Critical Materials Institute, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub


FLC Region

Security Lab



2332 Pammel Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1025
United States




The CMI focuses on technologies that make better use of materials and eliminate the need for materials that are subject to supply disruptions. These critical materials are essential for American competitiveness in clean energy. Various facilities are available for use under CMI Memebership Program. An example being the LENS (Laser-Engineered Near-Netshape System) for bulk-combinatorial materials assessment. 


The Ames Laboratory leads the CMI team, which includes partners from other national laboratories, universities and industry. The Critical Materials Institute helps the United States in four ways:

  • Diversifying supplies. If one source goes offline, we can rely on a different source.
  • Developing substitute materials that can meet needs without using the materials we use today.
  • Using the available materials more efficiently:  reducing waste in manufacturing processes, and increasing the adoption of recycling.
  • Forecasting what materials might become critical in the future.
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