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DOE Seeks Information on the Use of Unconventional and Secondary Sources as Feedstocks to Rebuild and Secure a Domestic Critical Minerals Supply Chain


May 19, 2023 - The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) has released a Request for Information (RFI) that seeks input on the regional assessment and production of rare earth elements, critical minerals, and novel high-value, nonfuel carbon-based products from unconventional and secondary feedstocks such as coal and coal by-products and effluent waters from oil and natural gas development and production. The input received through the RFI will inform DOE efforts to rebuild the nation’s critical minerals and materials supply chain, which supports high-tech manufacturing and the production of components for clean energy technologies that will help the nation reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. These efforts will reduce our dependence on international supply chains, while also creating good-paying union jobs for American workers and healthier environments for communities across the country.

This RFI supports DOE’s Carbon Ore, Rare Earth, and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM) Initiative. The CORE-CM program’s initial focus was on the use of coal and coal by-products as feedstocks from traditional coal-producing basins, but DOE has expanded its interests in obtaining critical minerals and materials from other secondary and unconventional feedstocks.

The purpose of the RFI is to solicit feedback from industry, investors, developers, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, tribal governments, potentially impacted communities, and other stakeholders. DOE is looking for input to determine the best approach for the CORE-CM program to understand the full potential for all unconventional and secondary feedstocks.

The assessment and potential recovery of critical minerals from unconventional and secondary sources may require access to and/or the development of sites that were previously used for industrial or commercial purposes and may be contaminated with hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. Such sites may present environmental and financial hurdles, as well as technical challenges, for their current owners. The RFI seeks input regarding the challenges associated with the redevelopment of these sites.

The success of the CORE-CM Initiative also relies on the formation of partnerships between potential awardees and commercial industries. As such, the RFI asks if a critical minerals “matchmaking” or marketplace system should be established to help connect appropriate commercial industries with viable economic resources to expedite the building of a strong domestic critical minerals supply chain. In a marketplace system, companies would describe their needs for critical minerals, and local or regional groups would respond by describing their material and infrastructure resources.

This RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement. DOE is not accepting applications to this RFI, nor will DOE reimburse any costs in preparing a response.

To review the RFI, please click here. Responses must be submitted electronically to DE-FOA-0003075RFI@NETL.DOE.GOV with the subject line “DE-FOA-0003075-RFI” and received no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on July 17, 2023. Responses sent by U.S. mail must be postmarked by July 17, 2023.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across our economy. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the?FECM website,?sign up for FECM news announcements and visit the?National Energy Technology Laboratory website.