ACS Presidential Symposium on Ensuring the Sustainability of Critical Materials and Alternatives
Natural resources derived from the Earth’s lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere are the building blocks of a sustainable human society. Like energy and water, the availability of metals is critical to the world economy. Although the United States (US) is one of the world’s largest producers of minerals, it imports more than 70% of its needs for important metals, many of which have been listed as critical minerals by the U.S. National Research Council. During the last 5 years, the sustainable supply of critical metals has been the subject of intense discussion worldwide. However, only a few workshops and reports have been devoted to the key role of separations science and engineering (SSE) in the sustainable extraction, recovery, recycling and replacement of critical metals.
During its recent SusCHEM workshop, the National Science Foundation identified research in SSE as a key priority for ensuring a sustainable supply of critical metals. Building upon the results of the SusCHEM workshop, a 1-day symposium was held on Tuesday August 21 during the 2012 Fall Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia: “Ensuring the Sustainability of Critical Materials and Alternatives: Addressing the Fundamental Challenges in Separation Science and Engineering.”
This symposium featured a series of presentations and a panel discussion on critical materials and their sustainable extraction, recovery and purification. It was co-sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Catherine T. Hunt (Dow Chemical Company) and Prof. Mamadou S. Diallo (KAIST and Caltech) were co-chairs of the symposium. See results from the symposium below: