The U.S. Department of Energy has designated its laboratory in Ames as a new hub for research on rare earth minerals and other materials critical to renewable technologies. The Ames Laboratory has been at the forefront of research on rare earth minerals for a many years, but the establishment of the Critical Materials Institute should bring more focus to supply alternatives, efficiency, and reuse of these critical materials.
David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency with the Department of Energy, announced the institute in a press release on January 9.
“The Critical Materials Institute will bring together the best and brightest research minds from universities, national laboratories and the private sector to find innovative technology solutions that will help us avoid a supply shortage that would threaten our clean energy industry as well as our security interests.”
As a part of its role as a hub, the institute will receive $120 million over five years.
Rare earth elements and other critical materials are a distinctive group of elements whose production has been concentrated in China over the last three decades. As demand has risen, Chinese export limits have led to soaring prices and supply constraints that threaten the supply chains of wind mills, hybrid batteries, night vision goggles, and other advanced technologies.
Read the original press release here.