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Outcomes of U.S.-Japan Roundtable on Rare Earth Elements R&D for Clean Energy Technologies (18-19 November 2010) December 3, 2010 PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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E. D. Jones. Outcomes of U.S.-Japan Roundtable on Rare Earth Elements R&D for Clean Energy Technologies (18-19 November 2010) December 3, 2010. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, P. O. Box 808, Livermore, CA 94551.

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Outcomes of U.S.-Japan Roundtable on Rare Earth Elements R&D for Clean Energy Technologies (18-19 November 2010) December 3, 2010

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E. D. Jones

Outcomes of U.S.-Japan Roundtable on Rare Earth Elements R&D for Clean Energy Technologies

(18-19 November 2010)

December 3, 2010

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, P. O. Box 808, Livermore, CA 94551

This work performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract


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U.S.-Japan REE Roundtable

  • DOE, national laboratories, academia, business/industry

  • Japan delegation led by Toru Nakayama, NEDO

    • New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO)

    • National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

    • Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)

    • Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI

    • Tohoku University

    • Kansai University

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Strategic Perspectives

GOJ has had a concerted REE/Rare Metals strategy since 2007

(Supplemental budget in JFY 2010 is ~$1 Billion)



  • Diversify supply (new resources and reuse)

  • Substitutes (at multiple scales)

  • Efficient use (optimization, longer lifetimes)

  • Securing overseas resources (JOGMEC)

  • Recycling (JOGMEC)

  • Development of alternative and substitute materials (NEDO, MEXT)

  • Stockpiling (JOGMEC)

‘Sustaining the rare earths enterprise through materials management’

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Materials Management

  • Roundtable used an enterprise format: from supply to demand side

  • The most readily available REE resource (other than Mountain Pass mine) is the extant product lines, i.e., reuse and recycling

    • New mine finds take at least 10 years to produce (in U.S.)

    • Plentiful worldwide phosphate resources with relatively low concentration REE (requires economical extraction/separation)

  • Japan’s supply and demand chain is more fully articulated than in U.S.; may have different priorities

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Japan’s Rare Metal Substitute Materials Development Program – Target Applications

  • Dysprosium and Neodymium for REE magnets [30% reduction]

    • Grain refinement and nanostructure techniques

    • REE- less/free alloys or other elements

  • Cerium for polishing abrasives [30% reduction]

    • Composite abrasive technology

    • Cerium-free abrasives with reformative polishing techniques

  • Europium and Terbium in phosphorsfor fluorescent lighting [80% reduction]

    • Optimized use in manufacturing and lighting systems

    • Materials development in glasses and phosphors

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Japan’s Target Applications, cont’d

  • Indium for transparent conducting electrodes [50% reduction]

    • New compositions, manufacturing methods, and high performance nano-particles

    • ZnO-based replacement technology

  • Platinum Group Metals for emission control catalysts [50% reduction]

    • Reduction with PGM aggregation inhibition structure

    • Substitute materials using transition metals

  • Tungsten for hard metal tools [ 30% reduction]

    • Hybrid and complex-structured hard cutting tools

    • Titanium carbon nitride cermet and coating technology

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Areas for U.S.-Japan Cooperation

  • Platforms for exchange of information and ideas

    • Virtual data bases and networks

    • Research results, tools, methods, lessons learned, best practices

  • Human capital development

    • Education and training for new and transitional professionals

    • Develop market cohorts: business, economics, legal political, socio-environmental

  • Lifecycle and strategic risk management studies

    • Strategies for sustainability and R&D activities

    • Evaluate regional and global market developments

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Areas for U.S.-Japan Cooperation, cont’d

  • Build fundamental scientific and engineering capabilities to address exigent and emerging critical materials issues, while pursuing respective target applications

    • Reduces the impact of supply chain disparities

    • Avoids conflicts in competitive applications

    • Example research areas:

  • Separations for processing and reprocessing

    • Versatile for both raw (mined) and product materials (reuse and recycling)

    • Increase separation factors among elements

    • Simple and economic, with low impact

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Cooperative Research Areas

  • Fundamental properties of REE and nano- to micro-science

    • Understand the fundamental coordination chemistry of f-element materials

    • Explore behavior and performance in various complexes and molecular structures

    • Impacts on extraction/separation, reprocessing and manufacturing

  • Characterization methods and technologies

    • Rapid techniques for quantitative automated mineralogy

    • Assay bulk material, no preparation, non-destructive, near real-time

    • Supports exploration and mining, processing requirements, and reuse and recycling

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More Cooperative Research Areas

  • Geosciences and recovery

    • Remote sensing and geochemical exploration to detect and characterize concealed ore deposits

    • Target extraction with selective solvents

    • Lower cost and impact of mining and recovery

  • Computational science, models, and simulation

    • Improve approximation methods for modeling f-electron atoms

    • Explore methods from atomistic to multi-scale or multi-physics simulations

    • Models may be more efficient than producing new compounds or processes

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Next Steps

  • Share the roundtable discussion with other parties

  • Government-to-government interactions between DOE and GOJ agencies

  • Individual-to-individual interactions among meeting participants and others

  • The next joint discussion may be hosted in Japan in a few months

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