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Florida Poly research could increase RE material production

The date of: 2019-11-07
viewed: 3

source:Florida Politics

New research at Florida Polytechnic University could produce new sources of rare earth elements that aid in the production of high-tech goods like electric cars.

The research comes from the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute (FIPR) within Florida Poly. The institute is partnering with the Critical Materials Corporation in Jacksonville.

FIPR and CMC signed a three-year, $876,000 agreement to initiate the partnership on Nov. 1, 2019.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to work closely with CMC and FIPR, which both have decades of practical experience and extensive contacts in the industry,” said Terry Parker, provost and executive vice president of Florida Poly and executive director of FIPR. “I am hopeful this collaboration will establish proof of concept for a rare earth extraction plant in the United States using U.S. sourced materials.”

China is currently the largest producer of rare earth minerals used in the U.S.

Bringing new research to increase U.S. production could have significant economic impacts, according to FIPR Business Director Jim Mennie.

“This collaboration creates a new supply chain in Central Florida which would provide new revenue and jobs, as well as these rare elements that we need to build high technology electronic products,” Mennie said.

CMC plans to co-locate at FIPR’s lab in Bartow where it will assist in research efforts. Tom Currin, CMC’s chief operating officer, said the collaboration will create additional revenue for FIPR and more research opportunities for Florida Poly students.

“Our goal is to prove the basic science in the lab and then construct first a demonstration plant, and then a commercial rare earth separation plant in the Lakeland vicinity,” Currin said. “This will generate local training and employment opportunities, adding to the local employer tax base.”

 The Florida Legislature established FIPR in 1978 as a world-class research entity specializing in phosphate and industrial applied science and engineering. The institute broadened its research in 2010 to include non-phosphate related topics.

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