Department of Energy Announces $30 Million for Innovation in Critical Materials Processing Technologies

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $30 million in funding for research and development that focuses on field validation and demonstration, as well as next-generation extraction, separation, and processing technologies for critical materials.

Critical materials are used in many products important to the American economy. Rare-earth elements, for example, are essential to the manufacture of high-strength magnets used in electric-vehicle motors and offshore wind-turbine generators. The Department is working toward reducing both the costs of critical materials and the environmental impacts of production to create a sustainable critical-materials supply chain in the United States.

“Through these investments, DOE is advancing research, development, and deployment across the entire critical materials supply chain to help strengthen America’s defense-industrial base,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “With a new federal strategy in place and an increased commitment to collaboration across sectors, we are well on our way to securing the country’s supply of critical materials for generations to come.”

The Trump Administration has identified critical materials as essential to many of the technologies vital to the U.S. economy, as outlined in “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.” This funding opportunity is part of DOE’s interagency action plan to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to supply chain disruption of critical materials in support of the Administration’s goals.

Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub led by Ames National Laboratory. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy anticipates making up to 10 awards. CMI aims to develop technologies to diversify supply, develop substitutes, and improve reuse and recycling of critical materials. View application and submission requirements for this FOA on EERE Exchange.

DOE recently announced plans to provide up to $18 million for basic research to ensure the continued availability of rare earth elements—or effective substitutes—critical to the functioning of the modern U.S. economy as part of a DOE-wide effort totaling more than $158 million in Fiscal Year 2020 funding.

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