DOE awards $19M to 13 initiatives in fossil-fuel areas to produce rare earth elements and critical minerals
03 May 2021
The US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $19 million for 13 projects in traditionally fossil-fuel-producing communities across the country to support production of rare earth elements and critical minerals essential to the manufacturing of batteries, magnets, and other components important to the clean energy economy.
Facing persistent shortages in domestic supply, the US has been forced to rely on imported materials, leaving clean energy technology production at greater risk of disruption.
Selected projects fall under 12 areas of interest, corresponding to the selected US basins that have the potential to produce rare earth elements and critical minerals.
Appalachian Basin — North (Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia): Pennsylvania State University aims to assess and catalog Northern Appalachian Basin rare earth elements and critical minerals resources and waste streams, develop strategies to recover minerals from these streams, and assess the infrastructure, industries and businesses in the Northern Appalachian Basin to determine supply chain gaps. DOE Funding: $1,204,129
Appalachian Basin — Central (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia): The Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech plans to promote regional economic growth and foster new job creation by accelerating the extraction and processing of rare earth elements and critical minerals resources from coal, coal sediments, coal ash, coal refuse and impoundments, acid mine drainage and other basin-specific resources in the Central Appalachian region. DOE Funding: $1,499,999
Appalachian Basin — South (Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee): Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation aims to develop and deploy new technologies for manufacturing rare earth elements, critical minerals and valuable non-fuel, carbon-based products from coal and/or coal waste in the South Appalachian Basin, thus revitalizing distressed South Appalachian coal communities, reducing reliance on foreign imports, and creating advanced manufacturing jobs producing coal-derived products. DOE Funding: $1,499,997
San Juan River-Raton-Black Mesa Basin (Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico): New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology plans to determine the rare earth elements and critical minerals resource potential in coal and related stratigraphic units in the San Juan and Raton basins in New Mexico. DOE Funding: $1,483,787
Illinois Basin (Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee): Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois aims to lead a project to evaluate the domestic occurrence of strategic elements in coal, coal-based resources and waste streams from coal use. The project will assess mining techniques and state-of-the-art separation and mineral extraction technologies. DOE Funding: $1,499,987
Williston Basin (Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota): University of North Dakota plans to lead a coalition to drive the expansion and transformation of coal and coal-based resource usage within the Williston Basin to extract rare earth elements and critical minerals and produce non-fuel carbon-based products. DOE Funding: $1,500,000
Powder River Basin (Montana and Wyoming): University of Wyoming aims to provide an economic benefit to the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana by stimulating new resource development around the nation’s largest coal mines. DOE Funding: $1,499,817
Uinta River Basin (Colorado and Utah): University of Utah plans to quantify, assess, and plan to enable the transformation of Uinta Basin earth resources such as coal, oil shale, resin, rare earth elements and critical materials into high value metal, mineral and carbon-based products that can be used in advanced products such as carbon fiber composites in aircraft and high powered magnets and batteries in electric vehicles. DOE Funding: $1,500,000
Green River — Wind River Basin (Colorado and Wyoming): University of Wyoming aims to develop and catalyze regional economic growth, job creation, and technology innovation in the Greater Green River Basin/Wind River Basin of Wyoming and Colorado by increasing the supply of rare earth elements and critical minerals to manufacturers of non-fuel carbon based products and products reliant upon critical minerals. DOE Funding: $1,499,647
Gulf Coast Basin (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas): The University of Texas at Austin plans to quantify coal from mines and coal ash from power plant resources and refuse as feedstocks for rare earth elements and critical minerals within the US Gulf Coast Basin. DOE Funding: $1,497,376
Alaska (Alaska): University of Alaska Fairbanks aims to reduce US reliance on imported rare earth elements and critical minerals by establishing Alaska’s resources as competitive sources of supply. DOE Funding: $1,499,808
Other: University of Kansas Center for Research Inc. plans to study the feasibility of recovering critical minerals from coal and associated strata in the Cherokee-Forest City Basin encompassing Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Osage Nation. DOE Funding: $1,500,000
Other: West Virginia University Research Corporation aims to focus on the expansion and transformation of the use of coal and coal-based resources, including waste streams, to produce products of high value to the 21st century energy and manufacturing ecosystem. DOE Funding: $1,500,000
Projects will be managed by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).