An R&D portfolio to help commercialize America’s abundant unconventional critical mineral resources.

R.B. Thomas
National Energy Technology Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: critical minerals, mineral resources, DOE, NETL


The world needs more critical minerals than existing mines will produce, and continuing reliance on global supply chains to deliver conventionally sourced critical minerals has risks that are now well understood. To secure necessary mineral resources for the Nation, The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Lab is leading the way in conducting R&D to unlock abundant unconventional sources of domestic critical minerals. As the DOE’s only government-owned and government-operated National Lab, NETL’s federal research scientists deliver a diverse research portfolio that targets the barriers to commercializing several different resource types. NETL’s research provides knowledge to the scientific community and clear benefits to the public. For instance, many unconventional resources will be developed by communities where the Energy Transition to renewables most impacts the public. If NETL succeeds, these energy communities will remain critical to the Nation’s energy future. In addition, many unconventional resources are associated with historical and unremediated wastes that pose an ongoing burden on the people. NETL’s dual approach to critical mineral recovery and reclamation of wastes has the potential to valorize some of the most obvious opportunities. This presentation highlights NETL’s research efforts and points to future opportunities to develop the resource base to support the growth of domestic supply chains.