Energy Asks for New R&D in Critical Materials for Clean Energy

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The Department of Energy launched its new request for information days after the passage of the CHIPS Act.

The Department of Energy issued a new request for information that seeks to spur the development of more research on how to fortify the U.S.’s transition to a clean energy infrastructure, examining gaps in supply chains that process critical minerals.

The agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy posted the RFI asking potential contractors for expert help to study alternative materials that support cleaner energy production.

Other parts of the contract seek to diversify waste streams from energy usage, study decreases in overall energy consumption and analyze the market impacts of clean energy technology implementation. Some of the critical minerals that will play a major role in the development of clean energy systems include lithium, nickel and cobalt.

A portion of Energy’s research of critical minerals and elements for clean energy infrastructure is funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Funding specifically for researching rare earth elements and critical minerals for sustainable energy was initially established within the Energy Act of 2020

“We can follow through on President Biden’s clean energy commitments and make our nation more secure by increasing our ability to source, process and manufacture critical materials right here at home,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is supporting DOE’s effort to invest in the building blocks of clean energy technologies, which will revitalize America’s manufacturing leadership and bring along the benefits of good-paying jobs.”

Some of the sustainable technologies that these minerals will help create are electric vehicles—and their lithium batteries—solar panels and wind turbines. Energy’s initiative is part of the Biden administration’s broader plan to boost domestic manufacturing of these materials, notably achieved with the recent passage of the CHIPS Act, which spurs semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. 

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