• E-Waste and National Security

    End-of-life circuit boards, certain magnets in disc drives and electric vehicles, EV and other special battery types, and fluorescent lamps are among several electrical and electronic products containing critical raw materials (CRMs), the recycling of which should be made law, says a new report.

  • Increasing U.S. Production of Rare Earth Elements

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) the other day awarded $19 million for 13 projects in traditionally fossil fuel-producing communities across the country to support production of rare earth elements and critical minerals vital to the manufacturing of batteries, magnets, and other components important to the clean energy economy.

  • U.K.'s First Recycling Plant for High-Performance Rare Earth Magnets to Open

    The U.K.’s first re-manufacturing line for high-performance sintered rare earth magnets for use in electric vehicles, aerospace, renewable energy technologies and low carbon technologies will be developed by the University of Birmingham.

  • Demand for Rare-Earth Metals Is Skyrocketing, So We’re Creating a Safer, Cleaner Way to Recover Them from Old Phones and Laptops

    Rare-earth metals are critical to the high-tech society we live in as an essential component of mobile phones, computers and many other everyday devices. But increasing demand and limited global supply means we must urgently find a way to recover these metals efficiently from discarded products.

  • High Rises Made of Timber

    With an increasing demand for a more sustainable alternative for high-rise construction, new points to timber as a sustainable and effective way to make tall, high-density, and renewable buildings. Tall mass-timber buildings are a safe and sustainable alternative for high-rise construction,

  • Smart Concrete Could Pave the Way for High-Tech, Cost-Effective Roads

    Of the 614,387 bridges in the U.S., for example, 39% are older than their designed lifetimes, while nearly 10% are structurally deficient, meaning they could begin to break down faster or, worse, be vulnerable to catastrophic failure. The cost to repair and improve nationwide transportation infrastructure ranges from nearly US$190 billion to almost $1 trillion. Repairing U.S. infrastructure costs individual households, on average, about $3,400 every year. Traffic congestion alone is estimated to cost the average driver $1,400 in fuel and time spent commuting, a nationwide tally of more than $160 billion per year.

  • Building European Cities with Wood Would Sequester, Store Half of Cement industry’s Carbon Emissions

    Buildings around us create a whopping one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s about ten times more than air traffic worldwide. In Europe alone about 190 million square meters of housing space are built each year, mainly in the cities, and the amount is growing quickly at the rate of nearly one percent a year. Slowly increasing the use of wood in European construction could increase the carbon storage of buildings by 420 million CO2 tons over the next 20 years.

  • Predicting Valuable Rare Earth Element Deposits

    Pioneering new research has helped geologists solve a long-standing puzzle that could help pinpoint new, untapped concentrations of some the most valuable rare earth deposits.

  • Marine Sponges Inspire Next Generation Skyscrapers, Bridges

    When we think about sponges, we tend to think of something soft and squishy. But researchers are using the glassy skeletons of marine sponges as inspiration for the next generation of stronger and taller buildings, longer bridges, and lighter spacecraft.

  • Turning Waste into Valuable Critical Minerals

    A new way to treat acid mine drainage (AMD) could help transform the environmental pollution problem into an important domestic source of the critical rare earth elements needed to produce technology ranging from smart phones to fighter jets.

  • What is Ammonium Nitrate, the Chemical that Exploded in Beirut?

    Ammonium nitrate has the chemical formula NHNO₃. Produced as small porous pellets, or “prills,”it’s one of the world’s most widely used fertilizers. It is also the main component in many types of mining explosives, where it’s mixed with fuel oil and detonated by an explosive charge. For an industrial ammonium nitrate disaster to occur, a lot needs to go wrong. Tragically, this seems to have been the case in Beirut.

  • E-Waste-Eating Protein Creates Rare Earth Elements

    Rare earth elements (REE) are essential for American competitiveness in the clean energy industry because they are used in many devices important to a high-tech economy and national security. Researchers have designed a new process, based on a naturally occurring protein, that could extract and purify REE from low-grade sources. It could offer a new avenue toward a more diversified and sustainable REE sector for the United States.

  • Reverse Engineering of 3D-Printed Parts by Machine Learning Reveals Security Vulnerabilities

    Over the past thirty years, the use of glass- and carbon- fiber reinforced composites in aerospace and other high-performance applications has soared along with the broad industrial adoption of composite materials. Machine learning can make reverse engineering of complex composite material parts easy.

  • Critical Minerals in U.S. Waters

    For centuries, people have crossed oceans in search of valuable minerals. In recent times, though, increasing attention has been paid to the oceans themselves for their mineral potential, especially rock formations on the seafloor. American researchers are focusing primarily on the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ. This region extends 200 miles from a country’s shoreline and gives the country control over the exploration and exploitation of marine resources in that area.

  • U.S. Mine Produced $86.3 Billion in Minerals in 2019

    U.S. mines produced approximately $86.3 billion in minerals in 2019 –- more than $2 billion higher than revised 2018 production totals. The U.S. continues to rely on foreign sources for some raw and processed mineral materials. In 2019, imports made up more than one-half of U.S apparent consumption for 46 nonfuel mineral commodities, and the U.S. was 100 percent net import reliant for 17 of those. The domestic production of critical rare-earth mineral concentrates increased by 8,000 metric tons (over 44 percent) in 2019 to 26,000 metric tons, making the U.S. the largest producer of rare-earth mineral concentrates outside of China.