The U.S. Department of Energy says it has a comprehensive strategy to increase domestic feedstock production and manufacturing capacity, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign sourcing of critical materials, secure the U.S. clean energy supply chain, and create more clean energy jobs.
Recognizing the skyrocketing demand for minerals and metals critical to electric vehicle manufacturing, renewable energy, and the American economy, the U.S. Department of Energy has reached out to the public to develop and implement a $675 million Critical Materials Program.
The program, funded by the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Act, is being created to address vulnerabilities in the U.S. domestic critical materials supply chain that are both an economic handicap and an impediment to the clean energy transition.
Critical materials such as cobalt, graphite, lithium, nickel, and rare earths are essential to producing many clean energy technologies, including batteries, electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines.
The U.S. Department of Energy says global demand for these materials, critical to low-carbon energy and other technologies, is expected to grow by 400% to 600% in the coming decades.
For certain materials, such as lithium and graphite, needed for the batteries powering the electric vehicle revolution, the Energy Department predicts demand will increase by as much as 4,000%.
Annual demand for most of the critical minerals and metals needed for electric vehicles and clean energy technologies is expected to be several times higher over the next two decades than the production from all currently operating mines worldwide.