LOCKHART, Tex. – September 15, 2023 – Visionary Fiber Technologies, Inc. (“VFT”) has been awarded a Critical Materials Innovation Hub (“CMI”) grant for a project that aims to enhance critical mineral separation for sustainable extraction. The project, “Enhancing Critical Mineral Separation for Sustainable Extraction,” is part of the Ames Laboratory Critical Materials Innovation Hub, with a goal to make it easier and cheaper to extract Rare Earth Elements (“REE”) by developing a new method to separate all the critical REEs.
The CMI grant is part of a larger initiative by the U.S. government to enhance the critical minerals sector and promote sustainable extraction practices, which aims to address key infrastructure gaps to enable sustainable critical minerals production and to connect resources to markets. The grant’s funds will support clean energy and transportation projects that will enable critical mineral development.
Being one of only a select few chosen participants invited into the CMI grant is a significant achievement for VFT, as it will enable the company to continue development of a new technology that could revolutionize the way REEs are extracted and produced. The grant will provide VFT with valuable funding to carry out the project to further develop and scale its technology for future commercialization. The project will also help VFT to establish itself as an innovation leader in the field of critical mineral separation and sustainable extraction as it has demonstrated previously in other industrial processing and refining applications.
The current method for industrial REE separations utilizes solvent extraction with phosphonic acids, a complex process notorious for its excessive chemical consumption, wastewater effluents, toxic fume sequestration requirements, and hundreds of processing steps required to produce individual purified REEs. The separation of REEs remain a grand challenge, accounting for the major cost in producing purified REEs from ore. The project seeks to facilitate and create a superior domestic Rare Earth Element (“REE”) production capability by developing a technology for the separation of all critical REEs using a two-ligand approach that combines lipophilic and hydrophilic neutral ligands with contrasting selectivity.
The project’s success could have far-reaching implications for the global industry, and in particular, domestic producers. The new method developed by VFT aims to reduce the amount of chemicals and water required for REE extraction while materially driving down the average cost of production for REEs, and in turn, providing the most sustainable and economically attractive option for producers while also providing the most environmentally friendly solution.
About Visionary Fiber Technologies, Inc.
Visionary Fiber Technologies, Inc. (“VFT”) is a global leader in fiber reactor separation technology for material refining and processing. VFT’s globally patented breakthrough technology platform delivers significant value to the various processing industries that significantly improves the bottom line of its customers, end-user operators. Established in 2018 and headquartered in Lockhart, Texas, VFT’s technology crystalizes a paradigm shift in the way material processing is both designed and utilized. By intersecting physical and chemical principles in a proprietary method, the fiber reactor is a vessel that directly addresses unmet challenges and existing and emerging opportunities for refining industries across the board. To date, VFT has successfully deployed its technology in the renewable fuel and food applications.