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DOE Invests Nearly $8 Million To Treat Wastewater, Recover Valuable Minerals
Funding Opportunity Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced the selection of five research and development (R&D) projects to receive nearly $8 million for the treatment and management of produced water—or wastewater associated with oil and natural gas development and production—and the management of legacy wastewater associated with coal-based thermal electric power generation facilities. These projects are in addition to $10 million for four projects previously announced in December 2023 to help lower the cost of developing and demonstrating technologies to manage wastewater safely and effectively for beneficial end-uses, while supporting DOE’s goals to provide environmental and economic benefits to communities that have been affected by stressed water resources and legacy pollution. These same energy production waste streams also contain recoverable critical minerals and materials, including rare earth elements, that are essential to our national security and to manufacturing clean energy technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, and hydrogen fuel cells.

“We are excited to announce additional project selections under this important initiative to recover and reuse energy industry wastewater for non-potable uses, which in turn helps to increase the availability of fresh water resources in regions of the country experiencing drought conditions made worse by a warming climate,” said Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “At the same time, these projects are helping to develop a domestic source of critical minerals and materials key achieving our clean energy manufacturing, climate, and national security goals.”

The selected projects will focus on advancing technologies and lowering costs to reduce wastewater volume, achieve beneficial reuse of industrial wastewater in water-scarce areas, and recover critical resources such as rare earth elements. Projects will also address the development of infrastructure to efficiently transport and treat this wastewater to reduce environmental impacts related to trucking, as well as minor seismic events that have occurred through the practice of injecting produced water into underground saltwater disposal wells.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), under the purview of FECM, will manage the selected projects. A detailed list of the selected projects can be found here.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across the U.S. economy. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the NETL website.