American-Made Challenges


Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize

Identify innovative solutions for collecting, sorting, storing, and transporting spent lithium-ion batteries.
Demo Day (Voluntary)
$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 demonstrations 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 II: Prototyping and Partnering 

In Phase II, the 15 winning teams from the Phase I Contest will advance their winning concepts into end-to-end solutions that demonstrate a viable business model that can be scaled. An end-to-end solution, for the purposes of this contest, collects lithium-ion batteries at the end of their useful life and delivers them to a facility where they can be recycled. The proposed solution may or may not include an intermediate step for secondary use. Phase II submissions should include all four Phase I tracks (Collection, Separating and Sorting, Safe Storage and Transportation, and Reverse Logistics) in a single solution. 

Up to 10 winners in Phase II will be awarded up to $2,500,000 distributed equally among each winner. In addition to the cash prizes, winners will also receive a non-cash prize of up to $100,000 in vouchers that may be redeemed at national labs and qualified members of the American-Made Network. Voucher funds can be used to validate or support the demonstration of a full end-to-end solution during the Phase III contest.



$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.


Tracks of interest to this Battery Recycling Prize

Phase II submissions should include the four Phase I tracks in a single solution. Tracks are not meant to encompass all the challenges associated with increasing the volume of the lithium-ion battery recycling supply chain, but to offer pathways to approach the challenges. The tracks are further explained below:

  • Track 1: Collection — Develop a system or systems to incentivize and increase collection volume; this can include development of infrastructure or distributed network, deployment of social media, or devising a new business model.
  • Track 2: Separation and Sorting — Create a system of automated sorting and separation that is more effective (faster, more accurate, and cheaper) than current technologies.
  • Track 3: Safe Storage and Transportation — Develop solutions that could render batteries safe or inert during storage and shipping for further downstream processing.
  • Track 4: Reverse Logistics — Conceive solutions that minimize the cost of moving batteries out of end users' hands to recycling facilities, smooth the recycling supply chain, and anticipate the flow of materials.


Who can compete

Per the Phase I Rules, only Phase I winners may compete in Phase II. 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 II or by joining the American Made Network. In addition to the cash prize, winning teams of Phase II will receive $100,000 in vouchers to access tools, equipment, and expertise from Voucher Service Providers within the network. 



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


Challenge Timeline

Jan. 17, 2019, 6 a.m. PST
Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize Competition Announced
Feb. 15, 2019, 7:58 a.m. PST
Date Launched
Feb. 15, 2019, 1 p.m. PST
Phase I Starts – Launch Website: Registration Opens

Registration Deadline: July 31st at 5pm PST / 8pm EST
Aug. 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Concept Papers Submission Deadline
(8:00 pm ET)
Aug. 10, 2019, 7 p.m. PDT
Aug. 26, 2019, 10:59 p.m. PDT
Judging Closed
Sept. 25, 2019, 11 a.m. PDT
Phase I Winners (Phase II Eligible Participants) Announcement
Oct. 1, 2019, 5 a.m. PDT
Phase II Starts with Informing Phase I Winners of Next Steps
Participants Develop Proof of Concepts through Prototype Validation
(actual date may vary)
Jan. 13, 2020, 11 p.m. PST
Phase II Begins
Official start of Phase II Contest
Jan. 27, 2020, 8 a.m. PST
Phase II Registration Opens

Teams must register to compete in Phase II
Feb. 13, 2020, 1:45 p.m. PST
Phase II Partnering Event (Voluntary)
Partnering opportunity for participants and industry stakeholders.
April 22, 2020, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Registration Closed
Phase II Registration Deadline

All eligible Phase II participants intending to participate in Phase II, must register on HeroX in order to submit a concept update. Phase II participants must be a team that is led by a legal business entity, as specified in the “Who Can Win” (page 16) section of the the Phase II Rules.

This date is subject to change.
April 23, 2020, 8 a.m. PDT
Phase II Concept Update

All Phase II participants must provide a concept status update using the template provided on the HeroX website. Participants will receive feedback from the Prize Administrators on their concept update to inform their development and prototype validation plans and the overall end-to-end solution concept. For more information, see “What to Submit” (page 11) within the Phase II Rules.
May 6, 2020, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Phase II Concept Update deadline
May 7, 2020, 7 a.m. PDT
Phase II Online Submission opens
June 17, 2020, 6 a.m. PDT
Phase II Demo Day Registration opens
July 15, 2020, 10:59 p.m. PDT
Registration Closed
Phase II Demo Day Registration closes
register by 11:59pm ET
July 22, 2020, 5 a.m. PDT
Demo Day (Voluntary)
Demo Day is anticipated to take place in July 2020. The date, time and place are subject to change.
Aug. 5, 2020, 1:13 p.m. PDT
You are here
Oct. 13, 2020, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Phase II Online Submission Deadline
Phase II online submission deadline.

Online submission requirements are defined in “What to Submit” (page 11) and will be scored according to “Scoring Criteria” (page 15) within the Phase II Rules. A template will be provided on HeroX closer to the deadline.

This date is subject to change.
Nov. 11, 2020, 11 p.m. PST
Participant's Day
November 12 - 13, 2020.

Location TBD. Date is subject to change.
Updates 9
Forum 33
Community 384