This week, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $35 million for 24 projects to support early-stage, innovative technologies and solutions in advanced manufacturing. These projects were selected under an Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office funding opportunity, focused on advanced materials, advanced processes and modeling and analysis tools for materials and manufacturing.
This funding opportunity allows selected projects to perform early-stage research and development (R&D) of new, advanced manufacturing technologies as well as encourage R&D contributions from new partners. Successful projects will reduce technical uncertainty and develop new knowledge associated with potential breakthrough materials, processes, and tools for US manufacturers that could improve their competitiveness and enhance their energy efficiency.
The selected projects vary in levels of maturity and industry-readiness, from concept definition (focused on specific experimental proof or detailed analysis) to proof-of-concept (requiring physical experimental validation). As a result, proposed funding levels and project durations are tailored to the workscopes necessary to advance the technologies to the proposed readiness levels. Individual awards vary between $250,000 and $2.5 million.
This news comes the same week as the Trump administration announcing it wants to cut the budget for the EERE from $2 billion for this fiscal year to $575 million for the 2019 fiscal year.
Offices like the EERE conduct research on things like improving renewable energy technologies and energy efficiencies, and improving fuel efficiency in vehicles and developing alternative sources of transportation. Such research is often necessary because private enterprises can’t afford to allocate that capital.
Projects at a Glance
The selected projects are:
- AK Steel Corporation
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Bio2Electric, LLC d.b.a. EcoCatalytic Technologies
- Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
- Boston Electrometallurgical Corporation
- Colorado State University
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Energy & Environmental Research Center
- FeNix Magnetics, Inc.
- Idaho National Laboratory
- Iowa State University
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Michigan State University
- Saint-Gobain Ceramics and Plastics, Inc.
- Solar Turbines Incorporated
- Starfire Industries LLC
- Temple University
- United Technologies Research Center
- University of California: Los Angeles
- University of Maryland: College Park
- University of Texas at Dallas
- Yale University
- Zyvex Labs, LLC
Let’s take AK Steel Corporation, for example. With the DOE’s financial support, the company’s Research & Innovation Center will conduct alloy design, lab validation, manufacture, and testing of novel low-density steels that possess mechanical properties exhibited by currently available advanced high strength steels. These low-density steels are expected to generate energy savings by bringing efficiencies in the steel manufacturing and lifetime savings by use of lightweight steel in automotive structural applications.
UCLA, as another example, will use the funding to develop high performance atomically sharp tools to grab and position molecules in order to build atomically precise structures, providing a significant advance in atomically precise manufacturing for a wide range of clean energy applications.
See the full list of projects here.
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