Major Industries from transportation to energy to consumer electronics depend on materials that are both rare within the earth’s crust and that are often mined using unsustainable practices. This unsustainable use of conflict resources and rare earth minerals have resulted in stifled growth in new industries, support human-rights violating regimes and support environmentally-damaging mining practices. Increased utilization of earth-‐abundant materials in industrial sector applications is desirable because it would:
- reduce the nation’s support of a source of international conflict financing and
- advance the use of environmentally and economically sustainable mining practices across major industries.
The Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials (JCDREAM) was established to provide the organizational framework to stimulate innovation in the use of earth abundant materials within an established and emerging industrial sector. Washington State has already emerged as a significant innovation and manufacturing hub for the clean energy and transportation industrial sectors. A Washington State-wide focus on developing earth-abundant materials technologies within the State’s existing innovation and manufacturing-competencies would propel Washington State into a position of national leadership in sustainable manufacturing practices within large scale (transportation) and growth (clean energy) industries.
The JCDREAM strategy rests on three core pillars:
- Collaborative research and development: Incubate, enhance, and sustain collaborative research and development efforts to advance the state-‐of-‐the-‐art in materials science and engineering, and advanced manufacturing with a focus on clean energy and transportation technologies; Work together with Washington State Clean Energy facilities to establish design and manufacturing capabilities for clean energy innovation.
- Regional center for transportation materials and manufacturing: Deploy a modern, responsive, and geographically distributed research and development infrastructure that collectively integrates advanced capabilities and “signature” user facilities as a regional center for materials processing and manufacturing through the establishment of networked gateways located at (and operated by) the partner institutions and available to the JCDREAM community at-‐large.
- Education and Leadership: Implement an educational program that is responsive to the needs of Washington State and serves:
- as the basis to develop the innovation workforce trained in advanced materials and manufacturing science and technology to realize next-‐generation earth-‐abundant clean energy and transportation technologies.
- to provide national leadership and guidance to elected officials, and support to industrial collaborators in bringing visibility to the importance of the challenge posed by unsustainable use of conflict resources and rare earth minerals.