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DOE invests additional $8M to increase domestic supplies of water and critical minerals

  • DOE invests additional $8M to increase domestic supplies of water and critical minerals
  • University and industry-led projects will advance technologies to treat and reuse wastewater and extract valuable resources from energy waste streams.

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U.S Department of Energy
The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced the selection of five research and development (R&D) projects to receive nearly $8 million for the treatment and management of produced wateror wastewater associated with oil and natural gas development and production—and the management of legacy wastewater associated with coal-based thermal electric power generation facilities. These projects are in addition to $10 million for four projects previously announced in December 2023 to help lower the cost of developing and demonstrating technologies to manage wastewater safely and effectively for beneficial end-uses, while supporting DOE’s goals to provide environmental and economic benefits to communities that have been affected by stressed water resources and legacy pollution. These same energy production waste streams also contain recoverable critical minerals and materials, including rare earth elements, that are essential to our national security and to manufacturing clean energy technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, and hydrogen fuel cells.

“We are excited to announce additional project selections under this important initiative to recover and reuse energy industry wastewater for non-potable uses, which in turn helps to increase the availability of fresh water resources in regions of the country experiencing drought conditions made worse by a warming climate,” said Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “At the same time, these projects are helping to develop a domestic source of critical minerals and materials key achieving our clean energy manufacturing, climate, and national security goals.”

The selected projects will focus on advancing technologies and lowering costs to reduce wastewater volume, achieve beneficial reuse of industrial wastewater in water-scarce areas, and recover critical resources such as rare earth elements. Projects will also address the development of infrastructure to efficiently transport and treat this wastewater to reduce environmental impacts related to trucking, as well as minor seismic events that have occurred through the practice of injecting produced water into underground saltwater disposal wells.

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