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Rare Earth Metals Production


RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR) TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. OBJECTIVE: Develop, demonstrate, and stand up a rare earth metal production process. The process should be able to produce metal from commercially available oxides or carbonates. It should be scalable to meet changes in industrial demand. The price should be commercially viable. The major elements of interest are neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), gadolinium (Gd), samarium (Sm). DESCRIPTION: DLA requires a domestic processing ability to produce rare earth metals from commercially available precursors. These materials are essential to a wide range of both essential civilian and military technologies. Domestic manufacturing of these material is essential for DLA to support the warfighter. The process should be able to take multiple commercially available precursors and produce high purity metal. It must be environmentally compliant with all federal, state, and local laws. Ideally the process and equipment could be used for more then a single element. The material should be at least 99.9% pure. The process should be scalable and modular to allow for rapid scale up if necessary. PHASE I: The below actions would be required to successfully accomplish Phase I: • At a minimum, develop a process flow sheet and design a lab scale of material processed of at least 2kg to confirm its accuracy. • Material produced at the required purity level. • Breakdown of cost structure for industrialization including required capital expenditures and per unit production costs. Phase I – 6 Months $100K Phase II – 24 Months $1.6M PHASE II: The below actions would be required to successfully accomplish Phase II: • Deliver a lab scale prototype (TRL 6) with a minimal low-rate production for at least 1 of the listed materials. • Using the metal produced to make a magnet alloy and test magnet blocks made from it. • Detail a plan on how to increase to full commercial production for as many of the materials as is possible with the same hardware. • Outline the economic business case for full scale commercialization. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III is any proposal that “Derives From”, “Extends” or Completes a transition from a Phase I or II project. Phase III proposals will be accepted after the completion of Phase I and or Phase II projects. There is no specific funding is associated with Phase III, except Phase III is not allowed to use SBIR/STTR coded funding. Any other type funding is allowed. Phase III proposal Submission. Phase III proposals are emailed directly to DLA The PMO team will set up evaluations and coordinate the funding and contracting actions depending on the outcome of the evaluations. A Phase III proposal should follow the same format as Phase II for the content, and format. There are, however, no limitations to the amount of funding requested, or the period of performance. All other guidelines apply. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: these materials have dual-use commercial or military applications in many complex systems.
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