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The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO) announced renewed funding for the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Institute—one of DOE’s seven Manufacturing USA Institutes. The 5-year, $40-million investment will propel research, development, and demonstrations (RD&D) of advanced process technologies to enable more resilient, lower cost, and reduced energy and carbon footprint manufacturing in the process industries.

This includes the production of chemicals and fuels, which account for more than a third of all US industrial emissions and energy consumption.

RAPID’s work will rethink traditional unit operations by transitioning them to efficient, integrated processes via advanced reactors and separators that can utilize low carbon energy sources and sustainable feedstocks. Developing and deploying sustainable feedstocks are a key priority of DOE, and RAPID’s work will align with the Clean Fuels & Products Shot, the Energy Earthshot initiative focused on decarbonizing the chemicals supply chain by advancing cost-effective technologies that use alternative sources of carbon.

Phase two of RAPID will expand on the core competencies that the Institute has developed, improving centralized processing systems to enable flexible, distributed manufacturing and utilizing process intensification principles—including combining multiple process steps such as mixing, reaction, and separation into integrated, intensified processes—to reduce the emissions footprint of the process industries.

They will have a particular focus on difficult-to-decarbonize products, including specialty & performance chemicals, high-volume chemicals, sustainable aviation fuels/e-fuels, among others.

Intensified process approaches using technologies such as advanced reactors that significantly improve heat and mass transfer properties can unlock cost-competitive reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. RAPID’s work to reduce process heat demand will contribute to the Industrial Heat Shot, the Energy Earthshot™ initiative aimed at developing cost-competitive industrial heat decarbonization technologies with at least 85% lower GHG emissions by 2035.

DOE also announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) (DE-FOA-0003205) to release a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0003206) for $38 million to develop cross-sector technologies for the industrial sector. The funding opportunity will seek projects to further support the goals of the Industrial Heat Shot and the DOE Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap by supporting high-impact, applied RD&D projects to advance the transformational cross-sector technologies and innovations required to reduce energy use and GHG emissions across the industrial sector.

Topics of the funding opportunity will include electrification of industrial heat, next-generation energy systems, and decarbonizing organic wastewater and wet waste treatment.

Launched in 2017 by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), RAPID has exceeded its goals to date, with more than a 20% increase in energy efficiency across multiple technologies, generating more than 240 peer-reviewed publications and more ethan 20 inventions. RAPID has grown its membership to more than 80 organizations across industry, small businesses, academia, and national laboratories.

Phase one also saw more than 7,400 undergraduate and graduate students trained, as well as 3,600 current workers. The second phase of the Institute will continue to leverage the Institute’s collaborative innovation ecosystem to address industry challenges through pre-competitive research and train the current and future workforce to re-think conventional processes.


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