US launches $120M Critical Materials Institute

The U.S. Department of Energy announced recently that a team led by Ames Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish an Energy Innovation Hub that will develop solutions to the domestic shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for U.S. energy security. The new research centre, which will be named the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), will bring together leading researchers from academia, four Department of Energy national laboratories, as well as the private sector.

The Ames Lab is the premier research centre for rare earth materials’ science and technology in the US. The new Hub will focus on technologies that will enable better use of accessible materials as eliminating the need for materials that are subject to supply disruptions. Critical materials, including many rare earth elements, are essential for American competitiveness in the clean energy industry. Many materials deemed critical by the Department of Energy are used in modern clean energy technologies – such as wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting. The Department’s 2011 Critical Materials Strategy reported that supply challenges for five rare earth metals (dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium) may affect clean energy technology deployment in the coming years.

For more information visit the US Department of Energy website.

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