Proposed Department of Energy Budget for 2009 Boosts Coal, Nuclear, Science and Biomass Programs; Reduces H2, Solar and Vehicle Technology Funding
The proposed budget for the US Department of Energy (DOE) in the President’s 2009 Budget outlines discretionary program spending of about $26 billion, up 3.2% from the estimated spending for FY 2008.
The proposed budget significantly boosts spending on coal and nuclear technologies and the DOE Science program, with a smaller increase for biomass and biorefinery R&D. However, funding within the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program is cut by 28%, down to $1.256 billion, with the reductions coming mainly from funding for hydrogen technology, solar energy, vehicle technologies, facilities and infrastructure, and the weatherization program.
Coal and carbon capture. Overall, the Fossil Energy Research and Development program’s funding jumps 25% to $997 million, the bulk of that coming from the President’s coal research initiative, which increases is funding by 41% to $818 million.
The budget allocates $400 million to research and $241 million to demonstrate technologies for cost-effective carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power plants through a restructured carbon capture and storage program. This is the “restructured” lower-cost FutureGen program. (Earlier post.)
Nuclear. The budget promotes licensing of new nuclear plants and researches an advanced nuclear fuel cycle. $242 million is allocated for Nuclear Power 2010, an industry cost-shared effort to bring new nuclear plant technologies to market and demonstrate streamlined regulatory processes. $302 million focuses the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative on innovative transmutation and separations research and development.
Science. The overall Science budget increases 18% to $4.7 billion, with increases in all major program activities. The Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program within the Science budget funding increases 13.6% to $568 million.
BER funds research in global climate change; environmental remediation; molecular, cellular, and systemic studies on the biological effects of radiation; structural biology; radiochemisty and instrumentation; and DNA sequencing. The program also supports science related to carbon sequestration.
The program works in conjunction with the advanced scientific computing research program to accelerate progress in coupled general circulation model development through use of enhanced computer simulation and modeling.
This program also includes the Genomics: GTL activity that is developing the science, technology, and knowledge base to harness microbial and plant systems for cost-effective renewable energy production, carbon sequestration, and environmental remediation. The request includes $75 million for Genomics: GTL Bioenergy Research Centers. Research at the Centers will focus on developing the science underpinning biofuel production.
Biomass and Biorefinery Systems R&D. Funding for this program which is part of the EERE activities, increases 8% to $225 million. This program funds research, development, and technology validation on advanced technologies that could enable future biorefineries to sustainably and economically convert cellulosic biomass to fuels, chemical, heat, and power. The program’s goal is to help make cellulosic ethanol cost competitive by 2012 using a wide array of regionally available biomass sources.
Hydrogen technology. Funding for the EERE hydrogen technology program drops 31% in the 09 Budget to $146 million. The hydrogen technology program is tasked with developing hydrogen production, storage, and delivery and fuel cell technologies. Current research aims to enable industry to commercialize a hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell vehicles by 2020.
Solar. Funding for the Solar America Initiative via EERE is cut 7.1% to $156 million in the 09 Budget.
Vehicle Technologies. Funding for the EERE Vehicle Technologies program is cut a slight 0.9% to $221 million. The Vehicle Technologies program supports the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership and the 21st Century Truck Partnership with industry. Program activities encompass a suite of technologies needed for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles, including lightweight materials, electronic power control and electric drive motors, and advanced energy storage devices.
This program also supports research to improve the efficiency of advanced combustion engines, using fuels with formulations developed for such engines, and incorporating non-petroleum based components.
The program also includes community-based outreach via Clean Cities coalitions, competitive awards, and other activities to facilitate the market adoption of alternative fuels and highly efficient automotive technologies.
Department of Energy 2009 Budget (President’s Budget 2009)