January 9, 2013
Harkin Welcomes Ames Lab Critical Materials Hub Designation
Federal designation positions lab for global leadership in research
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement upon learning that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had selected the Ames Laboratory to lead a new Critical Materials Hub. The hub will be named the Critical Materials Institute and will focus on accelerating the research and development of rare-earth materials and components that play an essential role in modern electronics and energy technologies such as wind turbines, electric vehicles, high efficiency appliances, and other devices. Earlier this year, Harkin encouraged the Department to establish this institute in Ames.
“The Ames Lab is the nation’s premier research center for rare earth materials’ science and technology. In responding to DOE’s call for proposals, Ames assembled a team that offers broad capabilities covering the full spectrum of critical materials research and development, from mining to separations, alloy formulations, component and systems development, and materials recycling. This team will enable the United States to continue as a global leader in research and development in diverse technologies such as communications, control systems and advanced energy systems,” said Harkin. “I congratulate the Lab and I look forward to the economic opportunities this brings for our state, as well as the critical role this institute will play in assuring the ready access to critical materials that is essential for our entire economy.”
The Ames Lab has been a leader in the separation of rare earth and transitional metals since its role in the Manhattan Project. Today’s designation builds upon and recognizes the Lab’s pre-eminence in the area of materials research. In addition to the establishment of the Critical Materials Institute, Iowa State will see an increase in research funding. This project is anticipated to create new economic opportunities and help to prevent the export of jobs from the U.S.