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As the global middle class grows, so does demand for the scarce elements used to make our cell phones and other gadgets. Alex King and his team at the Critical Materials Institute use science to steer us away from a supply chain shortage of critical materials called "rare earth metals". In ancient civilizations, running out of bronze gave rise to the use of inferior iron, and the collapse of empires. King's work seeks to shorten and mitigate the problems associated with such a scarcity.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Ames Laboratory, and Iowa State University marked their newest endeavor in intensive energy research with the official opening of the Critical Materials Institute on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a Japanese energy and industrial technology R&D organization, signed a memorandum of understanding today to promote cooperation between the two agencies in rare-earth and critical-materials research.

Contacts:                                                      For Release: Sept. 10, 2013
Tom Lograsso, interim director, Ames Laboratory (515) 294-3297
Alex King, director, Critical Materials Institute (515) 296-4500
Steve Karsjen, director, Ames Laboratory Public Affairs (515) 294-5643

(Ames, Iowa)—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Ames Laboratory, and Iowa State University marked their newest endeavor in intensive energy research with the official opening of the Critical Materials Institute on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

With the Critical Materials Institute, its fifth Energy Innovation Hub, the DOE launches a concentrated effort to develop solutions to domestic shortages of rare-earth metals and other materials vital to U.S. energy security. These materials are essential in many modern clean-energy technologies – such as wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting.

“A robust and innovative clean-energy sector creates new jobs, helps strengthen our economy, and ensures a cleaner and safer planet for our children,” said David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “The global clean energy race is not something we can afford to lose. America must continue to make significant investments in clean-energy technologies and the Department of Energy is leaving no stone unturned in our all-of-the-

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Ames Laboratory Interim Director Tom Lograsso (left) speaks during
the opening ceremonies for the Department of Energy's Critical
Materials Institute. Other speakers included (left to right) Iowa State
University President Steven Leath, Assistant Secretary of Energy
David Danielsonand CMI Director Alex King. The CMI is one of DOE's
five Energy Innovation Hubs.

above approach to solving the nation’s energy challenges.”

DOE announced in January that the Ames Laboratory had been selected to lead the Critical Materials Institute with federal funding of up to $120 million over five years. The Hub is a collaboration of leading researchers from universities, four DOE national laboratories, and members of industry.

“Drawing from our historical strength in rare earth chemistry, metallurgical expertise, and analytical capabilities, the Critical Materials Institute will carry on the research tradition that has been the hallmark of the Ames Laboratory,” said Ames Laboratory Interim Director Tom Lograsso.

Iowa State University President Steven Leath said the university and federal partnership has historically led to “incredible advancements” in fuels, new materials, and environmental sustainability, and would continue to do so.

“We’re extremely proud that the Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University were selected by the Department of Energy to lead its newest hub here,” said Leath. “We’re ready to tackle the challenges in ensuring that this nation, its industries and government, have a safe, stable and reliable supply of critical materials.”

Alex King, director of the Critical Materials Institute, invited Karl A. Gschneidner, Jr. chief scientist for the CMI and senior metallurgist for the Ames Laboratory, to cut the ribbon to the CMI offices in a newly renovated wing of Wilhelm Hall on the Iowa State University campus.

“This is not the end of anything,” said King. “This is actually just the beginning. Now we get to cut the ribbon, and we go to work.”

Energy Innovation Hubs are major integrated research centers with researchers from many different institutions and technical backgrounds that combine basic and applied research with engineering to accelerate scientific discovery in critical energy areas. The CMI is the fifth hub to be launched by DOE.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

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Steven Leath
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David Danielson
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Alex King

Contacts:                                                               For release: Sept. 9, 2013
Tom Lograsso, Ames Lab Director, 515-294-2770
Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi, Public Affairs, 515-294-9750

 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a Japanese energy and industrial technology R&D organization, signed a memorandum of understanding today to promote cooperation between the two agencies in rare-earth and critical-materials research.

Image
NEDO Executive Director Fumio Ueda, left, and Ames Laboratory Interim Director Tom Lograsso shake hands after signing the memorandum of understanding between the two organizations.

The memorandum establishes a framework for Ames Laboratory and NEDO to collaborate on rare-earth scientific efforts and to exchange information and scientists.

“I’m very excited about the memorandum of understanding being executed today. This MOU will provide the foundation for the Ames Laboratory and NEDO to explore common interests in and share information on rare earth research and other critical materials. The MOU will help both organizations with the global perspective on these materials,” said Deb Covey, Ames Laboratory’s director of technology transfer and commercialization.

Ames Laboratory and NEDO signed the MOU in Ames, Iowa, as part of the inaugural events for the Critical Materials Institute, which is led by the Ames Laboratory. The CMI is a DOE Energy Innovation Hub that brings together national laboratories, universities and industry to help ensure U.S. access to critical materials.

“I’m very happy to have this MOU event because this MOU will pave the way for reinforcement in the field of critical materials, such as rare earths, in the pivotal bilateral relationship between the United States and Japan,” said Tohru Nakamura, NEDO’s director of electronic, materials technology and nanotechnology department.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

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