DOE Announces $39 Million in Technology to Expand National Critical Minerals Supply Chain and Strengthen National Security

WASHINGTON, DC – The US Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $39 million in funding for 16 projects in 12 states to develop commercial-ready technologies that will increase domestic supplies of critical elements necessary for the clean energy transition required are. The selected projects, led by universities, national laboratories and the private sector, aim to develop commercially scalable technologies that will enable greater domestic supplies of copper, nickel, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements and other critical elements. The Biden-Harris administration remains focused on strengthening the supply chain for critical materials, as rare-earth elements are required to manufacture multiple clean energy technologies — from batteries for electric vehicles to wind turbines and solar panels. President Biden has underscored the importance of using energy sources that reduce carbon pollution, lower costs for families and businesses, and ultimately mitigate the effects of climate change.

“A reliable, sustainable domestic supply chain of critical materials that power longer-lasting batteries and other next-generation energy technologies is critical to achieving our clean energy future,” he said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With these investments, DOE is helping revitalize American manufacturing to reduce our overdependence on opposing nations and position the nation as a world leader in research and innovation.”

Global demand for critical minerals needed to decarbonize the national economy is expected to increase by 400-600% over the next few decades, and the US is increasingly dependent on foreign sources for many of the processed versions of these minerals. some of which are opposing. In particular, there are challenges related to the mining, processing and production of critical elements, which are often located in a handful of geopolitically sensitive regions. The projects announced today support the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to expand domestic mining, production, processing and recycling of critical minerals and materials to reduce US dependence on foreign sources to secure America’s clean energy supply chain and create high-paying clean energy jobs.

Select projects are funded and managed through the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA‑E) Mining Innovations for Negative Emissions Resource Recovery (MINER) program. The MINER program funds technology research that will increase mineral yields while reducing the energy required, and resulting emissions, to mine and extract energy-relevant minerals. In particular, the program is investigating the potential CO2-reactive ores to release net-zero or net-negative emissions technologies.

President Biden has made strengthening the domestic supply chain for critical minerals a priority since the beginning of his tenure. To reduce the country’s dependence on foreign supply chains, the Biden-Harris administration first assessed the potential for domestic production of critical minerals. The Energy Act of 2020 formally established a process for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to publish a list of critical minerals that pose a high risk of supply chain disruption and that serve an essential function for energy technologies. In March, the President invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to encourage mineral development through investment in new and existing mines. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes a new advanced manufacturing facility tax credit for companies that produce critical minerals in the United States.

Find out more about the projects selected under the MINER program.

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