The Ames Laboratory has recently been awarded up to $120 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish and lead an Energy Innovation Hub dedicated to finding solutions for domestic shortages of rare earth metals and materials.
The five-year award will fund a new research center headquartered at the Ames Laboratory, named the Critical Materials Institute (CMI). The Hub aims to bring together leading researchers, four Department of Energy national laboratories, and organizations from the private sector. The innovators will work to find technology solutions that help avoid critical materials supply shortages that threaten clean energy industries.
Rare earth metals and materials are critical to America’s energy security. The materials contribute to the manufacturing of alternative energy products such as wind turbines, electric vehicles, solar panels, and advanced batteries. The materials are essential for competitiveness in the clean energy industry.
The Hub will focus on making better use of currently accessible materials and to eliminate the need for materials that have uncertain or challenging supply availability. In recent years, the DOE has supported more than $40 million in magnet, motor, and generator research, which the CMI will develop into a larger, coordinated effort.
For more information about the Critical Materials Institute, watch the following Google+ Hangout.