Secretary Brouillette Tours Ames Laboratory
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For Immediate Release: June 19, 2020

Secretary Brouillette Tours Ames Laboratory

Applauds Iowa’s R&D Contributions to Strengthen our Critical Elements Supply Chain

AMES, IOWA – On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette toured Ames Laboratory on the campus of Iowa State University with Lab Director Adam Schwartz. As one of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 17 National Labs, Ames is dedicated to researching critical materials, science, and engineering for the benefit of American manufacturing and innovation via its Critical Materials Institute.


Secretary Brouillette was also briefed on the Materials Preparation Center at Ames, which prepares and characterizes extremely high purity metals and alloys that can then be handed off to government, university, or private sector clients for further study or use in a variety of applications.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to secure all of our critical supply chains, particularly commercial and defense usage of critical materials. 

The United States must reduce its reliance on foreign-sourced critical materials to ensure reliable economic supply chains, boost American manufacturing, and maintain national security. Ames Laboratory is the Nation’s top source for rare-earth elements research, and the Critical Materials Institute is focused on increasing U.S. production of critical materials.

Below please find a read-out of Secretary Brouillette’s earned media, tweets, and blogs regarding this trip. Trip photos are also below.


  1. Iowa Interviews:

  • As reported by the Des Moines Register, Secretary Brouillette posed the question, “Does (the lack of access to rare materials) create a risk to the U.S. government?”
  • "I think the answer is yes,” Secretary Brouillete continued, noting that “[President Trump] has rightly decided that it’s a risk we don’t want to take. We don't want to reach a day, or a moment, that we need something for the defense of the country that we have to ask other nations to provide.”
  • In an interview with KCCI8, Secretary Brouillette praised Ames Lab for its research, which will be critical for advancing renewable energy:
    "[Wind energy] is still intermittent, and that's why the battery research and development that is being done here in Ames and here at Iowa State is so important," Brouillette said. "If we can reach a point in time in the future where we have grid scale storage, and we can allow wind energy to run 24/7 and not be intermittent as it is today, then it will be perhaps a larger component for places like Iowa where you're blessed with a lot of wind."
  • Commenting on oil ahead of his trip, Secretary Brouillette told radio host Simon Conway that Americans can expect the oil markets to bounce back beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.
  • The Secretary also sat down with Iowa radio host Jeff Stein to discuss the importance of Ames Laboratory to the State of Iowa and the Nation.


  1. Opinion Pieces:

Commenting on DOE’s goals of being the world leader in technological innovation, supporting job creation, improving national security, and balancing our trade, Secretary Brouillete praised Ames Labs in the Des Moines Register, saying it “plays a key role in advancing transformational research, development, and solution deployment across the entire critical materials supply chain to help strengthen America’s manufacturing and defense-industrial base.”

“DOE’s strategy for critical minerals are aligned to three pillars: diversifying supply, developing substitutes, and driving re-use and recycling,” Secretary Brouillete continued, noting that “the post-pandemic American economic recovery is going to be powered by American energy and American innovation,” which starts with Ames’ research.

  1. Tweets:

On Wednesday, June 17, Sec. Brouillette tweeted a series of photos highlighting his tour of Ames Laboratory, as well as meeting with SBIR prize winners, TdViB.


  1. Trip Photos: