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DOE to award $89M for innovative manufacturing technologies

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced $89 million to support innovative, advanced manufacturing research and development projects (DE-FOA-0001980). This Department of Energy (DOE) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) tackles key priorities such as domestic manufacturing for energy storage.

US manufacturers have created almost 500,000 jobs since 2017 and more than 250,000 jobs in the last year alone. The manufacturing sector also uses 25% of the nation’s energy.

The FOA requests proposals in three areas that will improve the global competitiveness of the US by catalyzing innovation around manufacturing of key energy technologies and by reducing industrial process energy intensity.

Topic 1 - Innovations for the Manufacture of Advanced Materials: Focuses on employing machine learning to develop better batteries, phase change storage materials for heating and cooling applications, and new semiconductors that convert temperature differences into electricity. A key focus is developing and scaling new, low-cost manufacturing processes to catalyze increased domestic battery manufacturing for vehicle and stationary applications.

Specific subtopics include:

  • Accelerate the Manufacturing Process Design and Development Cycle for Advanced Energy Conversion and Storage Materials

  • Innovative Manufacturing Processes for Battery Energy Storage

  • Materials and Manufacturing Process Development of Nanocrystalline Metal Alloys

  • Process-Informed Science, Design, and Engineering of Materials and Devices Operating in Harsh Service Conditions

Topic 2 - Lower Thermal Budget Processes for Industrial Efficiency & Productivity: With 70% of all process energy use related to heating, this topic focuses on novel research on industrial process drying technologies that increase energy efficiency throughput and product quality. It also seeks new ideas on process intensification to reduce overall heating energy.

Specific subtopics include:

  • Advances in Industrial and Process Drying

  • Thermal Process Intensification

Topic 3 - Connected, Flexible and Efficient Manufacturing Facilities and Energy Systems: With recent advances in new, wide-bandgap semiconductors supported by DOE, this topic seeks application of more efficient industrial power conversion equipment and new opportunities for converting process energy to electrical energy and better integrating it with the electrical grid. It also seeks advancements in combined heat and power that result in higher electrical efficiencies.

Specific subtopics include:

  • Medium-Voltage Power Conditioning Systems to Enable Grid-Dispatchable and Resilient Manufacturing Facilities

  • High Power to Heat Ratio, High Efficiency Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

  • Verification and Validation of CHP and District Energy

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office will lead this initiative. DOE anticipates making up to 55 awards for up to three years. A cost-share of at least 20% will be required for research and development projects.

This FOA follows on Secretary Perry’s 26 March 2019 announcement calling for proposals to address cybersecurity for energy efficient manufacturing. Up to $70 million, subject to appropriations, is available for the Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

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