Department of Energy launches Critical Materials Collaborative

press release

October 19, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a first-of-its-kind Critical Materials Collaborative (CMC) and announced its intent to fund up to $10 million to establish a Critical Materials Accelerator Program. The vision of the CMC is to integrate critical materials applied research, development and demonstration (RD&D) across DOE and the federal government, to accelerate the development of domestic critical material supply chains for the nation. The CMC will operationalize access to world-class expertise, capabilities and facilities.

“The Critical Materials Collaborative is an innovative new mode of connection that will align our nation’s efforts to shore up critical materials by accelerating the commercialization of crosscutting, applied RD&D to grow the innovation ecosystem,” said Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE). “By working across DOE, government, industry, and academia, we will be able to maximize the impact of these investments to move the needle on the clean energy transition.”

The CMC convenes DOE investments across the entire innovation pipeline, from the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office's (AMMTO) Critical Materials Innovation (CMI) Hub, to AMMTO’s Critical Materials Accelerator Program, to the Fossil Energy and Carbon Management’s (FECM) Critical Materials FOA . These investments represent the first of many DOE programs to be coordinated through the CMC.

AMMTO recently renewed the Critical Materials Institute for a third five-year phase under the new Critical Materials Innovation (CMI) Hub name, with a refreshed mission to accelerate the development of critical material technologies and enhance the innovation pipeline for U.S. supply chains by accelerating research, educating a diverse workforce and creating derisked, commercial-ready technologies in partnership with American industry. The CMI Hub will establish a new project portfolio around four research focus areas: Enhancing and Diversifying Supply; Developing Substitutes; Building a Circular Economy; and Crosscutting Research. The CMI Hub will also play a key role in the CMC by serving as an innovation engine for shared ideas and best practices.

Coinciding with the CMC launch, AMMTO has announced a notice of intent to fund up to $10 million to establish a Critical Materials Accelerator Program. Projects funded through the Accelerator Program will prototype and mature technologies or processes to address critical material challenges in high impact areas, including rare earth magnets for electric vehicles (EVs) and wind turbine generators. The Accelerator will advance the early-stage science and technology solutions’ research toward commercialization, like those funded through the CMI Hub. The full notice of intent with all four topic areas is available on EERE’s Funding Opportunity Exchange.

“U.S. commercial minerals processing capabilities have been on the decline for decades, while the need for critical minerals continues to grow,” said Brad Crabtree, assistant secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “The Critical Materials Collaborative and related work being done across DOE, coupled with investments made through the Inflation Reduction Act, are creating the innovation ecosystem needed to get the U.S. minerals sector back on track.”

The CMC will leverage the 2023 DOE Critical Materials Assessment, the latest in a series of strategy reports DOE has been releasing since 2010, to prioritize investigating substitutes, alternatives, and recycling technologies that secure a sustainable supply of critical minerals and materials. This year marked the first time DOE designated a list of critical materials necessary to secure our clean energy economy.

Read the full announcement here

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