SciTech Connect

Title: U.S. Department of Energy Critical Materials Strategy

U.S. Department of Energy Critical Materials Strategy This report examines the role of rare earth metals and other materials in the clean energy economy. It was prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) based on data collected and research performed during 2010. Its main conclusions include: (a) Several clean energy technologies -- including wind turbines, electric vehicles, photovoltaic cells and fluorescent lighting -- use materials at risk of supply disruptions in the short term. Those risks will generally decrease in the medium and long term. (b) Clean energy technologies currently constitute about 20 percent of global consumption of critical materials. As clean energy technologies are deployed more widely in the decades ahead, their share of global consumption of critical materials will likely grow. (c) Of the materials analyzed, five rare earth metals (dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, europium and yttrium), as well as indium, are assessed as most critical in the short term. For this purpose, 'criticality' is a measure that combines importance to the clean energy economy and risk of supply disruption. (d) Sound policies and strategic investments can reduce the risk of supply disruptions, especially in the medium and long term. (e) Data with respect to many of the issues considered in this report are sparse. more » In the report, DOE describes plans to (i) develop its first integrated research agenda addressing critical materials, building on three technical workshops convened by the Department during November and December 2010; (ii) strengthen its capacity for information-gathering on this topic; and (iii) work closely with international partners, including Japan and Europe, to reduce vulnerability to supply disruptions and address critical material needs. DOE will work with other stakeholders -- including interagency colleagues, Congress and the public -- to shape policy tools that strengthen the United States' strategic capabilities. DOE also announces its plan to develop an updated critical materials strategy, based upon additional events and information, by the end of 2011.DOE's strategy with respect to critical materials rests on three pillars. First, diversified global supply chains are essential. To manage supply risk, multiple sources of materials are required. This means taking steps to facilitate extraction, processing and manufacturing here in the United States, as well as encouraging other nations to expedite alternative supplies. In all cases, extraction and processing should be done in an environmentally sound manner. Second, substitutes must be developed. Research leading to material and technology substitutes will improve flexibility and help meet the material needs of the clean energy economy. Third, recycling, reuse and more efficient use could significantly lower world demand for newly extracted materials. Research into recycling processes coupled with well-designed policies will help make recycling economically viable over time.The scope of this report is limited. It does not address the material needs of the entire economy, the entire energy sector or even all clean energy technologies. Time and resource limitations precluded a comprehensive scope. Among the topics that merit additional research are the use of rare earth metals in catalytic converters and in petroleum refining. These topics are discussed briefly in Chapter 2. « less
Authors: ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:OSTI ID: 1000846
Resource Type:Technical Report
Sponsoring Org:USDOE
Country of Publication:United States
Language:English
Subject: 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; AVAILABILITY; DEMAND; RARE EARTH COMPOUNDS; METALS; MATERIALS; SUPPLY AND DEMAND; ECONOMY; ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT; GLOBAL ASPECTS; DYSPROSIUM; NEODYMIUM; TERBIUM; EUROPIUM; YTTRIUM; INDIUM