WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today issued a notice of intent (NOI) to fund a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law program that will focus on developing advanced concepts to lower the costs of producing rare earth elements and critical minerals and materials from domestic coal-based resources. Rare earth elements and other critical minerals are key to manufacturing clean energy technologies right here in America—such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells—that will help the nation reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Extracting critical minerals from coal, coal waste, and associated byproducts and incorporating them into clean energy technology components will reduce our dependence on international supply chains, while creating good-paying jobs in communities that have historically produced fuels and electric power from fossil energy resources.
The United States currently imports greater than 80 percent of its rare earth elements from non-domestic suppliers. Similarly, in 2021 the United States imported more than half its consumption of at least 43 of the 50 mineral commodities critical to the U.S. economy and national security, with no domestic production of 14 of those commodities. If issued, a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will follow the NOI and fund research projects for laboratory and bench-scale testing of economically viable, environmentally benign extraction, separation, and refining technologies for the domestic production of these rare earth elements and other critical minerals. To prepare for the release of this FOA, prospective applicants are encouraged to read the full NOI. DOE expects to issue the FOA during the third quarter of calendar year 2023.
In alignment with the President’s commitment that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law create broadly shared economic prosperity across the United States, FOA applicants will be required to carefully consider impacts and benefits to workers and communities, by emphasizing community and labor engagement, the creation of high-quality jobs, and avoiding the imposition of additional burdens on affected communities through implementation of the Justice40 initiative.
Since January 2021, FECM has invested more than $41 million in 26 critical minerals and materials projects across the United States. We recently selected projects in West Virginia and North Dakota to receive $16 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the development of America’s first-of-a kind critical minerals production facility using coal waste streams that, once built, will help us demonstrate how America can meet the growing demand for clean energy technology.
FECM conducts research, development, demonstration, and deployment that focuses on technologies to reduce carbon emissions and other environmental impacts from fossil fuel production and use and from key industrial processes, particularly the hardest-to-decarbonize applications in the electricity and industrial sectors. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM website, sign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory website.