Northern Nevada gets tech hub designation from Biden administration

Northern Nevada gets tech hub designation from Biden administration

The Nevada Lithium Batteries and Other EV Material Loop, or the “Loop Tech Hub” will focus on mining, material production, battery manufacturing, and recycling of lithium battery materials and will be led by the University of Nevada, Reno. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

By Isabel Soisson

October 24, 2023

Northern Nevada will be home to a new tech hub, a designation meant to spur innovation and create jobs in the state’s growing lithium and battery materials sector, the Biden administration announced on Monday. 

The White House designated 32 technology hubs across the country and in Puerto Rico, including one in Nevada that will serve the Carson City and Reno metropolitan areas.

The Nevada Lithium Batteries and Other EV Material Loop, or the “Loop Tech Hub,” will be led by University of Nevada, Reno. The hub’s goal is to “build a regional cluster for lithium and battery materials,” and will focus on mining and material production, battery manufacturing, and recycling.

According to the US Economic Development Administration, this tech hub “seeks to make Nevada a strong node in a critical supply chain,” and make the country’s battery economy more resilient and competitive. In doing so, the United States’ transition to a clean energy economy will be accelerated.

“We’re going to invest in critical technologies like biotechnology, critical materials, quantum computing, advanced manufacturing — so the US will lead the world again in innovation across the board,” President Biden said at the White House on Monday. “I truly believe this country is about to take off.”

The designation of these 32 hubs is the result of a process launched in May by the Commerce Department to distribute $500 million in grants to these cities. Nevada can now compete for up to $75 million of those funds. The money came from a $10 billion allocation authorized in last year’s CHIPS and Science Act, which invested billions of dollars into semiconductor research, development, and production.

The program, formally known as the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program, is an attempt to expand tech investment beyond the few US cities it’s currently concentrated in. The program also ties into President Biden’s economic agenda—dubbed “Bidenomics”–-which is based on the premise that people should be able to find good jobs where they live.

These tech hubs will also receive support to attract foreign investment and technical assistance from other federal agencies including the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, and the Small Business Administration.

Northern Nevada is already the site of several lithium and battery materials companies, including Panasonic Energy, Ioneer and Dragonfly Energy, and Redwood Materials. Earlier this year, Redwood Materials received a $2 billion loan guarantee from the Dept. of Energy for its battery recycling and manufacturing facility east of Reno-Sparks.

Nevada’s Democratic Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto celebrated Nevada’s designation on Monday.

“Northern Nevada is uniquely positioned to help power our nation’s clean energy future through battery and electric vehicle innovation,” Sen. Rosen said in a statement. “This announcement is a recognition that Nevada is a regional leader in lithium battery technology, and I’ll keep fighting to ensure Nevada is selected for the final funding award.”

“We are leading the country’s clean energy economy and I’m proud to have fought for the University of Nevada, Reno and all of Northern Nevada to be officially designated as a hub for innovation and job creation,” Sen. Cortez Masto added.

The other regional tech hubs announced on Monday are located in Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Montana, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, Maryland, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Minnesota, Louisiana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New York, Nevada, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Ohio, Maine, Washington, and Puerto Rico.

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.

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