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NEWS
CMI Expands Research In Tech Metals
June 4, 2018

As increasing consumer interest in electric vehicles drives the demand for supplies of lithium and cobalt (ingredients in lithium-ion batteries), the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) will begin new efforts this July to maximize the efficient processing, use, and recycling of those elements.


New lithium and cobalt research is part of a larger effort totaling 36 separate projects for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute, which originally launched in 2013 to pursue reducing, recycling and substituting rare-earth metals in many technologies. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

“The global tech economy is heating up, and we’re likely to see high demand for a growing number of materials,” said CMI Director Alex King. “We are trying to anticipate possible short-term supply issues through specifically targeted research and industry partnerships.”

According to information, the lithium and cobalt research is part of a larger effort totaling 36 separate projects for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovation Hub, which originally launched in 2013 to pursue reducing, recycling and substituting rare-earth metals in many technologies.

While rare-earth metals will remain an area of expertise, other key manufacturing material supplies are in need of the Hub’s fast-moving collaborative approach. Research from National Laboratories and academic institutions is combined with engineering know-how from manufacturers, economic analyses, and assistance from AI and machine learning to rapidly find solutions to domestic shortages of manufacturing materials.

The list of materials under CMI’s scrutiny has expanded to include not only lithium and cobalt, but also manganese, vanadium, gallium, indium, tellurium, platinum group metals, and graphite.

“These present possible supply challenges for a number of reasons,” said CMI Deputy Director Rod Eggert. “Some of them are produced in small quantity as by-products of other mining processes; some are subject to unstable geopolitical conditions. All of them will be in greater demand as new battery, solar cell, and fuel cell technologies emerge in the near future.”


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