TECHNOLOGY

US DoE awards US$50M for critical minerals research

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced the recipient list for US$50 million in funding it has allocated to 15 projects that focus on innovative extraction and processing technologies for “critical minerals” such as rare earths and lithium.

Projects include four trials underway in extraction, separation, and processing technologies.

Projects include four trials underway in extraction, separation, and processing technologies.

The projects include four trials underway in extraction, separation, and processing technologies, and 11 underway in next-generation extraction, separation, and processing technologies, said the DoE.

The US wants to "reduce its dependence on imported critical materials by both diversifying the sources of materials needed for energy technologies and to establish domestic refinery capabilities".

The large-scale projects include US$22 million in funding for General Atomics's Rare Earth Element (REE) separation and processing demonstration project.

Almost US$15 million has also been allocated to BHER Minerals for its work on electrolytic production of battery-grade LiOH-H2O from geothermal brine.

Smaller projects include US$500,000 each allocated to University of Wyoming's generation of rare earth metals from rare earth oxides by using microwave plasma, and University of Virginia's development of industrial scale rare earth master alloys from their native oxides for magnet production.

The full list of awards is available here.

"The Department of Energy is leading the way in addressing supply risks of critical materials," said Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "Through these investments, we will strengthen America's industrial base by addressing key domestic supply-chain gaps."

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