Continuous Innovation

U.S. Department of Defense Funding

Multi-Year Initiative to Advance Materials Recovery Technology

Gopher Resource is always in pursuit of new methods to minimize waste and promote sustainable practices in our operations. Now, we’re broadening our impact by partnering with industry leaders, international universities and research institutes to explore ways to support a more resilient and sustainable domestic supply chain. 

The initiative is part of the Materials Recovery Technologies for Defense Supply Resiliency (MRT-DSR) run through Army Research Labs (ARL), supporting President Biden’s 2021 Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, which directs the DOD to identify and address risks in the supply chain for critical minerals and materials.

Leading on Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Gopher Resource will leverage its expertise to facilitate seven projects focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, critical metals recovery and waste valorization/minimization. These efforts will support the nearshoring of our country’s supply chain by developing recycling technologies for recovering critical metals with improved environmental standards.

The first project explores the possibility of using advanced heat transfer technology from the solar energy industry to recover waste heat during the recycling process making it more energy efficient. This is an industry first for the novel technique and Gopher Resource is working with partners to commercialize this technology.

In another project funded through the partnership, Gopher Resource is working with the University of Minnesota Natural Resource Institute (NRRI) in Duluth to study the use of charcoal from biomass as an alternative to fossil coal in its recycling process. The goal of the project is to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% using biochar, a renewable, carbon-neutral resource, as a replacement for foundry coke currently used in our furnace process.

Funding the Initiative

As a founding industrial member of the consortium, Gopher Resource was instrumental in securing funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. During the appropriations process, Dr. Joseph Grogan, chief technology officer at Gopher Resource, worked with leaders from Worcester Polytechnic Institute to discuss this initiative with congress and secure funding.

To date, the consortium has received over $15 million in congressional funding from a $25 million ceiling, with more than $5 million secured for the projects Gopher Resource will be facilitating.

“When our work is complete, these technologies will be available to the commercial market and will play an important role in developing a low-carbon and diverse economy,” said Dr. Grogan. “One that creates new jobs in recycling, metals recovery and manufacturing, and supports a robust and sustainable domestic supply chain.”