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DOE Opens Research Funding Opportunity for Rare-Earth Mineral Supply Chain; Jennifer Granholm Quoted

Jennifer Granholm Secretary DOE
Jennifer Granholm, Secretary, DOE

The Department of Energy plans to invest $30 million to fund research projects that aim to support domestic supply chain of rare-earth elements and minerals used to manufacture clean energy technologies. 

DOE said Thursday it seeks to invest in studies that will explore the fundamental traits of platinum-group elements and rare-earth minerals.

The department is also looking for projects that intend to discover alternatives for rare-earth elements through geosciences, chemistry and material sciences.

Nonprofit organizations, universities, national laboratories and industry are eligible to join the funding opportunity. DOE will determine the recipients of three-year awards via a peer-review process.

DOE noted the challenge facing the U.S. in maintaining the domestic supply of critical elements and minerals.

According to DOE, around 35 rare-earth minerals support clean energy applications. Foreign suppliers deliver 14 of these elements to the U.S.

"If we want to achieve a 100% carbon-free economy by 2050, we have to create our own supply of these materials, including alternatives here at home in America," said DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

The elements are used to produce batteries in electric and conventional vehicles, magnets in wind turbines and other clean energy technologies.

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Written by Matthew Nelson

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