GOLDEN, Colo., Jan. 9, 2013 – Colorado School of Mines will join a consortium of national laboratories, industry and research universities to form the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) -- a new research center that will develop solutions to the shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for U.S energy security.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced today the award of up to $120 million award over five years that will help establish the CMI as an Energy Innovation Hub. The DOE has established five such hubs since 2010.
Rod Eggert, director of the Mines Division of Economics and Business and an expert on the economics and policy surrounding critical minerals, will serve as deputy director of the CMI.
“The Mines team of more than 25 researchers will provide key skills in process engineering, recycling, materials design, economic analysis and educational activities as they relate to mineral-derived materials,” Eggert said. “This project will help establish a launching point for academic, government and industry partnerships.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who led a letter of support to the DOE for the project, has been a longtime advocate of restoring the country's leadership in the critical minerals and materials industry.
“Rare earths and critical materials play an increasingly important role for American businesses in technologies ranging from basic electronics to wind turbines to advanced aircraft and satellites. This award is exciting because it will allow us to leverage the intellectual power of the Colorado School of Mines and a series of institutions across America to address one of the key supply-chain challenges in our country: access to rare earth and critical materials," said Udall. “The solutions this research hub explores will have long-term consequences for some of our most promising, job-creating industries in the clean energy and defense industries.”
Mines joins Ames Laboratory (where the CMI will be headquartered), Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory as well as university research partners Brown University, Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute, Iowa State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University and the University of California-Davis.
“Mines’ faculty and student research within this institute will push forward innovations ensuring the availability of materials essential for clean energy technologies and bolstering economic development,” said Mines President M.W. Scoggins.
Industry also will be key to the CMI and will provide commercial expertise and advice on relevant problems across multiple application domains. Partners include Molycorp, Inc., of Greenwood Village, Colo., GE, Advanced Recovery, Cytec, Inc., OLI Systems, Inc., Simbol Materials, Inc., and SpinTek Filtration.
For more information, see the DOE release.