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DOE to award $35M to 24 projects to support early-stage, innovative technologies and solutions in advanced manufacturing

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 U.S. 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.

Advanced Manufacturing Awards
Organization Summary DOE Funding
AK Steel Corporation AK Steel Corporation’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. $1,231,300
Argonne National Laboratory Argonne National Laboratory’s team will develop an advanced catalyst for polypropylene (a widely used polymer in consumer and industrial products) synthesis that outperforms conventional catalysts. The team will apply atomic layer deposition technology to fabricate and modify the catalyst at the atomic level, with the goal of more than doubling catalyst lifetime, improving selectivity and conversion efficiency at reduced costs. $1,600,000
Bio2Electric, LLC d.b.a. EcoCatalytic Technologies Bio2Electric’s project will demonstrate a novel conversion process to produce ethylene (a widely used commodity chemical) from natural gas, with the goal of reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower reactor capital and lower operating expense compared to current industry practice. $2,000,000
Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois The University of Illinois will conduct research to develop a composite plastic heat exchanger for a low temperature gas streams common in industry. The project will demonstrate an inexpensive and modular heat exchanger that can recover heat from a typical simulated flue gas stream that will be resistant to corrosion compared to traditional metallic heat exchangers and provide greater heat recovery than comparable all-plastic heat exchanger designs. $1,000,000
Boston Electrometallurgical Corporation Boston Electrometallurgical Corporation will employ support from the US Steel industry to accelerate the development of molten oxide electrolysis (MOE), a new technology for production of primary iron and steel from ore. MOE promises large savings in energy and carbon dioxide emissions as compared to existing technologies for producing primary iron and steel. $2,000,000
Colorado State University Colorado State University will develop a novel, low-cost turbo-compression cooling system that utilizes the ultra-low-grade waste (less than 150°C) heat available in many industrial processes, the energy from which is not traditionally recovered. $1,882,881
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute The Dana Farber project team will design and build billions of first-of-their-kind molecular 2D printers, that are atomically precise, and which could produce trillions of atomically precise products to advance atomically precise manufacturing. $1,215,204
Energy & Environmental Research Center Energy & Environmental Research Center’s project seeks to develop a modular, scalable, electrochemical ammonia production process as an alternative to traditional energy intensive ammonia production processes. The project includes development of a polymer–inorganic composite high-temperature proton exchange membrane, which is critical to meeting the project’s 16% energy reduction target. $2,497,983
FeNix Magnetics, Inc. FeNix Magnetics will develop an advanced fluidized bed reactor technology for the large scale production of rare earth element free magnetic material for clean energy applications. These magnetic powders will enable lower cost and energy efficient magnetic refrigeration and HVAC chillers, as well as other clean energy applications such as electric vehicle motors and wind turbine generators. $798,624
Idaho National Laboratory Idaho National Lab will be conducting research to develop a new pathway to produce hydrocarbon feedstocks and fuels from ethane via an electrochemical process, as well as generating hydrogen. For ethylene production, the new process has the potential to reduce process energy by 65% over traditional steam cracking technologies. $1,000,000
Iowa State University Iowa State University’s goal for this project is to develop open source software tools for simulating non-equilibrium autothermal processes, to improve prospects for identifying and designing these systems. The project will focus on pyrolysis of biomass as an initial example to demonstrate the open source software framework for the analysis of autothermal processes in gas-solid fluidized beds. This software will also be extendable to other processing of gas-solid reactions, and potentially multiphase processes, due its broad potential reach in the chemical industry. $854,039
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s project will optimize the performance of copper-based catalysts by improving the energy efficiency and selectivity of these catalysts to convert carbon dioxide, an industrial waste product, into methane, a versatile fuel that is readily integrated into efforts to fuel vehicles and power plants. $1,000,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will develop a direct production process for copper wire, using molten sulfide electrolysis as a replacement for the traditional pyro-metallurgical process. The energy savings impacts are expected to be significant, as this process would potentially use 50% less energy and result in an increase in productivity for copper production. $1,893,941
Michigan State University Michigan State University proposes to develop a hybrid surface engineering technology that combines the advantages of a novel, ultrafast, environmentally friendly, corrosion resistant, and mechanically supporting boriding process with the next generation of superhard wear resistant and low friction carbon coatings. The proposed technology could have substantial economic and environmental impact in applications such as automotive powertrains, industrial turbines and machinery and tooling in many industries. $800,000
Saint-Gobain Ceramics and Plastics, Inc. Saint-Gobain’s project will develop a simultaneous multilayer roll-to-roll process platform that consolidates multiple layer manufacturing steps into fewer concurrent steps. The project targets lower cost and energy consumption, higher performance and reliability, and a reduced manufacturing footprint of multilayer particulate films including fuel cells, batteries, photovoltaics, and capacitors. $822,357
Solar Turbines Incorporated Solar Turbines Incorporated will be developing turbine blade coatings that will improve durability and erosion resistance, and reduce the need for blade cooling. These improvements are expected to lead to lower emissions and increased turbine efficiency. $2,400,000
Starfire Industries LLC Starfire will be developing novel material coatings using an innovative atmospheric cold plasma jet for corrosion protection, wear resistance and improved bonding strength. The initial application is to improve adhesive joint performance in lightweight vehicle construction. This technology has broad applicability for material bonding subject to harsh environmental exposure and load conditions in areas including aerospace, marine, ground vehicles, and performance consumer goods. $800,000
Temple University Temple University will design atomically precise structures using their unique molecular building blocks and software design tools to boost the reaction rate in polyester production, significantly improving energy efficiency in the chemical process industry. $795,834
United Technologies Research Center United Technologies Research Center will develop a high temperature, high strength, and low-cost heat exchanger technology made from a novel glass-ceramic matrix composite material system. The technology will allow for longer operational life over traditional heat exchange technologies in a wide range of harsh service environments. $1,499,448
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) The UCLA-led team will 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. $1,000,000
University of Maryland The University of Maryland project aims to improve the balance of electrical-mechanical-thermal properties in materials for electrical wiring, contributing to a future reduction in material usage and energy waste in the nation’s transmission-line networks and in microchips. These new materials could be used to make conductors for power lines with higher strength and higher current carrying capacity and interconnects with longer lifetime in microelectronics. $2,089,647
University of Texas at Dallas University of Texas at Dallas project team aims to increase the operating speed of molecular assembler microscope tips by a factor of 100 to 1000 times using high-precision engineering and microfabrication technologies to advance atomically precise manufacturing for a wide range of clean energy applications. $2,417,938
Yale University Yale University’s project is to enable practical energy generation from waste heat using pyroelectric materials with high efficiency and at low cost. Pyroelectric materials can generate a voltage when heated or cooled, and conversion of waste heat to usable energy will have broad impact in industry. $960,000
Zyvex Labs, LLC The Zyvex team will create and test atomically precise materials in two dimensions using a Scanning Tunneling Microscope that can pull individual hydrogen atoms out of a surface and a coating procedure to substitute other atoms in their place. This project will significantly advance atomically precise manufacturing for applications such as quantum computing and nanoelectronic computing devices. $2,457,452


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