Administration Details Supply Chain Battery, Semiconductor Plans

A picture of lithium battery production

The White House released a 250-page report Tuesday detailing work done on 100-day supply chain reviews ordered by President Joe Biden.

The reviews detailed plans to bring high-capacity lithium batteries to an end-to-end domestic supply chain. It also laid out goals to address semiconductor chip shortages.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese met with cabinet members to discuss the report. The White House said the group discussed the broad bipartisan agreement for strengthening supply chains, including the bill to invest $52 billion in domestic production and research and development (R&D) in the semiconductor industry. The Senate approved the bill later in the day.

Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Sameera Fazili said the Department of Energy would take steps to advance support for high-capacity battery research, manufacturing, and processing. The administration also will announce a strategy to increase U.S. production and processing of critical materials such as lithium.

“On semiconductors, the Department of Commerce will double down on their ongoing work to convene industry and work with allies and partners to increase transparency, communication and trust throughout the semiconductor supply chain,” Fazili said. “Throughout our work on supply chains, we have been heartened to see the bipartisan support for supply chain security and resiliency.”

The report detailed the integral role high-capacity batteries play in clean energy and national security technologies. The batteries are primarily used in electric vehicle (EV) automobiles, but they also are used by RV battery providers such as Volta Power Systems to power motorhomes. The high-capacity batteries would be used to power EV RVs, such as those Lordstown Motors and Camping World are designing, as well as those powered by EV chassis like Shyft Group unveiled.

With the global lithium battery market expected to grow by a factor of five to 10 by 2030, the report said the U.S. needed to scale up a secure, diversified domestic supply chain.

“That means seizing a critical opportunity to increase domestic battery manufacturing while investing to scale the full lithium battery supply chain,” the report stated, “including the sourcing and processing of the critical minerals used in battery production all the way through to end-of-life battery collection and recycling.”

The Energy Department will begin the effort by releasing a national lithium battery blueprint. The report said the blueprint will codify the review’s findings in a 10-year plan to urgently develop the domestic supply chain. Later in June, the department will host a battery roundtable, featuring representatives from each supply chain segment, to discuss the blueprint.

The report said the department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) will immediately leverage $17 billion in loan authority in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) to support the domestic battery supply chain. The ATVM program will make loans to advanced technology vehicle battery cells manufacturers and manufacturers. Meanwhile, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) will work to deploy energy storage projects. The work will begin with a storage review and launch a call for projects from federal sites interested in deploying energy storage projects.

The report also addressed semiconductors, noting the U.S. global production share from 37% to 12% the past two decades. The difference becomes greater on leading edge logic chips, with Taiwan producing 92% globally.

“Our reliance on imported chips introduces new vulnerabilities into the critical semiconductor supply chain,” the report stated.

The review suggested proactive investment in domestic production and R&D, contained in legislation currently moving through Congress. The U.S. must develop an ecosystem that grows innovative small, medium, and disadvantaged businesses, the report said, and building a skilled worker pipeline. Finally, the review encouraged partnerships to promote global resilience.

Through strategic industry engagement, the Commerce Department supported nearly $75 billion in direct private sector private sector investments in domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D. Partnerships will be built on recent engagements with Japan and South Korea that included more than $17 billion in U.S. semiconductor investments by leading South Korean companies, the report stated.

To oversee the review’s recommendations implementation, the White House established a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. The Task Force will be led by the Commerce, Transportation and Agriculture secretaries. The group will focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident: homebuilding and construction, semiconductors, transportation, and agriculture and food.

“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches,” the White House stated.

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