Citing concerns over domestic shortages of rare earths and other materials critical to U.S. energy security, the Department of Energy is creating a research team led by Iowa’s Ames Laboratory to develop solutions.

DOE will invest up to $120 million over a five-year period to develop a new research center, which will be named the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), that bring together leading researchers from academia, four Department of Energy national laboratories, as well as the private sector.

The research will focus on technologies that enable the industry to make better use of the materials it has access to as well as eliminate the need for materials that are subject to supply disruptions. Many materials deemed critical by DOE are used in modern clean energy technologies – wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting among them.