This article features excerpts from an article originally published on www.energy.gov by the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy titled America’s Supply Chains and Our Clean Energy Story.
When we tell the story of our clean energy future, technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles take center stage. These technologies will be crucial to producing 100% clean electricity by 2035 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But to tell the full story, it’s important to go back to where it all begins – within America’s manufacturing sector and the supply chains that support it.
U.S. manufacturing is the heartbeat of our nation’s clean energy future. It pumps life into our economy, creating thousands of jobs while moving materials through intricate supply chains to manufacture clean energy technologies.
To achieve a clean energy future that is made in America, we must strengthen and secure these domestic manufacturing supply chains. As part of a DOE-wide supply chain analysis for the energy sector industrial base for Executive Order 14017, “America’s Supply Chains,” the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) released three deep dive assessments. These assessments explore challenges and opportunities to build U.S. supply chains for clean energy technologies, including rare earth magnets for electric vehicles and wind energy, energy efficient semiconductors and power electronics, and platinum group metal catalysts for fuel cells and water electrolysis.
The supply chains for these critical technologies are often concentrated in a single country. Even where the U.S. has significant resources and production capacities, downstream domestic refining and manufacturing is often lacking. To secure domestic manufacturing and American competitiveness in these sectors, AMO supports RD&D and workforce development throughout multiple stages of these supply chains. In the deep dive assessments, AMO highlights key supply chain bottlenecks and opportunities for the nation to lead the global clean energy economy.
Catalysts based on platinum group metal (PGMs) have a variety of applications such as automotive catalytic converters and petroleum refining. They are also central to emerging decarbonization technologies such as water electrolyzers for green hydrogen production, fuel cells for vehicles and stationary energy storage, and the electrochemical manufacturing of chemicals.
One of these projects, led by Forge Nano, is working to develop Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology that can reduce PGM loading while producing the same targeted chemical product yield.
The narrative of our clean energy transition is complex and multi-faceted, involving global, interconnected supply chains, disparate technologies and resources, and geopolitical actors and events. American manufacturing strength is the common thread that will weave together and connect the ideas, technologies, resources, and workforces to achieve our clean energy future. Secure supply chains are the foundation of this narrative, and the United States has an opportunity to build this integral foundation for tomorrow’s clean energy economy.