The Department of Energy (DoE) announced $39 million in funding for projects to develop market-ready technologies that will increase domestic supplies of critical elements required to power America’s clean energy future, according to a press release published Oct. 27.

The funding will be awarded across a dozen states for 16 projects that aim to develop commercially scalable technologies that will enable greater domestic supplies of copper, nickel, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, and other critical materials.

The million-dollar projects will be led by universities, national laboratories, and the private sector as part of the White House’s most recent move to strengthen the critical materials supply chain. Rare-earth elements are necessary to manufacture several clean energy technologies – from electric vehicle batteries to wind turbines and solar panels.

“A reliable, sustainable domestic supply chain of critical materials that power longer-lasting batteries and other next-generation energy technologies is crucial to reaching our clean energy future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With these investments, DOE is helping to reinvigorate American manufacturing to reduce our overreliance on adversarial nations and position the nation as a global leader of research and innovation.”

Selected projects will be funded and managed through DoE’s MINER (Mining Innovations for Negative Emissions Resource Recovery) program – an initiative that funds technology research to increase the mineral yield while decreasing the required energy, and subsequent emissions, to mine and extract energy-relevant minerals.

“The projects support the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expanding domestic mining, production, processing, and recycling of critical minerals and materials to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources, secure America’s clean energy supply chain, and create good-paying clean energy jobs,” DoE said.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.