For over a decade, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been at the forefront of research and development (R&D) concerning critical materials. These efforts aim to address the scientific and technological challenges that underpin the vulnerabilities in supply chains.
The DOE's commitment to critical materials began with the first Critical Materials Strategy in 2010. This strategy led to the identification of materials critical for clean energy technologies and laid the foundation for the DOE's research strategy.
The Energy Act of 2020
The Energy Act of 2020 marked a significant expansion in the DOE's authority to address critical materials challenges. It introduced the Critical Materials Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercialization Application (RDD&CA) Program, allowing the DOE to invest across the entire research continuum and supply chain.
The DOE's Vision and Strategy for CMM focuses on the following key areas:
Developing Reliable Supply Chains: Ensuring diverse, sustainable, and secure domestic critical mineral and materials supply chains.
Supporting Clean Energy Transition: Facilitating the transition to clean energy and decarbonization across various sectors.
Promoting Sustainable Solutions: Encouraging safe, sustainable, and economically viable solutions for current and future needs.
The strategy encompasses several pillars:
Diversify & Expand Supply: Minimizing waste and ensuring material availability.
Develop Alternatives: Innovating alternative materials to reduce demand.
Materials and Manufacturing Efficiency: Reducing waste across the entire supply chain.
Circular Economy: Extending the lifetime of materials through various means.
Enabling Activities: Accelerating progress through criticality assessments, stockpiling, international engagement, and more.
The 2023 Critical Materials Assessment
The 2023 Critical Materials Assessment guides the DOE's investment priorities, focusing on scientific and technological innovation. It also emphasizes de-risking and deploying commercialization technologies to build and transform domestic supply chains.
For those interested in learning more about the DOE's Critical Materials RDD&CA Program, you can visit the official website at DOE Critical Materials Report - 2023 (energy.gov)
The U.S. Department of Energy's Critical Materials Assessment for 2023 is a vital step in addressing the complex challenges surrounding critical materials. By focusing on innovation, sustainability, and resilience, the DOE is paving the way for a more secure and environmentally responsible future. The U.S. Department of Energy's efforts in critical materials research and development are essential for the nation's energy security plus they also play a vital role in the global transition to clean energy.