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DOE puts $75M into domestic minerals

Metal Tech News - April 5, 2024

U.S. Department of Energy is funding a Critical Materials Supply Chain Research Facility support a resilient and secure domestic supply chain.

The Department of Energy is funding a Critical Materials Supply Chain Research Facility that will help support a secure domestic supply of minerals and materials critical to economic prosperity, national security, and the green energy transition in the U.S.

This week, the DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced $75 million for the project, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to strengthen domestic supply chains while reducing reliance on unreliable foreign sources.

The project also supports President Biden's Executive Order 14017, prioritizing resilient, diverse, and secure critical mineral and material supply chains central to U.S. energy security, a growing number of vital manufacturing processes (such as electronics,) and key defense applications.

"Critical materials are the building blocks of technologies needed for the transition to a net-zero clean energy future and for our national security," said Brad Crabtree, assistant secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. "To help ensure a secure domestic supply, DOE is investing in projects to help accelerate the production of essential critical minerals and materials from a diverse set of sources, working with other agencies and the private sector as part of a government-wide strategy."

The Critical Materials Supply Chain Research Facility is expected to support the DOE's overall goals of diversifying and expanding supply, developing alternatives, improving the supply chain, and enabling a circular economy. It will dovetail into several other developing and ongoing initiatives, such as the Critical Materials Collaborative and Critical Materials Innovation Hub.

In June of 2021, a supply chain review report and DOE Critical Minerals Assessment found U.S. over-reliance on foreign sources and adversarial nations for energy transition and defense-related minerals and processing has presented unacceptable national and economic security risks to supply chain disruption.

A METALLIC project

The National Energy Technology Laboratory will lead the Minerals to Materials Supply Chain Facility (METALLIC) project, which includes participation from eight other DOE national laboratories: Ames, Argonne, Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest.

METALLIC will bring the cumulative expertise of these nine national laboratories together to expedite critical minerals and materials research, development, demonstration and commercialization of critical minerals and materials production and technologies.

The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) Office of Resource Sustainability will manage the project. Additional details about the project can be found here.

FECM's related projects

FECM is working to minimize the impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions in the U.S. economy.

Since January 2021, FECM has committed an estimated $58 million to projects that support the exploration, production, and processing of critical minerals in communities across the country that formerly held traditional mining and fossil fuel-producing activities.

This total includes $17 million to three projects that will support the design and construction of facilities that produce rare earth elements and other materials from coal-based resources.

The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will perform a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study needed to establish a fully integrated, vertical supply chain located within the State of Illinois for production of select critical minerals from coal-based sources.

Pennsylvania-based Winner Water Services, Inc. will build on prior technology development to complete a FEED study on recovering rare earths from coal ash in Georgia while preparing the coal ash for the concrete market.

Texas-based Tetra Tech, Inc. will build on prior technology development to complete a FEED study located in Pennsylvania on recovering rare earths and potentially other critical minerals from coal byproducts (underclay) while processing the clays to a salable grade.

The technological areas of highest priority include carbon capture and conversion, carbon dioxide removal, transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production.


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