Green Car Congress highlights the U.S. Department of Energy funding for Critical Materials Institute, an Energy Innovation Hub, on addressing rare earth balance problem by creating new uses for cerium in aluminum-cerium alloys.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are found together in mineral deposits, which are then separated from one another to use only the REEs needed for manufacturing. Rare earth elements are uniquely difficult, as some—such as cerium—are abundant in mineral deposits and not used widely. Others–such as neodymium—are widely used in clean energy technologies, but much less abundant. This challenge is often referred to as the rare earth balance problem.
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and Critical Materials Institute (CMI), an Energy Innovation Hub, are working to address this problem by finding new ways to use cerium that will shore up market demand for an abundant REE and create more value from domestic rare-earth mining operations.