FIPR Institute Activities Board Meeting (29th Meeting) – February 4, 2020

The next meeting of the FIPR Institute’s Research and Activities Board will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 starting at 9:30am in the Education Building Conference Room, 1855 West Main Street, Bartow, FL 33830.




Research at Florida Poly’s FIPR Institute to Produce New Sources of Critical Elements in U.S.

Leaders from Critical Materials Corporation and the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute signed an agreement Nov. 1, 2019 to pursue research to develop new sources of rare earth elements, which are used in the production of high-tech goods.

New research at the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute (FIPR), a research entity within Florida Polytechnic University, could produce new sources of rare earth elements in the U.S. The research is a result of a new collaboration with Critical Materials Corporation (CMC), based in Jacksonville, Florida. Rare earths are specialized minerals used in the production of many high-tech goods including electric cars and a wide range of consumer electronics. China currently is the largest producer of rare earth minerals used in the United States.

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 Dr. 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.”

Dr. Jim Mennie, FIPR’s business director, said that in addition to providing a new source of these rare materials, the new research could have a significant economic impact in the region. “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,” said Mennie.

CMC will be co-locating with and conducting its research at FIPR’s lab in Bartow. Tom Currin, CMC’s chief operating officer, said this 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.”

Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications

FIPR Institute Awarded Collaborative Research Funding from Critical Materials Institute

Dr. Patrick Zhang describes the FIPR Institute’s project on rare earth element extraction from Florida phosphate materials to Critical Material Institute (CMI) workshop attendees. FIPR Institute hosted this workshop in 2016 as part of its ongoing, collaborative research with CMI.

Dr. Patrick Zhang, Director of Mining and Beneficiation at the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute (FIPR Institute), received $150,000 in collaborative research funding from the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) for work on recovery of rare earth elements and high-value phosphorus from phosphoric acid sludge.

This will fund a new project associated with previous FIPR Institute and CMI research “Recovery of Rare Earths and Uranium from Phosphate.” When asked about the impact of the new work, Dr. Zhang stated that it has “great potential for the phosphate industry and rare earth element recovery efforts.”

Technologies developed to recover rare earth elements from phosphate fertilizer materials would help alleviate the supply problem for the United States and provide added industrial value to Florida phosphate mining.

Florida has low concentrations of rare earth elements present in the high volume of minerals mined by the phosphate industry for production of phosphate fertilizer. CMI and FIPR Institute are working to develop economically feasible extraction methods for rare earth elements that do not impede the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process.

CMI is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Innovation Hub whose Team Members include FIPR Institute as well as four national laboratories, several universities, and more than a dozen industry partners. Ames Laboratory operates CMI for the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office. CMI enables innovation focused on clean energy technologies. CMI research is focused on materials important to national security, which includes rare earth elements and lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese, indium, gallium and tellurium.

The FIPR Institute is a world-class research institute of Florida Polytechnic University. Located in Bartow, Florida, the FIPR Institute specializes in phosphate-related issues and industrial applied science and engineering, as well as a broadened research program including non-phosphate topics such as energy and the mining and processing of minerals other than phosphate.

Kate Kaste
Communications and Marketing Officer
FIPR Institute, Florida Polytechnic University