[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Obama Administration launches $200M competition for three new manufacturing innovation institutes; WBG power electronics, lightweight metals and digital manufacturing
May 09, 2013
The Obama Administration is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The effort is part of President Obama’s proposed $1-billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country. (Earlier post.)
The Department of Energy will lead one of the new institutes on “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing” for wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) (DE-FOA-0000683). The Department of Defense will lead the other two, focused on “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing” and “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation”.
US DOE to award up to $20M for research on methane hydrates
May 08, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory has issued a solicitation (DE-FOA-0000891) for up to $20 million in funding for projects that focus on the following three technical topic areas: (1) characterization of methane hydrate deposits; (2) response of methane hydrate reservoirs to induced environmental change; and (3) response of methane hydrate systems to natural environmental change.
Selected projects will be intended to support program goals to determine the (1) likelihood of methane hydrates as a potential energy resource and (2) their role in the natural environment. The objective of the program is to fund research that significantly advances the current state of knowledge or technology with respect to methane hydrate science.
DOE launches Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative; awards $23.5M to 5 more manufacturing R&D projects
March 26, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), which will focus on growing US manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting US competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity. The initiative includes private sector partnerships, new funding from the Department, and enhanced analysis of the clean energy manufacturing supply chain that will guide DOE’s future funding decisions.
As a part of its increased focus on manufacturing research and development, DOE also awarded $23.5 million to 5 innovative manufacturing research and development projects. This new funding for advanced manufacturing—as well as the $54 million invested in 13 projects during the first round of selections in June of 2012 (earlier post)—is to serve as a ground floor investment in CEMI.
California Energy Commission awards more than $5.5M for green transportation projects and $1.8M for 20 energy research projects
March 21, 2013
The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $5,580,773 for clean-energy transportation projects including biodiesel production, power control electronics for medium-and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, and buydowns for propane vehicles. The awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
In addition, CEC awarded $1,815,274 to fund 20 energy research projects in the areas of transportation, electricity, and natural gas. Funds for these projects—which span areas as diverse as a new crossover valve for the split-cycle Tour Engine (earlier post) to a new solar thermal storage device capable of integration with utility scale solar thermal power plants—come from Commission’s Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) program.
President Obama calls on Congress to establish $2B Energy Security Trust for advanced transportation research, funded by oil and gas royalty revenues
March 15, 2013
|Click to enlarge.|
In an speech at Argonne National Laboratory today, President Obama called on Congress to establish a new Energy Security Trust (EST) to invest in critical, breakthrough research focused on developing cost-effective transportation alternatives. The President had referenced the concept of the EST during his State of the Union address earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The President’s proposal sets aside $2 billion over 10 years and will support research into a range of technologies such as advanced electrified vehicles, biofuels, fuel cells, and domestically produced natural gas. The mandatory funds would be set aside from royalty revenues generated by oil and gas development in Federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), already included in the administration’s five-year plan.
DOE seeking comment on draft $50M solicitation for new projects over 11 areas of interest to improve vehicle performance and decrease fuel consumption
February 02, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technology Program is seeking public comment on the draft of an upcoming solicitation (DE-FOA-0000793) totaling more than $50 million for new research projects that will develop advanced technologies to improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. As part of the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between DOE and the Department of the Army, the Army plans to contribute $3.5 million in co-funding for several areas where there are joint development opportunities. The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will release the final version after a period of public comment and revision. The FOA contains a total of 11 areas of interest (AOIs) in the general areas of advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; and fuels and lubricants. Specific AOIs are:
California Energy Commission to award up to $3M for advanced natural gas engine R&D for Class 3–7 vehicles
December 11, 2012
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has issued a funding notice (PON-12-504) for advanced natural gas engine research and development concepts for light heavy-duty vehicles (LHDV) and medium heavy-duty vehicles (MHDV) (Classes 3–7) operated in fleets throughout California.
There is $3 million available from this PON, with the possibility of additional funding from related program sources. The Energy Commission anticipates selecting at least three projects for funding.
DOE to award $120M to team led by Argonne National Lab for joint research hub on batteries and energy storage; 5-5-5 goal
November 30, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. (Earlier post.) The award, based on results, is renewable for another 5 years.
The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the R&D capabilities of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance, targeting electric and hybrid cars and the electricity grid. The goal, said Eric Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory, is “5-5-5. We will develop batteries that are five times more powerful and five times cheaper within 5 years. Factors of five are what we need to transform transportation and the power grid.”
Nissan and Tsinghua University’s Suzhou Automotive Research Institute sign MOU on cooperative research
November 29, 2012
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Suzhou Automobile Research Institute at Tsinghua University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in which the two parties have agreed to promote a cooperative effort regarding the research of future automotive technology. Aiming to solidify the strategic joint research efforts between Nissan and Tsinghua University, the agreement includes a mutual personnel exchange program designed to take advantage of both parties’ strengths.
While China has grown to become the largest automobile market in the world, Nissan aspires to create and contribute new ideas to the future of its mobility society. In order for Nissan to accomplish this goal, the company believes it needs a strong local partner to aid in the understanding and research of the unique challenges China poses, especially for advanced technologies.
