Twenty-seventh Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

The Sustainable Future of Critical Materials for a Domestic Green Economy

Symposium Organizers: David Reed, Sr. Staff Scientist, Critical Materials Institute, Idaho National Laboratory; Hongyue Jin, Assistant Professor, Critical Materials Institute, University of Arizona; Denis Prodius, Assistant Scientist III, Critical Materials Institute, Ames Laboratory, and; Yoshiko Fujita, Distinguished Staff Scientist, Critical Materials Institute, Idaho National Laboratory

Much of the world is highly dependent on foreign markets for the supply of critical materials. These materials are essential for magnets and batteries in computers, smart phones, and electric vehicles, and to produce vital components in medical and scientific equipment and for national defense. Although in many cases these materials are found in various locations of the world, mining and processing costs as well as environmental challenges have deterred investment. New technologies are needed to promote critical material production and decrease supply risk for these materials. Greener options are needed for mining and processing, as well as improved approaches for reuse, recycling, and substitution of critical materials.

In response to the growing recognition that shortages of certain materials may constrain our necessary transition to a clean energy economy and fulfillment of our climate goals, government agencies, in recent years, have provided substantial funding to address some of the challenges associated with maintaining domestic supplies of critical materials. Because of the criticality of these materials for the prosperity of future generations, the goal of this symposium is to bring together a variety of stakeholders to teach, learn and brainstorm ideas for how we might address critical material challenges to support a more sustainable future.

Session presentations may include the current status of critical material supply chains and predictions for the future, how technoeconomic and life cycle analyses and other modeling efforts can help guide technology development, the state-of-the-art technologies that are both green and economically viable, gaps or opportunities for further development, and how technologies might be implemented or leveraged for integration into critical material supply chains. Presentations providing perspective on technical, industrial or policy challenges for the sustainability of critical material supplies are welcome.

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