Energy Dept. Under Secretary Announces $300M Transportation Research Initiative

U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary Mark Menezes grew up around the auto industry and told the crowd gathered at the 2020 Washington Auto Show’s Industry Media Day that he has always loved the feeling of the open road, true American technology and the freedom that is available to everyone. He said that he believes that the Department of Energy is devoted to the freedom that innovation yields and proudly stated that the U.S. is on of the top producers of oil and gas in the world, exporting LNG to 39 nations while our capacity is growing.

“The DOE provides $300 million in R&D funds for sustainable resources. Our Office of Energy Efficiency earmarks funds for advanced battery technology, alternative fuels and lightweight materials. Our Fuel Cell Technologies Office funds innovative methods of producing hydrogen as well as bio technologies. The Vehicles Technologies Office will release a Multi-Topic funding opportunity for up to $133 million. The topic areas within this FOA address priorities in advanced batteries and electrification; advanced engine and fuel technologies, including technologies for off-road applications; lightweight materials; new mobility technologies (energy efficient mobility systems), and alternative fuels technology demonstrations,” Under Secretary Menezes said.

Under Secretary Menezes also spoke about DOE’s Fuel Cells Technologies Office plan to release H2@Scale New Markets funding opportunity for up to $64 million. This investment will support innovative hydrogen concepts that will encourage market expansion and increase the scale of hydrogen production, storage, transport, and use, including heavy-duty trucks, data centers and steel production. In addition, the Bioenergy Technologies Office will issue a multi-topic funding opportunity for up to $100 million. These topic areas within this FOA support the U.S. bioeconomy by reducing the price of drop-in biofuels, lowering the cost of biopower, and enabling high-value products from biomass or waste resources.

The Under Secretary continued, “today I’m also pleased to announce a Memorandum of Understanding with the Electric Power Research Institute. This MOU will join our expertise and capabilities with EPRI’s research and development in electric vehicle and infrastructure technologies in order to further accelerate the development and deployment of innovative electronic transportation systems.”

“I’ve noted our work with EPRI and US DRIVE, and just last week, our Oak Ridge National Laboratory signed an agreement with the University of Tennessee and Volkswagen to create the company’s first innovation hub in North America. The hub will initially be focused on developing lighter vehicle components made from composites and the electrification of vehicles. In addition to our work in carbon composites, we’re doing a great deal of work with our partners in advanced manufacturing. This was a focus of one of our previous InnovationXLab Summits, and we’re striving to use our great strengths in supercomputing – the Department’s National Labs – which have the world’s two fastest supercomputers and four of the top ten – to take on tough manufacturing challenges that can be solved through computer modeling,” Under Secretary Menezes said.