RFI – Biotechnologies to Ensure a Robust Mineral Supply Chain for Clean Energy

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Funding Opportunity ID: 322181
Opportunity Number: DE-FOA-0002213
Opportunity Title: RFI – Biotechnologies to Ensure a Robust Mineral Supply Chain for Clean Energy
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Science and Technology and other Research and Development
Category Explanation:
CFDA Number(s): 81.135
Eligible Applicants: Unrestricted (i.e., open to any type of entity above), subject to any clarification in text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility”
Additional Information on Eligibility: This is a Request for Information only. THIS NOTICE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT (FOA). NO FOA EXISTS AT THIS TIME.
Agency Code: DOE-ARPAE
Agency Name: Department of Energy
Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy
Posted Date: Nov 04, 2019
Close Date: Dec 17, 2019 This is a Request for Information only. THIS NOTICE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT (FOA). NO FOA EXISTS AT THIS TIME.
Last Updated Date: Nov 04, 2019
Award Ceiling: $1
Award Floor: $1
Estimated Total Program Funding: $1
Expected Number of Awards: 1
Description: RFI – Biotechnologies to Ensure a Robust Mineral Supply Chain for Clean Energy This is a Request for Information only. This RFI is not accepting applications for financial assistance. The purpose of this RFI it to solicit input for ARPA-E consideration to inform the possible formulation of future programs. With increased global competition for minerals in emerging tech, defense, and clean energy applications, any shortage of critical mineral resources “constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States.” The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has recently published a list of such materials, which include : • Rare Earth Elements (REEs) consisting of the Lanthanide series: Lanthanum, Cerium, Praseodymium, Neodymium, Promethium, Samarium, Europium, Gadolinium, Terbium, Dysprosium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium, Ytterbium and Lutetium, as well as Yttrium and Scandium; • The Platinum Group Metals (PGMs): Iridium, Osmium, Palladium, Platinum, Rhodium, Ruthenium; and • Other critical materials: Aluminum (bauxite), Antimony, Arsenic, Barite (BaSO4), Beryllium, Bismuth, Cesium, Chromium, Cobalt, Fluorspar (CaF2), Gallium, Germanium, Graphite (natural), Hafnium, Helium, Indium, Lithium, Magnesium, Manganese, Niobium, Potash, Rhenium, Rubidium, Strontium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Uranium, Vanadium, and Zirconium. Besides the critical metals identified by DOI, other base transition metals of interest for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) are Nickel (Ni) and Copper (Cu). In 2018, the global Ni demand for Li-ion batteries was 85,000 tons and this is expected to increase by 30-40% per year . The U.S. Nickel production represents less than 1% (19,000 tons) of the total global production. In contrast, in 2018, Indonesia and the Philippines were the major global Ni raw material producers at 560,000 tons and 340,000 tons, respectively. While the U.S. is the third largest global Copper producer – with 1.2 million tons produced in 2018 – just behind Chile and Peru , the unique thermal and electrical properties of this metal make it a crucial element for energy efficiency applications. The issues around this material are the increase in Cu production costs due to declining domestic ore grades and the associated energy and environmental concerns around Cu extraction and processing. ARPA-E sees novel, potentially transformative technical opportunities/approaches to recovering critical materials from new approaches to biomining. Biomining is a process where an electron interplay takes place between metal-containing materials (like ores) and microorganisms (such as prokaryotes) with the objective to facilitate the solubilization and recovery of metals. This biotechnological process could significantly facilitate the extraction of redox-active critical metals from subterranean ore bodies, landfilled metal-containing wastes, spent catalysts and other sources.. Though long and widely practiced for the extraction of metals (Au, Cu in particular) from leach piles, recent developments in 1) microbial consortia mechanisms, 2) genetic modification/directed evolution and 3) identification of extremophiles, low/high pH (pH < 1 or >10) and high temperature (~ 80 °C) may help improve bioreactor productivity, contamination issues and overall process economics.. For example, Reed et al. recently showed that G. oxidans (B58) was effective in leaching REEs like Lanthanum (La) from spent FCC catalysts with a bioleaching yield of 49%. A subsequent study by the same leading author (D. Reed) showed bioleaching yield improvements by optimizing agitation intensity, oxygen levels, glucose and nutrient concentrations in batch (56% yield) and continuous bioreactor (51% yield) configurations. Another study showed that bioleaching of coal fly ash using a culture supernatant of C. bombicola strain led to ~ 60% mineral extraction, where Arsenic (As), Molybdenum (Mo), Ytterbium (Yb), and Erbium (Er) were amongst the highest recovered. ARPA-E is interested in surveying bio-based ideas across the entire supply chain of critical materials and other metals (Ni, Cu), including exploration, mining, extraction, processing, refining and recycling/recovery of such materials. ARPA-E requests responses focusing on the feedstock supply for successfully meeting the domestic demand, economic feasibility and environmental sustainability of critical materials. The information you provide may be used by ARPA-E in support of program planning. THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ONLY. THIS NOTICE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT (FOA). NO FOA EXISTS AT THIS TIME.
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