Wyoming rare earth elements project receives federal funding

Wyoming rare earth elements project receives federal funding

Mine Tailings Discoveries

Rare-earth oxides, clockwise from top center: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. Rare earth elements are required for key components of cellphones, televisions, weapons systems, wind turbines, MRI machines and the regenerative brakes in hybrid cars.

GILLETTE — A project in Wyoming to develop technologies and methods to extract rare earth elements from coal ash received more than $810,000 from the federal government.

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory are overseeing the project, The Gillette News Record reported Wednesday.

The project received the grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Technology Commercialization Fund.

The technology laboratory plans to establish a pilot production facility at the Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center under development in Campbell County to demonstrate the economically viable production of elements derived from coal ash.

Rare earth elements are chemicals in the planet’s crust with unique properties making them essential to technologies spanning a range of applications in electronics, computer and communication systems, transportation, health care, and national defense.

Wyoming is the nation’s top coal producer and studies have shown Powder River Basin coal ash has high levels of extractable rare earth elements compared to other coal ash.

In addition to energy department funds, the project will receive more than $375,000 from the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, $187,500 each from Campbell County and the city of Gillette, and $60,000 from Energy Capital Economic Development.


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