Renee Grogan joined the SETI Institute’s “Big Picture Science” podcast and describes the genesis for Impossible Metals of rethinking harvesting metals to be more sustainable and environmentally responsible.

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Rare earth metals

Catalytic converters are disappearing. If you’ve had yours stolen, you know that precious and rare earth metals are valuable. But these metals are in great demand for things other than converters, such as batteries for electric cars, wind farms and solar panels.

We need rare earth metals to combat climate change, but where to get them? Could we find substitutes?

One activity that could be in our future: Deep sea mining. But it’s controversial. Can one company’s plan to mitigate environmental harm help?


  • Paul Dauenhauer – Professor of chemical engineering and material science at the University of Minnesota and a 2020 MacArthur Fellow
  • Chris Leighton – Distinguished University Teaching Professor, Editor, Physical Review Materials, Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota
  • Renee Grogan – Co-founder and Chief Sustainability Officer, Impossible Mining company

Featuring music by Dewey Dellay.