U.S. Department of Energy releases 2023 critical materials assessment


August 2, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has finalized its 2023 critical materials list. It is an evaluation of materials for their criticality to global clean energy technology supply chains and will help inform eligibility for federal clean energy tax provisions. The list identifies specific critical and near-critical materials through 2035.

For the first time, copper was added to the list. It is the first time that the U.S. government has added copper to one of the critical lists and comes as the red metal has become increasingly important for new energy technologies. Major metals like aluminum, nickel and silicon all moved from non critical in the short term to near critical in the medium term due to their importance in electrification. 

In the report, DOE writes that materials used in batteries for EVs and stationary storage are now considered to be crticial. While cobalt was found to be critical in the current and previous reports, lithium becomes critical in the medium term due to its broader use in various battery chemistries and the rampant growth of the EV industry. Natrual graphite is a new addition in this assessment and is also found to be critical. 

The assessment focuses on key materials with high risk of supply disruption that are integral to clean energy technologies. The final list includes aluminum, cobalt, copper, dysprosium, electrical steel (grain-oriented steel, non-grain-oriented steel, and amorphous steel), fluorine, gallium, iridium, lithium, magnesium, natural graphite, neodymium, nickel, platinum, praseodymium, terbium, silicon and silicon carbide.

“As our nation continues the transition to a clean energy economy, it is our responsibility to anticipate critical material supply chains needed to manufacture our most promising clean energy generation, transmission, storage and end-use technologies, including solar panels, wind turbines, power electronics, lighting, and electric vehicles,” said Alejandro Moreno, acting assistant Secretary for DOE’s EERE. “Ultimately, identifying and mitigating material criticality now will ensure that a clean energy future is possible for decades to come.”

The announcement and full list of critical materials can be found here.



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