LIBRA: Lithium-Ion Battery Resource Assessment Model

LIBRA logo

The Lithium-Ion Battery Resource Assessment Model (LIBRA) provides critical insight into lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery manufacturing, reuse, and recycling across the global supply chain under dynamic conditions.

Developed at NREL with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, LIBRA helps researchers determine how to build a resilient and robust supply chain, grow domestic manufacturing, and meet decarbonization goals.

LIBRA in Action

LIBRA explores the technological advances and market signals that could affect global supply chains for raw materials, primary and recycled batteries, and electric vehicles. LIBRA has demonstrated that the growing demand for Li-ion batteries presents opportunities for domestic manufacturing, recycling, and global partnerships, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and greater use of clean energy.

Additional key insights include:

  • Investments and research progress necessary to grow the li-ion battery recycling industry
  • Importance of battery chemistry and sorting in the recycling supply chain
  • Specific regional potential of recycling to offset mineral imports
  • Economic and job benefits due to battery manufacturing and recycling.

NREL researchers have used LIBRA to support industry, academia, and government agencies to provide insights to strengthen the U.S. battery recycling supply chain.

Learn more about NREL's battery recycling analysis projects.

Framework and User Interface

LIBRA considers five electric vehicle types, consumer electronics, and stationary grid storage batteries to understand interconnections between battery manufacturers and market demands, including future applications and developments. LIBRA operates in a system dynamics framework, which considers the continued evolution of the battery and use markets. The tool also includes advanced feedback loops that inform calculated changes throughout the stages of the supply chain.

Graphic shows how interconnecting data informs the LIBRA model, including: consumer, battery electric storage, light-duty vehicle, commercial vehicle, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, electric bus, two- and three-wheeled vehicles, battery marketplace, hydro and pyro recycling, minerals marketplace, battery manufacturing, cathode manufacturing, direct recycling, recycling investment attractiveness.
This illustration shows how LIBRA considers a multitude of factors to determine how market demand (left) can impact the battery marketplace and resource availability. Graphic by NREL

NREL researchers have designed an online interface to allow public users access to essential inputs and outputs from the LIBRA model. The online interface includes 12 screens for background and assumptions, inputs, results, and scenario evaluation and allows users to change parameters and quickly see their combined impact on the model outputs. In addition, the LIBRA interface can quickly run different scenarios and compare results for further evaluation.

Graph shows minerals recovered (cobalt, nickel, and lithium) from end of life batteries based on fraction and years.
Graph shows share of end of life batteries recycled, including manufacturing scrap, over time, based on six different scenarios.

Two examples of how to use LIBRA. (Left) LIBRA shows the availability of critical minerals (cobalt, nickel, and lithium) recovered from end-of-life batteries over time. (Right) LIBRA illustrates six possible recycling scenarios for end-of-life batteries, including manufacturing (Mfg) scrap recycled.

Within the online interface, users can modify battery demand, lifetime, and chemistries to illustrate potential future scenarios that can inform policy and infrastructure investments needed to develop a domestic and robust supply chain. In addition, LIBRA can consider manufacturing impacts, such as plant finances, investment subsidies, material prices, logistic costs, and efficiency.

Critical Parameters

NREL researchers designed LIBRA to include these critical parameters to allow stakeholders to clarify how different variables affect outputs through sensitivity studies:

Electric vehicle deployment projections

Battery chemistry changes

Battery sorting

Policy impacts

Inclusion of consumer electronics in the recycling stream (i.e., collection and sorting efforts)

Piloting new technologies (industrial learning)

Impact of manufacturing scrap on recycling economics

Mineral prices

Storage time for end-of-life batteries (stockpiling)

Manufacturing and recycling process yield.


Contact NREL’s analysis experts to request access to the LIBRA model.

Margaret (Maggie) Mann