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Lithium-ion batteries are expected to play a critical role in the green energy transition, but despite surging global demand for the metals that go into them, we’re doing a terrible job recovering those metals after batteries die. A first-of-its-kind bill introduced in the Senate this month seeks to change that by significantly boosting federal investments in lithium-ion battery recycling. Sponsored by Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine, the “ Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act of 2020 ” calls on Congress to dole out $150 million over the next five years to support research on “innovative” battery recycling approaches and to help establish of a national collection system that can harvest the spent batteries gathering dust in our closets. Lithium-ion batteries power everything from smartphones to laptops to electric cars, but with the global appetite for clean energy growing rapidly, experts worry the world could soon face shortages of key battery metals. The bill is the latest sign that politicians are becoming aware of this reality. It’s also a reminder that unless we figure out how to efficiently mine metals like cobalt and lithium from dead batteries, we’re going to need to mine the earth a lot more. […]

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