US govt launches USD-675m critical materials research programme

Lithium ingots with a thin layer of black nitride tarnish; By Dnn87; License: CC BY 3.0, from Wikimedia Commons

August 10 (Renewables Now) - The US Department of Energy (DOE) on Tuesday issued a Request for Information (RFI) in relation to a USD-675-million (EUR 659.6m) programme for the research, development, demonstration and commercialisation of critical materials used in clean energy technologies.

The goal of this programme, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is to address vulnerabilities in the domestic supply chain for critical materials, including rare-earth elements, lithium, nickel and cobalt. These are required for the manufacture of many clean energy technologies such as batteries, electric vehicles (EVs), wind turbines and solar panels.

The government estimates that global demand for critical materials will increase by 400%-600% over the next several decades, while for lithium and graphite, in particular, demand could increase by as much as 4,000%. The strategy of the US is to lower its dependence on foreign sources of critical materials.

Through this RFI, the energy department solicits public input with regard to the programme structure, the timing and distribution of funds, and selection criteria. Comments are due by September 9, 2022.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.977)

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