioned “it’s essential that the U.S. lead in next-generation battery expertise and various chemistries” and coordinate with the Division of Protection and different nationwide safety businesses “to assist procurement of progressive, U.S.-developed vitality storage applied sciences.”
A spokesperson for Vitality Secretary Jennifer Granholm didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.