U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on June 11 announced more than $300 million worth of investments that will boost a range of clean energy technologies – including carbon capture from coal, solar power and high-efficiency cars and trucks. The move reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to a broad based strategy that will create millions of jobs while transforming the way we use and produce energy.
“There’s enormous potential for new jobs and reduced carbon pollution just by implementing existing technologies like energy efficiency and wind energy, but we also need to develop transformative new solutions,” said Secretary Chu. “As a scientist, I remain optimistic that these breakthroughs are within our reach, and investments like these are an important part of achieving them.”
Today’s actions include:
High-Efficiency Vehicles: Secretary Chu announced an investment of up to $240 million for the development of high-efficiency commercial and passenger vehicles. The funding includes approximately $110 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, combined with DOE annual appropriations. The funding solicitations are divided into two areas: system level technology development, integration, and demonstration for efficient Class 8 trucks; and advanced technology powertrains for light-duty vehicles. Class 8 trucks are defined as heavy-duty commercial trucks weighing over 33,000 pounds.
The goal of the first area is to increase vehicle freight efficiency by a total of 50 percent for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks. The projects receiving funding will focus on improving the efficiency of advanced engine technologies and vehicle system technologies, for instance by limiting aerodynamic drag, reducing vehicle weight and drivetrain hybridization, which uses two types of energy converters rather than just one.
Under the second program area, projects will work to advance the research and development of efficient engine and powertrain systems for passenger vehicles. For gasoline-fueled vehicles, these cost-competitive components will achieve at least a 25 percent fuel economy improvement compared to 2009 reference vehicles, while diesel-fueled vehicles will be able to attain at least a 40 percent improvement.
The complete FOA (number DE-FOA-0000079), can be viewed at www.grants.gov.
Solar Energy: Secretary Chu announced the selection of 24 new solar projects to advance photovoltaic (PV) technology research, development, and design – helping to lower the cost of PV generation. The competitively-selected projects will be eligible for up to $22 million from the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be matched by more than $50 million in cost shared funding from private partners.
The new projects range from development of automated assembly processes to semiconductor fabrication. They target manufacturing and product cost reduction with the potential to have a near-term impact on a substantial segment of the PV industry.
In addition, Secretary Chu announced today plans to invest up to $27 million to develop the nation’s solar installation training infrastructure. DOE will fund this effort using $5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as well as $22 million in annual appropriations.
This action by DOE, underscoring the Administration’s commitment to creating green jobs, ensures that a trained solar workforce is ready to support significant growth in renewable power generation – including installers, engineers, salespeople, and other workers entering the solar photovoltaic, solar heating, and solar cooling industries.
The funding opportunity includes two types of recipients:
· A single national organization that will facilitate the development and distribution of model training curricula, best practices in training, and information on solar career pathways.
· A select number of regional training providers that will offer solar instructors advanced courses on solar technologies, instructional design, and course development.
Carbon Capture and Storage: As part of the Administration’s commitment to develop technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Secretary Chu announced $11.3 million for nine projects that will develop pre-combustion carbon capture technologies that can reduce CO2 emissions in future coal-based integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants.
The June 11 funding opportunity announcement, “Pre-Combustion Carbon Capture Technologies for Coal-Based Gasification Plants” is from the FY2009 Budget.
Pre-combustion processes convert fuel into a gaseous mixture of hydrogen and CO2. The CO2 is then separated and the hydrogen can be burned without producing any CO2 in the exhaust gas. Compared with post-combustion processes, the pressure and concentration of CO2 in precombustion processes is relatively high – offering the potential to apply novel CO2 capture technologies such as membranes, solvents and sorbents.
The announcement is a direct investment in CCS-related infrastructure among electric power and industrial facilities, academic institutions and other organizations operating across the United States. The nine selected projects encompass three areas: high-temperature, high-pressure membranes; high-efficiency solvents; and solid sorbents.