As part of a wider programme of 30 projects designed to make critical US supply chains more resilient, government departments under the Biden Administration are coordinating a range of clean energy and circular economy funding initiatives that will support the manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, and make logistics more sustainable.
The Department of Energy (DoE) is investing $250m into its Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program with the aim of setting up clean energy supply chains in areas affected by coal mine or power plant closures. That includes localised production of critical materials and components for grid-scale batteries and EVs. The DoE is also providing $10m in funding for a “critical material accelerator” and offering $5.6m as a prize to develop circular clean energy supply chains. The funding builds on DoE’s $3.5-billion investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to boost domestic production of advanced batteries and battery materials needed for EVs and energy storage.
Since 2020, legislation brought in by the US government has included the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), all of which intersect in energising sustainable supply chains and supporting the environmental priorities for vehicle production.
The DoE is also developing an assessment tool to account for raw materials, manufacturing, workforce and logistics.
At the same time, the Department of Commerce (DoC) is working on a cross-governmental supply chain data-sharing plan and has setup a Supply Chain Center to bring in industry expertise and data analytics to develop supply chain risk-assessment tools. The DoC said the centre is coordinating deep-dive analysis on select critical supply chains to increase their resilience.
The DoC is also collaborating with the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain and further implement the Chips and Science Act. The act provides around $280 billion in new funding to boost domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors in the US.
Flow data for logistics
Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation’s (DoT) public-private partnership programme – Freight Logistics Optimization Works (Flow) – is working to ensure the reliable movement of goods. The department has announced that participants are beginning to utilise Flow data to inform their logistics decision making, “helping to avoid bottlenecks, shorten lead times for customers, and enable a more resilient and globally competitive freight network through earlier warnings of supply chain disruption”.
The DoT has also launched the Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy, responsible for maintaining and improving the nation’s multimodal freight network. That includes through the development of the National Multimodal Freight Network, review of State Freight Plans, and the continued advancement of the Flow initiative in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Smart manufacturing plan
In terms of manufacturing, the DoE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office is sponsoring a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine to develop a nationwide plan for smart manufacturing. According to a US government statement the report “will establish key priorities for investment to support new digital and artificial intelligence technologies. These investments will enhance the productivity and security of the manufacturing systems that are critical for maintaining domestic supply chains”.
The DoE has also announced $22m to 12 state-run programmes to boost smart manufacturing at the level of small- and medium-sized facilities. The State Manufacturing Leadership Program aims to make smart manufacturing technologies and high-performance computing more accessible for use across the domestic manufacturing sector.