Rare earth elements (REEs) – an integral component of high-technology products from smart phones and lasers to computer hard drives, medical devices and national defense systems – are not that rare, they just appear in miniscule concentrations in a variety of sources, including water. NETL researchers have developed a way to effectively filter water from oil and natural gas well flowbacks, industrial waste streams, acid mine drainage and even municipal drinking water to recover valuable REEs. According to the U.S. Geological Society, in 2015, global REE reserves were 130,000,000 tons. At the same time, world REE demand is growing at about 8 percent annually. Because natural water systems like rivers, groundwater, seawater and even acid mine drainage streams are viable sources for REE recovery, NETL researchers adapted an innovation they developed originally to capture carbon dioxide ( CO2) from coal burning power plants to address the REE recovery challenge.