DOE Funding Bolsters National Security, Critical Material Supply
The U.S. Department of Energy announced $39 million in funding for technology development to fortify the domestic supplies of critical materials and national security.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the provision of $39 million in funding for the development of technologies that can help strengthen the domestic supply of critical materials needed for the energy transition. Funds will be distributed to 16 projects across 12 states, bringing together business and academia in pursuit of a unified vision.
An electric vehicle receives charging. Image used courtesy of T&E
T&E Study Affirms Critical Raw Material Availability
As the green energy transition takes wing, electric vehicles (EVs) are filing onto roads worldwide, wind farms are increasing across rural landscapes and shorelines, and solar panels are powering more homes and EV fleets.
As such technologies advance, the question is whether there are enough critical raw materials to support such a transition. Key elements used in active cathode materials and other next-generation technologies include cobalt, lithium, copper, and nickel.
Copper is one element used to power green technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, and EVs. Image used courtesy of the DOE
According to a study by Transport and Environment (T&E), there would be enough nickel and lithium to create 14 million battery electric vehicles (BEV) worldwide in 2023. This level of production was found to be 55 percent higher than current market projections. The T&E study also projected that 21 million BEVs could also be manufactured in 2025.
The study analysis was based on data from BloombergNEF on the global maximum volumes of lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate, and nickel (Class 1), and the maximum capacity of the battery plants worldwide up to 2025 (excluding other non-EV uses).
Committing to Domestic Raw Materials Production
Despite the reassuring results of the T&E study, competition for critical materials between the United States, China, and Europe could contribute to supply chain constraints.
For the United States, increasing the domestic supply of critical elements to support EV battery production and other innovative green technologies is a way of strengthening national security, just as much as securing a clean energy future for all.
According to a statement from the White House, the Biden-Harris administration’s supply chain assessment highlighted America’s overreliance on adversarial nations and foreign sources for critical material and minerals.
The new funds from the DOE support the commitments of the Biden-Harris administration in developing domestic production, processing, and mining key elements and materials. The innovations that spring up from the DOE’s funds will provide new clean energy jobs and America’s dependence on other nations.
MINER Program Backs Innovations to Boost Mineral Yield
The DOE’s funds will be distributed through its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Mining Innovations for Negative Emissions Resource Recovery (MINER) program.
The MINER program supports projects concerned with developing technologies that can increase mineral yield during mining and extraction of critical materials while decreasing energy consumption and emissions.