The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded more than $540 million for university- and National Laboratory-led research into clean energy technologies and low-carbon manufacturing. Most greenhouse-gas emissions come from the production and use of energy, so building strong scientific foundations for reducing emissions across the energy lifecycle is crucial to meeting President Biden’s goal of creating a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
“Meeting the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals will require a game-changing commitment to clean energy – and that begins with researchers across the country,” says US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The research projects announced will strengthen the scientific foundations needed for the United States to maintain world leadership in clean energy innovation, from renewable power to carbon management.”
Secretary Granholm traveled to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. to announce the awards, which include researchers at 54 universities and 11 National Laboratories across 34 states and the District of Columbia.
Other institutions receiving funding include Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo.; the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder); and Ames National Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
“Renewable energy research and technology will allow for a more resilient future while creating good-paying jobs in Ohio,” states US Senator Sherrod Brown (OH). “Case Western Reserve University is one of Ohio’s great institutions of higher education. This award will continue Ohio’s leadership in innovation and position our state to lead in the industries of the future.”
More than $400 million will go toward establishing and continuing 43 Energy Frontier Research Centers, which bring together multi-disciplinary scientific teams to tackle the toughest scientific challenges preventing advances in energy technologies. The projects, led by 28 universities and nine National Laboratories with more than 75 additional partner institutions, will study everything from energy storage to quantum information science.
“I’m excited to see this nearly $1.5 million award heading to Dartmouth to invest in cutting-edge scientific research around commercial solar technologies,” adds US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH). “This research will help position the US to transition to a clean energy economy and net zero carbon emissions. Time is of the essence to combat the climate crisis, and New Hampshire continues to lead in innovative clean technologies and solutions.”
In addition, 53 projects led by researchers at 33 universities and 11 National Laboratories will receive a combined $140 million through the Chemical and Materials Sciences to Advance Clean Energy Technologies and Low-Carbon Manufacturing funding opportunity. The funding will go toward fundamental research that could advance technologies to make energy production more efficient through technologies such as direct air capture and carbon storage and sequestration.
“NREL and CU Boulder, among others, continue to lead our nation in their cutting-edge research and development of a variety of clean energy technologies and low-carbon manufacturing,” comments US Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-7). “Their work is essential in the fight to combat climate change and achieve important climate and clean energy goals in the future.”
Several projects will involve basic research underpinning DOE’s Energy Earthshots Initiatives, which set goals for significant improvements in clean energy technology. The Energy Earthshots Initiatives include the Hydrogen Shot, which aims to decrease the cost of producing hydrogen; the Long Duration Storage Shot, whose goal is to reduce the cost and increase the duration of grid-scale energy storage; and the Carbon Negative Shot, an all-hands-on-deck call for innovation in technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it at gigaton scales for less than $100/net metric ton of CO2-equivalent.
“The Ames Lab at Iowa State University is at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies to make our country energy independent again and lower carbon emissions while also strengthening our economy and Bolstering our thriving energy industry in Iowa,” mentions US Representative Randy Feenstra (IA). -4). “I am excited that the Ames Lab has been awarded this significant DOE grant that will allow students and researchers alike to continue their important work in fields like renewable energy and domestic manufacturing. I look forward to all that ISU and the Ames Lab will achieve thanks to this significant investment.”
These investments will support research that is foundational to the development of solar and nuclear energy technologies, energy storage, carbon capture, novel manufacturing processes, and the more efficient use of critical minerals in energy technologies and manufacturing. Legislation spearheaded by President Biden – the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act – will enhance this work by investing in these types of clean energy technologies and building out the infrastructure to deploy them.
Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under two funding opportunities open to universities, national laboratories, industry and other research organizations. Award selections were made in accordance with the outcome of peer review and the consideration of program policy factors in the Funding Opportunity Announcements. The final details for each project award are subject to negotiations between the DOE and the awardees.
The lists of the awards from these two funding opportunities, supported by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences within the Department’s Office of Science, can be found here.