US launches $675m programme to expand critical materials supply chains

Critical materials are required for manufacturing many clean energy technologies, including batteries, EVs, wind turbines and solar panels

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The US has launched a new $675 million (£559m) programme to expand the domestic critical materials supply chain to support the clean energy transition.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the development, implementation and commercialisation of the programme and address the vulnerabilities in the supply chain.

Critical materials, which include rare-earth elements, lithium, nickel and cobalt are required for manufacturing many clean energy technologies, including batteries, electric vehicles (EVs), wind turbines and solar panels.

Global demand for critical materials is expected to increase by 400%-600% over the next several decades and for certain materials, such as lithium and graphite, used in EV batteries, demand is expected to increase by as much as 4,000%.

The DOE is seeking feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, state and local coalitions, community-based organisations and others on the structure of the programme, timing, distribution of funds and selection criteria.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “We can follow through on President Biden’s clean energy commitments and make our nation more secure by increasing our ability to source, process and manufacture critical materials right here at home.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is supporting DOE’s effort to invest in the building blocks of clean energy technologies, which will revitalise America’s manufacturing leadership and bring along the benefits of good paying jobs.”