Office: Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO)

Funding Opportunity Name: FY2020 AMO Critical Materials FOA: Next-Generation Technologies and Field Validation

Funding Number: DE-FOA-0002322

Funding Amount: $46 Million


Critical materials are used in many products important to the U.S. economy and national security. Of the 35 mineral commodities identified as critical in the list published in the Federal Register by the Secretary of the Interior, the U.S. is 100% net import reliant for 14 and is more than 50% import-reliant for 17 of the remaining 21 mineral commodities. 

Through this FOA, DOE seeks to address gaps in domestic supply chains for key critical materials for energy technologies to:

  • Enable domestic manufacturing of high energy efficiency and high energy density energy technologies;
  • Diversify the domestic supply of critical materials; and
  • Validate and demonstrate domestic innovative technologies to support the transition to U.S. manufacturing.

This will be accomplished through development of alternative next-generation technologies and field validation and demonstration of technologies that improve extraction, separation and processing.

Key critical materials for energy technologies as defined in this FOA include:

  • Rare earth elements: neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), dysprosium (Dy), terbium (Tb), and samarium (Sm) used in permanent magnets for electric vehicle motors, wind turbine generators and high temperature applications;
  • Cobalt (Co) used in batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and grid storage and high temperature permanent magnets; and
  • Lithium (Li), manganese (Mn) and natural graphite used in batteries.

This FOA seeks to leverage the technology and capabilities developed at the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), an Energy Innovation Hub led by Ames Laboratory and managed by DOE.

Topic Area 1: Field Validation and Demonstration of Extraction, Separation, and Processing Technologies
This topic area seeks R&D projects to validate improved upstream extraction and midstream separation and processing technologies of critical materials. Proposed projects may optionally advance to system prototype demonstration in an operational environmental. Such projects should demonstrate improvements to the current industrial processes and improve cost-competitiveness of these processes. Such improvements should target improved energy and/or process efficiency and increase throughput capacity. Examples of improvements include (but are not limited to) modular process intensification and transformational processes that eliminate steps in the current industrial processes.

Topic Area 2: Next-Generation Extraction, Separation, and Processing Technologies
This topic area seeks early to mid-stage R&D projects to innovate alternative, cost-competitive technologies for upstream extraction and midstream separation and processing of critical materials key to energy technologies. Projects should seek to demonstrate or advance energy efficient, cost-competitive projects that also maintain environmental stewardship.




COST SHARE AMOUNT: $50,058,593

TOTAL FUNDING: $96,657,154


Lead Organization Topic Name Partners Project Location DOE Funding Awarded Cost Share Total Costs
Topic 1, Area of Interest 2: Improved Beneficiation, Separation and/or Processing
PUREgraphite LLC High Efficiency Continuous Graphitization Furnace Technology for Lithium-Ion Battery Synthetic Graphite Material Harper International, Phillips66 Chattanooga, TN



$5,925,475 $11,503,213
American Battery Metals Corporation Field Demonstration of Selective Leaching, Targeted Purification, and Electro-Chemical Production of Battery Grade Lithium Hydroxide Precursor from Domestic Claystone Resources American Lithium Corporation, DuPont Water Solutions Incline Village, NV $2,272,112 $2,272,112 $4,544,224
Topic 1, Area of Interest 3: Large Scale Projects
General Atomics Rare Earth Element (REE) Separation and Processing Demonstration Project Rare Element Resources, Inc., Umwelt- und Ingenieurtechnik GMbH Dresden, LNV LLC Upton, WY $21,989,530 $21,989,530 $43,979,060
BHER Minerals, LLC Electrolytic Production of Battery-Grade LiOH•H2O from Geothermal Brine ZAP Engineering & Construction Services, Inc., CalEnergy Operating Corp, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, Momentum Calipatria, CA $14,894,540 (Declined) $14,894,541 $29,789,081
Topic 2, Area of Interest 1: Rare Earth Element Separation
Phinix,LLC Rare Earth Element Separation Using Gas-Assisted Micro-Flow Extraction with Task-Specific Ionic Liquids NICHE Industrial Chemicals, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Clayton, MO $500,000 $225,000 $725,000
Technology Holding LLC Next Generation Separation Method for Rare Earths Massachusetts Institute of Technology West Valley City, UT $499,673 $124,999 $624,672
Topic 2, Area of Interest 2: Conversion to Rare Earth Metals (RE-metals)
University of Wyoming Generation of Rare Earth Metals from Rare Earth Oxides by Using Microwave Plasma Colorado School of Mines, Ames Laboratory, Eutectix, Rare Element Resources Laramie, WY $500,000 $125,500 $625,500
Case Western Reserve University Novel Electrowinning Reactor for the Energy-Efficient, Low-Cost Production of Rare Earth Metals Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Cleveland, OH $500,000 $125,000 $625,000
University of Virginia Development of Industrial Scale Rare Earth Master Alloys from Their Native Oxides for Magnet Production Ames Laboratory Charlottesville, VA $500,000 $125,000 $625,000
Topic 2, Area of Interest 3: Li Extraction from Unconventional Sources
National Renewable Energy Laboratory Advanced Mineral Separations with Novel Simulated Moving Beds Colorado School of Mines, Critical Materials Institute, Shell International Exploration & Production, Inc., Standard Lithium Golden, CO $500,000 $156,380 $656,380
Oregon State University Microchannel-based Membrane-less Extraction of Li from Unconventional Lithium Sources & the Separation of REE University of Pittsburgh Corvallis, OR $500,000 $125,000 $625,000
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Lithium Recovery from Unconventional Sources Using Magnetic Core-Shell Nanoparticles Moselle Technologies, Enerplus Corporation, Prairie Lithium Corporation, Enertopia Corporation, and Dajin Lithium Corporation Richland, WA $425,000 $160,000 $585,000
525 Solutions, Inc. Ultra-High Capacity Adsorbent Nanofibrous Mats for the Recovery of Lithium from Seawater, Geothermal Brines, and Beyond Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Wyonics, LLC, University of Wyoming Tuscaloosa, AL $500,000 $125,024 $625,024
University of Texas at Austin Direct Conversion of Li-Ions to Li-Metal from Domestic Brines or Produced Water through Electromagnetically-Controlled Dendritic Electrodeposition University of California, Berkeley, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Critical Materials Institute Austin, TX $500,000 $125,000 $625,000
Mineral Selective Technologies Informed design of crystalline ion exchangers: Improved λ-MnO2 phase for lithium extraction from geologic fluids Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Geo40, Ltd. Morgan Hill, CA $400,000 $100,000 $500,000
        $50,058,593 $46,598,561 $96,657,154