What is clear is that rare earth metals are important to the U.S. "Rare earth metals and other critical materials are essential to manufacturing wind turbines, electric vehicles, advanced batteries, and a host of other products that are essential to America's energy and national security," David Danielson, assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, said in a statement.
"[The new institute] will bring together the best and brightest research minds from universities, national laboratories and the private sector to find innovative technology solutions that will help us avoid a supply shortage that would threaten our clean energy industry as well as our security interests," said Danielson.
But Lifton said the U.S. is already too late. "It's over, we have given away this technology lead to the Chinese," he said.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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