The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the development and implementation of a $675 million Critical Materials Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercialization Program. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the program will address vulnerabilities in the domestic critical-materials supply chain. Critical materials, which include rare-earth elements, lithium, nickel and cobalt, are required for manufacturing clean-energy technologies such as batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels. The program will advance domestic sourcing and production, strengthening America’s position as a global manufacturing leader.
Global demand for critical materials is expected to increase by 400-600% over the next several decades. For certain materials, such as lithium and graphite used in electric-vehicle batteries, demand is expected to increase by as much as 4,000%. The DOE’s strategy calls for increased domestic raw-materials production and manufacturing capacity, which would reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, secure America’s clean-energy supply chain and introduce more jobs associated with the clean-energy transition.
Established through the Energy Act of 2020 and expanded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the DOE’s Critical Materials Program will develop materials, components and technologies; promote efficient production and use; and ensure a long-term, diverse, secure and sustainable supply of critical materials.
The Critical Materials Research Program RFI solicits feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, state and local coalitions, labor unions and others on the structure of these programs, timing and distribution of funds, and selection criteria. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 9, 2022.