|July 1, 2021|
Secretary Of Energy Granholm Launches Initiative To Address Net-Zero Economy Goals
On June 7, 2021, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm launched the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Earthshots Initiative, designed to accelerate innovation of abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions within the next ten years. Secretary Granholm stated that the first Energy Earthshot will be the Hydrogen Shot, which sets an ambitious yet achievable cost target to accelerate innovations and spur demand of clean hydrogen.” The Hydrogen Shot aims to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80 percent to $1 per kilogram (kg) while also creating more clean energy jobs. Currently, clean hydrogen costs approximately $5 per kg. This initiative will drive program development across DOE’s science and applied energy offices, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
DOE’s Hydrogen Program issued a Request for Information (RFI) on viable hydrogen demonstrations that can help to lower the cost of hydrogen, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and provide benefits to disadvantaged communities. Topics for the RFI include:
- Hydrogen Production, Resources, and Infrastructure;
- End Users for Hydrogen Based on Specific Regions, Cost, and Value Propositions;
- Greenhouse Gas and Other Pollutant Emissions Reduction Potential;
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Jobs, and Environmental Justice; and
- Science and Innovation Needs and Challenges.
RFI responses are due on July 7, 2021, by 5:00 p.m. (EDT). Additional information about the RFI is available here.
U.S., Denmark, And Norway Join Forces In Effort To Achieve Zero-Emission Shipping
On June 2, 2021, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that the United States, Denmark, and Norway joined forces with the Global Maritime Forum and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping to lead a new Zero-Emission Shipping Mission. This effort is part of Mission Innovation, “a global initiative to catalyze action and investment in research, development and demonstration to make clean energy affordable, attractive and accessible to all this decade.” Supported by the governments of India, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Singapore, France, Ghana, and South Korea, Mission Innovation aims to accelerate the Paris Agreement progress toward net zero emissions. According to DOE’s EERE, international maritime shipping represents approximately two to three percent of the world’s total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Without addressing these emissions from maritime shipping, emissions could increase anywhere between 50 and 250 percent by 2050. Therefore, the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission aims to:
- Develop, demonstrate, and deploy zero-emission fuels, ships, and fuel infrastructure across the value chain;
- Ensure that by 2030, ships capable of running on hydrogen-based zero-emission fuels, such as green hydrogen, green ammonia, green methanol, and biofuels, make up at least five percent of the global deep-sea fleet measured by fuel consumption; and
- Ensure that by 2030, at least 200 of these zero-emission fueled ships are in service and using these fuels across their main deep-sea shipping routes.
266 Small Business Projects Awarded Funding To Develop Clean Energy And Climate Solutions
On June 9, 2021, DOE announced that 235 U.S. small businesses will receive $54 million in critical seed funding for 266 projects focused on developing and deploying novel technology solutions that contribute to the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Administered by DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, selected projects include:
- Grid-smart building controls;
- Solving laser distortions; and
- Workforce development and experiential bioenergy.
The class of awardees is designing new solutions to U.S. energy needs through carbon capture and storage, electric vehicle batteries, and solar and hydrogen power, among other types of energy. Additional information about the selected projects is available here.
As part of its announcement, DOE released an Inclusive Innovation RFI to ensure that funding opportunities and innovation activities are more inclusive. More information on the RFI is available here. The deadline for full application submission is August 6, 2021.
Winners Of The 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Announced
On June 15, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced and recognized the winners of the 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. According to EPA’s announcement, this year’s winners have developed new and innovative green chemistry technologies that provide solutions to significant environmental challenges and spur innovation. The announcement was made during the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. Co-sponsored by EPA and ACS, the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Further details are available here.
EERE Holds Webinar On EERE FY22 Budget Request For Renewable Power
On June 17, 2021, DOE’s EERE hosted a webinar with EERE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Renewable Power, Alejandro Moreno. The webinar covered activities, programs, and initiatives proposed in EERE’s budget request. EERE requested $4.7 billion in an effort to lead the transition of the national economy into a 100 percent clean energy economy. DAS Moreno was joined by several directors from EERE’s Renewable Power Technology pillar:
- Becca Jones-Albertus, Director, Solar Energy Technologies Office;
- Jennifer Garson, Acting Director, Water Power Technologies Office;
- Susan Hamm, Director, Geothermal Technologies Office; and
- Robert Marlay, Director, Wind Energy Technologies Office.
EERE will host two additional webinars on the FY22 budget request for the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Transportation pillars.
DOE Announces Dates For National SBIR Week
On June 28, 2021, DOE announced the dates of the 2021 SBIR Week. The virtual event is scheduled for July 19, 2021, through July 23, 2021, and aims to connect entrepreneurs working on advanced technologies to the United States’ largest source of early-stage funding: DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs. The SBIR and STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, provide more than $4 billion annually in funding to small businesses developing new technologies.
The 2021 SBIR Week will include live-streaming panels and presentations with federal agencies that administer new awards. Participants will have an opportunity to meet with DOE Office of SBIR/STTR Programs staff on an individual basis or in roundtable discussions. DOE Office of SBIR/STTR Programs available staff will include:
- Eileen Chant, Outreach Program Manager;
- Carl Hebron, Program Coordinator; and
- Manny Oliver, Director.
Registration is required and open to innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and small technology businesses.
ORNL Uncovers Greener Method To Recycle Lithium-Ion Batteries
On June 1, 2021, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced that its scientists have developed a novel solvent that results in a more efficient process to recover valuable materials from used lithium-ion batteries. According to ORNL’s press release, this new method supports a stable domestic supply chain for new batteries and keeps old ones out of landfills.
Currently, the recycling process of batteries involves smelting, which is an expensive, energy-intensive process that releases toxic gas. This new process developed by ORNL, however, recovers cathode materials and aluminum foils from lithium-ion batteries using a less hazardous solvent. It is a wet chemical process that uses triethyl phosphate to dissolve the binder material that adheres cathodes to metal foil. This process results in efficient recovery of cobalt-based cathodes and graphite, among other valuable materials, such as copper foils, that can be reused in new batteries. ORNL’s Ilias Belharouak stated that, in addition to repurposing materials, the new process reduces toxic exposure for workers. The full publication of ORNL’s study is available here.
|•||Phys.org, “Bioeconomy: Taking Microbes Out of Dark and Into the Light”|
|•||argus media, “New Zealand Proposes New Biofuels Targets”|
|•||ScienceDirect, “Biorefinery Potential of Sustainable Municipal Wastewater Treatment Using Fast-Growing Willow”|
|•||S&P Global, “U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court’s Small Refinery Exemption Decision”|
|•||Successful Farming, “Rebuffed in Court, Ethanol Makers Look to EPA to Limit RFS Exemptions”|
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