GM looking to combination of internal R&D and external investments for new technology; focus on five key areas; the importance of generational change
November 20, 2012
General Motors is leveraging two separate organizations—its internal R&D group and the recently formed GM Ventures—to accelerate innovation and to introduce new technology to keep the company on the forefront of the technology revolution now taking place in the automotive industry, according to John Lauckner, GM’s Chief Technology Officer; Vice President, Global Research & Development; and President, GM Ventures.
During a talk at the recent Electrification Experience symposium (earlier post), Lauckner briefly outlined GM’s efforts to leverage three sources of technology: technology developed in house, through R&D or advanced engineering; technology from outside the company from startups; and technology from suppliers and engineering firms. GM is focusing on five key areas, Lauckner said:
Audi’s €36M e performance research project closes; electric F12 e Sport with split voltage battery packs and 3 motors
October 16, 2012
|The F12 electric sports car research vehicle looks like an R8 but features a new electric powertrain. Click to enlarge.|
Audi’s e performance research project has wrapped up. (Earlier post.) In addition to the development of a technology platform for electromobility and a drivable F12 e Sport research car, the three-year, €36-million (US$47-million) project spawned 20 degree theses and 50 doctoral theses.
Audi—collaborating with Bosch, RWTH Aachen University, and others— launched the e performance project at the Audi Electronics Venture GmbH (AEV) on 1 October 2009 with the objective of developing a scalable systems architecture for electric-powered cars that also included a plug-in hybrid drive. The platform was intended to be suitable for use in everything from a sports car (“e Sport”) to a sedan to a city car.
DOE awards $62.5M to accelerate development of exascale supercomputers
August 07, 2012
Under an initiative called FastForward, the Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have awarded $62.5 million in research and development (R&D) contracts to five leading companies in high performance computing to accelerate the development of next-generation exascale supercomputers critical for national defense, scientific research, energy security, and economic competitiveness.
AMD, IBM, Intel, Nvidia and Whamcloud received awards to advance “extreme scale” computing technology with the goal of funding innovative R&D of critical technologies needed to deliver next generation capabilities within a reasonable energy footprint. DOE missions require exascale systems that operate at quintillions of floating point operations per second. (Earlier post.)
China publishes plan to boost fuel-efficient and new energy vehicles and domestic auto industry; targeting 500K PHEVs and EVs in 2015, rising to 2M by 2020
July 09, 2012
China’s State Council has published a plan to develop the domestic energy-saving and new energy vehicle industry, which includes battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. The central government’s plan, posted on its website, is targeting the production of 500,000 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2015, with output to grow to 2 million units of those types by 2020. China is targeting the cumulative production and sales of more than 5 million new energy vehicles, including fuel cell vehicles, by that time as well.
China has made progress with automotive energy-saving technologies over the past 10 years through implementing passenger car fuel consumption limits and the use of fiscal policy to encourage the purchase of small cars, the government statement noted. This progress includes advanced internal combustion engines; efficient transmissions; lightweight materials; and hybrid and other energy-saving technologies. Natural gas and other alternative fuel vehicle technology is basically mature, the government said, and is headed toward initial industrialization. However, generally speaking, the government continued, China has not achieved a breakthrough with new energy automobiles and core components of the key technologies.
U-M and Shanghai Jiao Tong University fund 6 energy and biomedical projects; batteries, policy and fuels
June 28, 2012
Six research teams from the University of Michigan (U-M) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) have won a share of $1.16 million in funding for renewable energy and biomedical technology projects in the third year of a joint program that teams up investigators from both schools.
The energy projects chosen seek to improve electric vehicle batteries, to model the impact of renewable energy policy on the economy and the environment, and to better understand the combustion biodiesel fuels. The healthcare technology efforts are aimed at finding natural therapeutic agents in China's ecosystem, improving the treatment of sepsis, and creating a base of information on enzyme activity that could aid the development of new therapies.The energy projects are:
EUCAR calls for targeted support for automotive initiatives in €80B Horizon 2020 program; targeting €5B budget
June 21, 2012
The European Council for Automotive R&D (EUCAR) is calling for a number of priority automotive research and innovation (R&I) initiatives in Europe’s Horizon 2020 program to support competitive and sustainable road transport and for these initiatives to be supported by a substantial €5-billion budget.
Horizon 2020 is the EU’s proposed €80-billion (US$100-billion) Framework Programme for Research & Innovation from 2014-2020. Rémi Bastien, Renault’s Senior Vice President of Research, Advanced Studies and Materials and 2012 Chairman of EUCAR, set out the association’s recommendations on Horizon 2020 to an audience of MEPs (Members of European Parliament) and stakeholders at a seminar in the European Parliament on 20 June.
Google’s technology campaign for autonomous driving
May 25, 2012
by Bill Cooke
Search engine giant Google is looking for partners within in the auto industry to help launch one of the most significant applications of artificial technology over the next several years, the self-driving car.
In a keynote address to the SAE 2012 World Congress on 25 April 2012, Anthony Levandowski, Business Lead for Google’s Self Driving Car Project provided an overview of Google’s autonomous vehicle program and requested that the auto industry partner with Google on the implementation. (Levandowski joined Google in 2007 to launch StreetView—Google Maps with Street View lets you explore places around the world through 360-degree street-level imagery.)