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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $50 million in funding for 15 projects focused 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 and energy technologies, such as rare-earth elements used to manufacture high-strength magnets for offshore wind-turbine generators and lithium and cobalt in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

“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.”

Projects selected under this funding opportunity announcement will reduce both the costs of critical materials and the environmental impacts of production. The projects are divided into two focus-areas:

  1. Field Validation and Demonstration of Extraction, Separation, and Processing Technologies - Four projects were selected under this topic to validate improved upstream extraction and midstream separation and processing technologies of critical materials at scales that facilitate the next step to commercialization.
  2. Next-Generation Extraction, Separation, and Processing Technologies - Eleven projects were selected under this topic to develop early to mid-stage R&D alternative, cost-competitive technologies for upstream extraction and midstream separation and processing of critical materials key to energy technologies.

View the full list of project selections.

This funding opportunity is part of DOE’s efforts to reduce American dependence on imported critical materials by both diversifying the sources of materials needed for energy technologies and establishing domestic capabilities to refine materials used in manufacturing.

Projects are funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, which supports the development of technologies that improve energy efficiency in U.S. manufacturing as well as foundational, cross-cutting manufacturing processes, information, and materials technologies critical to efficient and competitive domestic manufacturing.