Biden-Harris administration announces $156 million for first US critical minerals refinery

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WASHINGTON DC –The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $156 million in funding from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act for a first-of-its-kind facility to extract and separate rare earth elements (REE) and critical minerals (CM) from unconventional sources such as mining waste. Rare earth elements and other essential minerals are essential to making clean energy technologies right here in America, such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells, which will help nation to meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act presents the United States with a historic opportunity to turn legacy waste into components of clean energy technology in a way that strengthens national supply chains and improves our national security. “, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Demand for clean energy technologies continues to grow at a rapid rate and an American-made critical minerals refinery will help create jobs and increase our competitiveness on the world stage.”

The United States currently imports more than 80% of its rare earth elements from foreign suppliers to produce clean energy technologies and other essential products we rely on every day, such as smartphones, computers and medical equipment. Across the country, there are billions of tons of coal waste and ash, acid mine drainage and rejected water. However, these waste streams from mining, power generation and related activities contain a wide variety of valuable rare earth elements and other critical minerals that can be reused in energy technologies. clean, while helping to create healthier environments for communities across the country.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications from U.S. academic institutions for an initial engineering design study followed by the design, construction, and operation of a one-of-a-kind national demonstration facility that will Extract, separate, produce, and refine rare earth elements and other critical minerals from the country’s vast amounts of waste streams from mining and energy production.

Throughout the life of the project, the selected applicant must engage in outreach and consultation activities with historically disadvantaged communities, prioritize environmental justice when identifying project sites, and maximize local workforce development opportunities for the operation of the demonstration facility. Applicants are encouraged to review the DOE’s commitment to the Justice40 Initiativewhich states that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments will go to disadvantaged communities and that projects will have minimal negative impacts on communities with environmental justice concerns.

All applicants must register and submit their application documents via FedConnect. The application deadline is November 21, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. ET. All questions regarding this FOA should be submitted through Fedconnect; register here for an account. Read the full FOA for more information.

This opportunity is managed by the DOE Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains and Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Managementworking together to strengthen and secure a national supply chain for rare earth elements and critical minerals.

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