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TITLE: Opportunities for Circular Management of Industrial Waters to Support the Clean Energy Transition
Tradeoffs between energy security, cost, and environmental impacts are key features of both current and future energy systems. This seminar will begin by briefly describing analyses of wastewater discharge and water consumption tradeoffs of the current transitioning fossil fleet. The infrastructure requirements to replace this fossil fleet with renewable energy increases the demand for minerals, leading to increased extraction and associated environmental impacts. Recovery of these minerals, including rare earth elements (REEs), from unconventional sources is motivated by the need to increase supply and the potential for social and environmental benefits. The seminar will cover structured methods to estimate downstream processing costs for unconventional sources of these minerals, with applications for the evaluation of critical mineral feedstocks and the development of the supply chain. The seminar will also present case studies for applications of this framework, including technoeconomic performance of rare earth element extraction from REE-enriched acid mine drainage precipitate and recovery of lithium from various alternative brine sources. Studies of the economic feasibility of an unconventional critical mineral supply offer a path forward for environmentally benign sources that have previously been underdeveloped due to economic constraints.