DARPA Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource

Sponsor Deadline: 

Sep 27, 2021


DOD Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

UI Contact: 

DARPA Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource (EMBER)
Beta.sam.gov  https://sam.gov/opp/8e7c7d2a79774a8d89e13068c8c6cb54/view

The Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource (EMBER) program aims to develop novel, bio-based technologies to overcome key challenges facing domestic supply of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) critical to the U.S. and Department of Defense. The EMBER program will leverage the diversity, specificity, and customizability of environmental microbiology to enable new biomining methods for separation, purification, and conversion of REEs into manufacturing-ready forms. Microbes (and/or biomolecules), including those from extreme or metal-rich environments, can be biologically engineered or adapted to bind, assimilate, and manipulate individual REEs. These biological components, once developed, may be assembled into an in-line separation, purification, and recovery workflow resulting in individual, purified REEs. Scalability of EMBER’s approach will be demonstrated with proof-of-concept, pilot scale studies aligned with existing mining/waste treatment infrastructure.