Department Of Energy Announces $122 Million In Funding For Rare Earth Elements From Coal, Manchin Encourages West Virginians To Apply

September 23, 2020

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, welcomed the $122 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) by the Department of Energy. The funds are part of the Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy Carbon Ore, Rare Earth and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM) Initiative, which aims to develop technologies to utilize coal and coal by-products as a feedstock for rare earth elements and other high-value materials.

“We should not be relying on China as the sole source of rare earth elements and other critical minerals that are crucial inputs in countless devices Americans use every day. This program will build off the great work already being done in West Virginia to develop technology capable of extracting rare earth elements (REEs) from coal and coal byproducts to help establish a U.S. based supply chain. West Virginia coal has been the backbone of the American economy for decades, and with yesterday’s funding announcement we can continue to utilize the full potential value of our state’s vast natural resources. This funding gets us closer to our goal of creating a reliable supply chain and is a huge win for U.S. national security and domestic manufacturing. I encourage all interested applicants to apply,” Ranking Member Manchin said.

Senator Manchin’s bipartisan Rare Earth Element Advanced Coal Technologies Act (REEACT) codifies this critical DOE program and authorizes an annual appropriation of $23,000,000 per year to the Department of Energy through 2027. The bill also requires the Secretary of Energy to provide a report to Congress in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Interior that will evaluate the research, development, and demonstration of REE production technologies as well as evaluate the market impact of commercialization of these coal-based technologies. REEACT has been incorporated into the Manchin-Murkowski American Energy Innovation Act.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) began studying the potential of extracting rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts in 2010, and expanded its REE research efforts in 2014. In 2016, NETL’s Rare Earth Elements from Coal and Coal Byproducts RD&D Program awarded two grants to West Virginia University for researchers to evaluate the potential use of REEs from coal byproducts in the region. In July 2018, West Virginia University, in collaboration with NETL, opened a pilot scale rare earth extraction facility to continue its research towards commercialization. DOE-NETL has shown the technical feasibility of recovering REE from coal-based resources

To view more information on applying, click here.