DOE Invests in Critical Minerals Supply Chain

DOE Invests in Critical Minerals Supply Chain

April 8, 2024
“Critical materials are the building blocks of technologies needed for the transition to a net-zero clean energy future and for our national security,” 

On April 2, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management today announced $75 million for a project to develop a Critical Minerals Supply Chain Research Facility.

The project, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supports Executive Order 14017, which has made it a policy of the United States to have resilient, diverse, and secure critical mineral and material supply chains, which are central for U.S. energy security, economic prosperity, and national security as they underpin many clean energy technologies, vital manufacturing processes, and several key defense applications,the agency says. 

“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, in a statement. “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.”

DOE expects that the Critical Materials Supply Chain Research Facility will support other on-going government initiatives, such as the Critical Materials Collaborative and Critical Materials Innovation Hub, along with the overall DOE-wide critical mineral and material goals of diversifying and expanding supply, developing alternatives, improving efficiencies across the supply chain, and enabling a circular economy. 

A supply chain assessment in June 2021 found that over-reliance on foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals and materials poses national and economic security risks. These findings were consistent with identified risks for supply chain disruption found in DOE material strategies and criticality assessments, in the United States Geological Survey critical mineral lists in 2018 and 2022, and the recently released DOE Critical Materials Assessment.

Critical Materials Supply Chain Research Facility 

The project selected to support the development of a Critical Materials Supply Chain Research Facility will establish a nationwide foundational capability to address critical minerals and materials supply chain challenges.

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 National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory).

METALLIC will bring together expertise of the nine national laboratories to amplify the impact in critical minerals and materials research, development, demonstration, and deployment by providing rapid validation optimization, and commercialization of critical minerals and materials production and utilization technologies.

FECM’s Office of Resource Sustainability will manage the selected project. Additional details about the selected project can be found here.

DOE’s Broader Advancements in Critical Minerals and Materials 

In addition to today’s project announcement, FECM has committed an estimated $58 million to projects since January 2021 that support critical minerals and materials exploration, resource identification, production, and processing in traditional mining and fossil fuel-producing communities across the country. This total includes $17 million to strengthen the Nation’s critical minerals supply chain for three projects that will support the design and construction of facilities that produce rare earth elements and other critical minerals and materials from coal-based resources.

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