American-Made Challenges


Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize

Identify innovative solutions for collecting, sorting, storing, and transporting spent lithium-ion batteries.
$5.5 million in total prizes

Challenge Overview

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize

Innovation happens when the right resources, people, and passion come together to address a challenge. With the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize, teams of creative individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses will advance conceptual solutions to prototypes and finally to pilot validations to address challenges with the lithium-ion battery recycling supply chain. The goal of this $5.5-million phased prize competition is to develop and demonstrate processes that, when scaled, have the potential to capture 90% of all discarded or spent lithium-ion batteries in the United States for eventual recovery of key materials for re-introduction into the U.S. supply chain.


Phase III: Pilot Validation

In Phase III, the seven winning teams will demonstrate their ability to recover LIBs and verify the feasibility of achieving the end-to-end solution’s projected impact when fully scaled. Teams received up to $100,000 in vouchers to partner with industry experts and DOE’s National Laboratories through the American-Made Challenge Network to support their pilot validation. 



$5.5 million in incentives for innovation

The three phases of contests will fast-track efforts to find innovative solutions to solve current challenges associated with collecting, sorting, storing, and transporting spent/discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling.


Who can compete

Per the Phase III Rules, only Phase II winners may compete in Phase III. This is due to the structure of the contest, which allows participants to advance their solutions further in each phase. 

Interested parties can still participate in the contest by either partnering with a winning team to compete in Phase III. Other prize opportunities are available within the American-Made Challenge Network.  


For more information about the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize, refer to the official rules.


Challenge Guidelines

Official rules:

The Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize competition consists of three progressive phases. View the official rules for Phase II.  

The rules for Phase III will be available at a later date.  Phase I rules have been archived, but may be accessed here.


Watch this informational webinar for an overview of the rules, goals, timing, and submission tracks for the prize.

For multiple track submissions:

Eligible teams/participants can participate in and submit innovations for multiple prize tracks; however, eligible teams/participants are required to select a single track per submission and are limited to one solution per submission. Eligible teams/participants who would like to apply to multiple tracks need to submit separate solution packages for each track to which they apply.

Updates 13

Challenge Updates

Phase III Contest Rules Now Available

Jan. 13, 2021, 2:59 p.m. PST by Battery Recycling Prize

The official contest rules for Phase III of the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize are now available.  These rules detail the important dates, submission criteria, and scoring criteria for the Phase III contest. As a reminder, only Phase II winners are eligible to compete in Phase III. 

We also encourage teams to review the updated Voucher Guidelines, as well as the two new templates for use with vouchers provided under the "Resources" tab.

We look forward to watching the Phase II winners further advance and validate their concepts. 

Best wishes,

The Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize Team

Announcing the Phase II Winners of the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize

Dec. 17, 2020, 8:29 a.m. PST by Battery Recycling Prize

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the seven winners of Phase II of the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize. The phased prize competition is designed to help find innovative solutions to collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling. The goal is to develop and demonstrate processes that, when scaled, have the potential to profitably capture 90% of all discarded or spent lithium-based batteries in the United States, and re-introduce key materials into the U.S. supply chain.

Fourteen teams participated in Phase II of the Prize, which focused on building industry partnerships to design, simulate, and prototype a proof-of-concept solution. Phase II winners will each receive a $357,000 cash prize, in addition to $100,000 in non-cash vouchers to use at National Labs and approved organizations within the American-Made Challenges Network. These winners advance to the third and final phase of the Prize, pilot validation.  

The winning teams are:

Li Industries (Blacksburg, VA)Li Industries is developing a machine learning-based, automated Smart Battery Sorting System capable of accurately and efficiently sorting and separating batteries by several characteristics, including chemical composition, size, weight, and packaging type. End of life LIBs sorted this way can be fed into direct recycling processes that produce rejuvenated battery materials more cheaply and efficiently.
OnTo Technology (Bend, OR)OnTo’s deactivate, identify, sort, and cut (DISC) solution provides safe and efficient end-of-life processing of waste batteries by sorting LIBs by cathode chemistry. The DISC locations will be implemented across the country to minimize hazardous shipping. 
Powering the Future (Glendale, WI)Clarios is leveraging the existing network of collection for lead-acid batteries to collect end of life LIBs. This concept will apply innovative technologies to handle mixed EOL batteries to identify, separate LIBs from lead-acid, and ultimately optimize the network’s value.
Renewance (Chicago, IL)The Renewance Connect digital platform tracks and manages LIBs throughout their full life cycle. This asset tracking and marketplace concept optimizes reverse logistics and recycling activities by improving access to and utilizing existing infrastructure for decommissioning, collection, warehousing, sorting, transportation, and recycling services.
Smartville (San Diego, CA)Smartville is deploying distributed heterogeneous unifying battery (HUB) facilities to reduce costs and create value in the reverse logistics supply chain. LIBs will be fully balanced, conditioned, and certified within the Smartville HUB facility before being repurposed for secondary use or shipped to recyclers. 

Team Portables

(Seattle, WA)

Reward to Recycle is a consumer engagement smartphone app where consumers learn how to earn a reward for recycling their battery. This app uses a digital identity to track portable LIBs and support final recycling.
Titan Advanced Energy Solutions (Sommerville, MA)Battago is Titan’s Battery Market Intelligence platform built to generate, aggregate, and connect battery data to create a transparent marketplace and bridge the gap between battery owners, integrators, and end of life recyclers. This platform combines hardware and software capabilities to deliver battery identification through visual recognition, diagnostics, and rapid ultrasonic testing. 

The Battery Recycling Prize support DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge, which draws on the extensive research capabilities of the DOE National Laboratories, universities, and industry to accelerate the development of energy-storage technologies and sustain American global leadership in the energy storage technologies of the future.

The $5.5 million Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize was announced in January 2019. The Prize is sponsored by the Vehicle Technologies Office and the Advanced Manufacturing Office. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) serves as the administrator of the Prize. To learn more about the Battery Recycling Prize, please visit

Phase II Final Submission Template Now Available

Sept. 15, 2020, 12:43 p.m. PDT by Battery Recycling Prize

A Phase II Final Submission template is now available in the Resources tab of HeroX. Please refer to this template when drafting your submission. The deadline to upload your submission for Phase II is October 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

  1. A complete submission requires:15-page Proof of Concept and Partnering Narrative
  2. A short, three-minute video of concept validation.

For more details on the submission requirements, please see page 12 of the official Phase II rules.

Coming Soon: Phase II Final Submission Templates

Sept. 10, 2020, 12:51 p.m. PDT by Battery Recycling Prize

The Phase II online submission deadline, October 13, 2020, is fast approaching. A template will be provided soon outlining the Phase II submission required components. These sections will match what is provided in "What to Submit" beginning on page 12 of the Phase II Rules and Scoring Criteria. The final submission will include a 15-page Proof of Concept and Partnering Narrative as well as a recorded video of concept validation, no more than three minutes long. 

Please submit any questions about the final submissions to

Virtual Demo Day Connects Phase II Participants with Voucher Service Providers

July 30, 2020, 7:53 a.m. PDT by Battery Recycling Prize

On July 22, 2020, the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize team hosted a virtual Demo Day event where participants demonstrated their concepts and select Voucher Service Providers from the American-Made Challenge Network gave short presentations on their capabilities. The presentation slides from Demo Day have been shared in the Resources section on HeroX:

Forum 38
Teams 445