UNrealized Critical Lanthanide Extraction via Sea Algae Mining (UNCLE-SAM): Domestic production of critical minerals from seawater
12/15/2020 - 12/15/2023
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will use advanced climate-simulation photobioreactors with access to natural seawater to determine optimized cultivation and rare earth elements (REE) uptake conditions of seaweeds. The team will treat the seaweed biomass with heat and pressure in a process called hydrothermal liquefaction to concentrate its critical mineral portion, while concurrently generating a feedstock for biofuels, bioplastics, and biomedical compounds. Developing this technology could transform the bioproduct and REE mining industries and catalyze the development of a more sustainable future.