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DOE Invests Over $5 Million to Help Secure Domestic Supply Chain for Critical Minerals to Support Development of Clean Energy Technologies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) today announced $5.3 million in funding for five cutting-edge projects that will advance research supporting the domestic production of rare earth elements and other critical minerals.

A domestic supply chain of rare earth elements and other critical minerals is key to manufacturing clean energy technologies right here in America—such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells—that will help the nation reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Projects announced today will leverage the unique expertise of five DOE national laboratories to develop technologies to improve sensing and characterization of unconventional and secondary sources that contain rare earth elements and other critical minerals. These sources are typically derived from mining waste streams, including previous and current coal mining operations, or fossil energy-related waste streams, such as produced water from oil and gas operations.The selected projects will focus on technologies, methodologies, and approaches to characterize and assess these sources at field scale and on sensor technologies to detect and quantify rare earth elements and other critical minerals in mine wastes and other waste streams from coal mining and oil and gas production. Improvements in such technologies will help reduce the costs and time that it takes to evaluate and produce critical minerals, which is key to accelerating their domestic production to meet the nation’s goals.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory, under the purview of FECM, will manage the selected projects to be performed by the following DOE national laboratories:

·       Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, California)

·       Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, New Mexico)

·       Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Washington)

·       Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

·       SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Menlo Park, California)

A detailed list of the selected projects can be found here.

FECM funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial production, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the NETL website.