Ensuring the Sustainability of Critical Materials and Alternatives

Addressing the Fundamental Challenges in Separation Science and Engineering
August 21, 2012

The NSF identified research in separations science and engineering (SSE) as a key priority for ensuring the sustainability of critical metals. This symposium featured presentations and a panel discussion on subjects related to critical materials.

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:

Report of the Symposium

Continuation of this wo​rk

Information on the 2014 Workshop here.

Highlights

Conference Presentations

Please note: Only presentations specifically granted permission by the presenter are posted on this page.

Conference Program Download

Download 2012 Critial Materials conference program book for complete information. Critical Materials Program Book

Featured Speakers

Harry A. Atwater

Harry Atwater’s research centers around two interwoven research themes: photovoltaics and solar energy, and plasmonics and optical metamaterials. Atwater and his group have been active in photovoltaics research for more than 20 years. He currently serves as Director of the DOE Energy Frontier Research Center on Light-Material Interactions in Solar Energy Conversion. He was also recently named Director of the Resnick Institute for Science, Energy and Sustainability, Caltech’s largest endowed research program focused on energy. (click name for full bio)