Rare Earths

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. Keep reading →

Vanadium is a metal used in the steel, aerospace and energy storage industries – and as with virtually all commodities – the supply, demand and price outlook for this commodity varies depending on who one speaks with.

The energy and metals markets first collided in the 1970’s and 80’s when oil and gas companies looking to expand their businesses merged with mining companies. For example, Union Oil of California (UNOCAL) acquired rare earth miner Molycorp in 1977 – UNOCAL was subsequently acquired by Chevron in 2005, making Molycorp a fully owned subsidiary of the oil giant. Keep reading →

Those high-efficiency compact fluorescent lights that are supposed to replace energy-wasting incandescent bulbs have a looming problem: the materials to make them are in short supply.

So are materials vital for things like high-efficiency wind turbines and electric vehicle motors.
Assistant Energy Secretary David Sandalow said those shortages could delay adoption of clean technologies, or make them more costly, so the Department of Energy has developed a strategy to try to avert shortages that is supported by $20 million in Congressional funding. Keep reading →