The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy announced it is investing $6.9 million in rare earth element (REE) research through two funding opportunities. The agency announced that three projects have been selected to receive approximately $3 million for research aimed at producing salable REEs from domestic coal and coal byproducts. In addition, the DOE has announced the availability of an additional $3.95 million for projects in three new topic areas to accelerate separation and extraction processes for REEs.
REEs are a series of 17 chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. Due to their unique chemical properties, REEs are essential components of technologies spanning a range of applications, including electronics, computer and communication systems, transportation, health care, and national defense.