Note: This page reflects the partners of CMI when it started in 2013. For current information, please see https://cmi.ameslab.gov/about/partners.
The Ames Laboratory is the recognized leader in rare earth research; has the ability to develop new materials and processing methods. It is one of the most successful federal labs in technology transfer.
Idaho National Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory will lead the recycling and recovery focus — developing better chemical separation methods in collaboration with both the recycling and mining industries. INL will apply its long history of expertise in effectively separating lanthanides from complex mixtures to recycle rare-earth and other critical elements from discarded electronics. The team will develop and test new processing methods that selectively recover critical metals using supercritical fluids, membranes and electrochemical approaches. These advanced separation techniques might also help mining operations by boosting extraction from raw ore.
INL also will work on biological and geochemical approaches to improve extraction of critical elements from ores and waste streams. Finally, INL has significant roles in environmental research related to wastewater processing and in economic analyses of processes developed throughout the CMI.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory will use its expertise in separation science, material synthesis, characterization, and process technologies to develop new technologies that result in increased diversity of critical-materials sources. ORNL will help discover more economical processing of ores and minerals, more efficient means of processing pure materials for manufacturing, and find new uses for other, more abundant materials.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory with internationally recognized expertise in materials development, characterization and testing, and high-performance computing. LLNL will contribute expertise in validated predictive capabilities, materials synthesis, advanced and in situ characterization and testing, and additive manufacturing. LLNL and its partners will create a permanent magnet with properties equivalent to the best magnets available, but using 20 percent of the rare-earth content, and will develop new phosphors for fluorescent lamps that significantly reduce the content of the least available rare-earth elements. LLNL will also create a quantitative framework for cost-efficient material development that includes a materials design simulator for efficiently prototyping of rare-earth-based alloys.
Brown University will be responsible for chemical synthesis of highly coercive nanomaterials for nanomagnetism studies and for nanomagnetic applications. The Brown researchers have been leading the research efforts in chemical synthesis of monodisperse magnetic nanoparticles and their self-assembly for magnetic applications. They have demonstrated the potential in using their chemical methods to produce highly coercive iron-platinum and samarium-cobalt nanoparticles. CMI support will allow them to continue their search for the right chemical syntheses that can lead to the formation of hard magnetic rare-earth metal based or other new kinds of hard magnetic nanomagnets.
University of California, Davis
Understanding thermodynamic stability and chemical stability is the key to improving the extraction, processing use, and reuse of critical materials. Professor Alexandra Navrotsky and the Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory at the University of California, Davis provide world-unique capabilities for measuring the energetics of formation of solid materials including rare-earth and lithium-ore minerals and manufactured ceramics, including materials for batteries and other applications. High-temperature oxide melt solution calorimetry will be used to determine such properties that are crucial to new processes and applications developed by the CMI.
Colorado School of Mines
Founded in 1874, Colorado School of Mines is a small university with some 5,000 students and 300 faculty members. Mines emphasizes engineering and the applied sciences, with a special focus on earth resources, energy, and the environment. Perhaps better known overseas than at home, it is one of the few universities in the world with broad expertise in the exploration, extraction, production, and use of mineral and energy resources. Mines has strengths in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy, recycling, materials characterization, educational programs and outreach, and economic and policy analysis.
Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research
Since its inception in 1978, the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research (FIPR) Institute has funded/conducted more research on phosphate mining and processing than any other institution in the world, including 110 projects on minerals separation, 122 projects on chemical/metallurgical engineering and 138 projects on public health and the environment related to phosphate mining. FIPR is a leader in comprehensive recovery of energy values from phosphate, such as uranium and rare earths, and in sustainable development of phosphate resources by developing uses for byproduct phosphogypsum and wastes, such as tailings.
Iowa State University
Iowa State University provides graduate and undergraduate course work in rare earth and other critical materials. Iowa State University has world-class expertise in combinatorics and informatics and a strong program in Materials Sciences and Engineering that is closely tied to research at the Ames Laboratory.
Purdue offers educational programs in manufacturing, design and analysis of material lifecycles. Purdue is a leader in advanced manufacturing for critical materials and offered one of the first national courses in critical elements.
The Riman research group at Rutgers will lead the thermochemistry effort, which includes OLI Systems, UC Davis and various CMI scientists. The objective is to create a validated database of thermodynamic properties, which will be part of a conglomerate that also includes structural, physical and electronic properties compiled by the CMI. Another major objective of this thermodynamics thrust is to translate its relevance to problems being solved by the CMI. To this end, Professor Richard Riman will draw on his extensive background in rare-earth-based materials, solution chemistry, thermodynamics, and translation of experimental research to practical application in industry.
Advanced Recovery Inc.
Advanced Recovery Inc. is a recycling company dedicated to meeting the environmental challenges of the future with a world-class organization. ARI provides recycling services to manufacturers, developers, governments and financial institutions.
Cytec Industries Inc. helps the mining industry meet complex metallurgical, economic, safety and environmental challenges through innovative technologies and superior technical service. Cytec delivers leading chemical technologies for solvent extraction, flotation and alumina processing-innovations powered by a history of value creation for its customers. Cytec’s understanding of the end users will be a valuable contribution to the development and deployment of new technologies led by CMI. Cytec’s major role is to lend its commercialization perspective to support CMI’s mission of eliminating the criticality of materials for clean energy technologies.
GE Global Research
GE Global Research works on a wide range of projects in support of all of GE’s businesses. The team comprises virtually every technical discipline and works on projects ranging from basic R&D to product engineering to manufacturing scaleup and technology transfer. GE Global Research has a proven record of moving technologies across the “valley of death” and into commercial production. From rare-earth elements to advanced superalloys, critical materials play an essential role in the manufacturing and function of many GE products. As an industrial member of the CMI, GE Global Research looks forward to bringing its technical expertise and experience in transitioning technologies from the lab to the manufacturing plant floor and ultimately to the marketplace to this important challenge.
Molycorp is one of the world’s leading rare earths and rare metals companies, combining a world-class, rare-earth resource at Mountain Pass, Calif., with world-leading ultra-high-purity rare earth and rare metal materials processing capabilities.
OLI Systems is bringing simulation expertise to the CMI. OLI specializes in the prediction of thermodynamic and thermophysical properties of complex systems that contain electrolytes in bulk solutions and at interfaces. OLI software provides accurate simulations of separation processes, corrosion phenomena, oil and gas scaling, and materials synthesis conditions.
OLI’s thermodynamic models will be expanded to predict the properties of systems containing rare-earth metals and other critical components in aqueous and nonaqueous environments. OLI Systems will work with other CMI partners to develop customized thermodynamic prediction methodologies to address the simulation needs of CMI.
As a sustainable materials technology company, Simbol Materials brings choice to the clean technology and contemporary industries. Simbol offers a stable and secure source of high-purity materials that are critical for production of high-performing electric vehicle batteries and other energy storage devices. Simbol actively contributes to the advancement of green technologies, including the work of CMI.