WASHINGTON, D.C. — In support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $150 million to advance cost effective and environmentally responsible processes to produce and refine critical minerals and materials here in the United States. The funding, provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help meet the growing demand for critical minerals and materials while reducing our dependence on offshore supplies. Critical minerals and materials are key to manufacturing clean energy technologies—such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells—that will help America reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious climate goals. This funding opportunity will create good-paying jobs and support communities across the country that historically have depended on mining and energy production, advancing the Administration’s efforts to maximize the benefits of the clean energy transition in every community.
“The President’s Investing in America agenda is ramping up access and use of clean energy technologies which means increased demand for critical minerals and materials,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The investments announced today enhance national security by reducing our reliance on foreign sources—while strengthening an existing mining and energy workforce to develop sustainable sourcing for these vital materials right here in the U.S.A.”
Critical Material Innovation, Efficiency, and Alternatives Funding Announcement
According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Mineral Information Center, the United States has over 50 different critical minerals. The U.S. is completely reliant on foreign sources for 12 of these minerals and more than 50% dependent on foreign sources for more than 30 of them. The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) released today will help to build a secure, sustainable domestic supply of critical minerals from a broad range of sources across the United States, including recycled materials, mine waste, industrial waste, and ore deposits. Specifically, the FOA will support bench- and pilot-scale research, development, and demonstration projects for:
- Technologies or process improvements that develop new supplies of critical minerals and materials here at home;
- Value-added products created from other materials that are part of the waste streams from which critical minerals and materials are extracted;
- New, next-generation technologies to be used for lower cost, environmentally responsible extraction, production, separation, and processing of critical minerals and materials;
- Alternatives or substitutes for scarce critical minerals and materials that can be used as replacements in clean energy technologies; and
- New or improved alternative energy technologies or designs that use materials that are more abundant in the United States.
Read more details of this funding opportunity announcement. All questions must be submitted through FedConnect; register here for an account. The application deadline is November 10, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Societal Considerations and Impacts
In alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance environmental justice and equity, funding applicants must carefully address the societal considerations and impacts of their proposed projects, emphasizing early and active engagement with communities.
Applicants must explain how projects are expected to deliver economic and environmental benefits and mitigate impacts; conduct community and stakeholder engagement; incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and promote workforce development and quality jobs. Projects selected under this opportunity will be required to develop and implement strategies to ensure strong community and worker benefits, and report on such activities and outcomes.
DOE’s Advancements in Critical Minerals and Materials
Since January 2021, DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management has announced an estimated $41 million in projects that support critical minerals and materials exploration, resource identification, production, and processing in traditional mining and fossil fuel-producing communities across the country. This total includes $16 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for detailed engineering and cost studies toward a first-of-a-kind domestic facility that will extract and separate rare earth elements and critical minerals from unconventional sources like mining waste. This funding will create new opportunities to remediate land and water while generating rare earth elements necessary for a clean energy economy.
FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across our economy. 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.