The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy selected 13 projects to receive approximately US$1.95 million in federal funding to develop conceptual designs of commercially viable technologies that will extract rare earth elements (REEs) from US coal and coal by-product sources. Each project will receive up to US$150 000 in DOE funding. The conceptual designs will include system configurations, equipment features, performance characteristics, and associated costs for systems that produce at least 1 – 3 tpd of mixed rare earth oxides (REOs) or rare earth salts (RESs) and other critical minerals (CMs) in some designs.
A secure, reliable, and sustainable domestic supply of CMs and REEs is essential to the continued health of the US’ energy and electronics industries and is an important contributor to national security. DOE’s Critical Minerals Sustainability Programme (previously called the Feasibility of Recovering Rare Earth Elements Programme) has demonstrated the technical feasibility of extracting these resources from coal-based materials. The programme has moved into bench-scale and engineering-scale prototype materials processing to address scale-up challenges and opportunities. The selected projects will accelerate the advancement of these commercially viable technologies.
DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the projects, which will be carried out by the following recipients:
- Battelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, Ohio).
- BioCarbon Technologies LLC (Missoula, Montana).
- Concurrent Technologies Corp. (Johnstown, Pennsylvania).
- Energy Fuels Resources (Lakewood, Colorado).
- MATERIA USA LLC (Inwood, New York).
- MP Mine Operations LLC (Mountain Pass, California).
- Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) Project 1.
- Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) Project 2.
- Texas Mineral Resources Corp (Sierra Blanca, Texas).
- University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, North Dakota).
- UPSHOTS, LLC (Forsyth, Georgia).
- West Virginia University Research Corp. (Morgantown, West Virginia).
- Winner Water Services Inc. (Sharon, Pennsylvania).
The conceptual designs of each project include an option for up to a US$2 million feasibility study. This study will support an Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering Class 4 cost estimate on the conceptual facilities that are capable of producing at least 1 – 3 tpd of a minimum of 75% mixed REOs or RESs by weight and other CMs in some designs.
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