Press Release

Press Release  Massachusetts Organizations Awarded More than $5 Million from Biden-Harris Administration for Decarbonizing Iron and Steel Production

For immediate release:
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll

Media Contact   for Massachusetts Organizations Awarded More than $5 Million from Biden-Harris Administration for Decarbonizing Iron and Steel Production

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Boston — The Healey-Driscoll administration is celebrating news that the U.S. Department of Energy is awarding more than $5 million to four Massachusetts organizations to advance the production of low and zero-emission steel and iron. Iron and steel production accounts for approximately 7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, presenting a critical need for innovation to decarbonize the industry. The funding comes from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)’s ROSIE Program which will support technologies with the potential to reduce US CO2 emissions by 1% annually.  

“Massachusetts organizations continue to provide the ingenuity and innovation we need for the clean energy transition. We are competing aggressively for and winning federal funds that will lengthen our lead as the climate innovation lab for the world.” said Governor Maura Healey. “Congratulations to Phoenix Tailings, Tufts University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Form Energy, and thank you to President Biden and the Department of Energy for making these historic investments in a sustainable future.” 

“Massachusetts is a leader in driving the next wave of innovations in energy technology, and we are grateful for the support provided by federal partners in this work,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “We look forward to continuing to compete for and win federal dollars that invest in climate action while supporting our workforce and creating new economic opportunities.”   

Massachusetts awardees include: 

  • Phoenix Tailings (Woburn, MA) will utilize an ore-to-iron production process using the arc generated from an air-gapped electrode to electrolyze the molten oxide electrolyte powered by clean electricity. Molten oxide electrolysis is a promising alternative to conventional approaches, but until now has required anode materials that are either consumable or prohibitively expensive. (Award amount: $1,000,000) 

  • Tufts University (Medford, MA) will develop a method to directly reduce iron ore concentrates with ammonia, eliminating all direct process emissions from the ironmaking step, as well as emissions that result from baking iron ore with clay to make hard pellets. By using low-grade ores, bypassing the pellet-hardening step, and lowering melting costs, this new approach to ammonia-based reduction would reduce the cost of domestic steel while decreasing total steel emissions by greater than 60%. (Award amount: $2,924,514) 

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA) will focus on manufacturing technologies for low carbon electrolyzed iron powder to be used in iron-silicon electrical steel. The work could revolutionize iron production by replacing the traditional carbothermic process while significantly reducing energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and cost. (Award amount: $1,241,919) 

  • Form Energy (Somerville, MA) will leverage its patent-pending breakthrough to directly produce iron powders from alkaline iron ore slurries in a first-of-a-kind powder-to-powder process. Using domestically available iron ore feedstocks, the process has the potential to produce greenhouse gas emission-free iron at cost parity with today’s carbon-intensive ironmaking methods. (Award amount: $1,000,000) 

These awards support the Healey-Driscoll administration’s work to center climate innovation and technology in its long-term economic strategy for the state. Massachusetts is a global leader in technology research and innovation and is uniquely positioned to lead the development and advancement of clean energy technology. The funding will bolster the growing climate-technology economy that continues to thrive in Massachusetts.  

 “With the Mass Leads Act, we can further Massachusetts’s position as a leader in climate technology and invest in a more sustainable future,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao. “We thank the Biden-Harris administration for their commitment to advancing innovation at Phoenix Tailings, Tufts University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Form Energy. We look forward to continuing our partnership with this administration to advance our green economy.” 

“Massachusetts continues to be a leader in the climate innovation space, and we are thrilled that the Department of Energy and the Biden Administration is supporting our state in this work,” said Director of Federal Funds and Infrastructure Quentin Palfrey. “We will continue our whole-of-government strategy for securing federal funds to support initiatives that advance climate, labor and equity in communities across Massachusetts. Thank you to President Biden and Secretary Granholm for these exciting awards.” 

“Massachusetts has been a pioneer in the steel and iron industry in the United States, and now we’re leading the charge to produce these materials sustainably,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Dr. Emily Reichert. “Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Tufts University, Form Energy, and Phoenix Tailings provide examples that highlight the climate corridor we’re building here in the Commonwealth. The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the potential of these innovations, and these investments through the U.S. Department of Energy and ARPA-E will help Massachusetts researchers and entrepreneurs develop climate technologies that will change our world for the better.” 


Statements of Support: 

 “Massachusetts is yet again leading the charge to our clean energy future,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “These awards will iron out the next generation of green steel manufacturing technologies that will drive down emissions in a hard to abate sector. I look forward to forging a clean steel industry that is built in America.” 

“Massachusetts is home to many of the best climate and clean energy technology institutions in the world,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan. “This federal ARPA-E investment is a testament to the incredible partnership of the Healey-Driscoll administration, the federal delegation, company leaders, and our network of research institutions, which are committed to bolstering the Commonwealth’s climate tech leadership and unlocking a clean energy future.” 


Media Contact   for Massachusetts Organizations Awarded More than $5 Million from Biden-Harris Administration for Decarbonizing Iron and Steel Production

  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll 

    Since taking office, Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll’s top priority has been building a Massachusetts that’s competitive, equitable, and affordable for every family, worker, and business.
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