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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the launch of its Energy Materials Network (EMN), a new National Laboratory-led initiative that will give American entrepreneurs and manufacturers a leg up in the global race for clean energy. Leveraging $40 million in federal funding, EMN will focus on tackling one of the major barriers to widespread commercialization of clean energy technologies: the design, testing, and production of advanced materials. By strengthening and facilitating industry access to the unique scientific and technical advanced materials innovation resources available at DOE’s National Labs, the network will help bring these materials to market more quickly.
The network was launched at an event at the White House that was co-sponsored by DOE’sClean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the White House National Economic Council.
“Manufacturing better materials for clean energy products has the potential to revolutionize whole industries, but only a small fraction of the materials investigated in the laboratory currently make it to widespread market deployment,” said DOE Under Secretary Franklin (Lynn) Orr. “By bringing together American manufacturing expertise, academic leadership in discovering new materials, and the exceptional capabilities of DOE’s National Labs, the Energy Materials Network can spark a revolution in commercializing clean energy materials.”
“Through the Energy Materials Network, the National Labs and their partners will develop and apply cutting-edge new materials research tools that will allow us to dramatically accelerate clean energy materials discovery by doing things like using computers to search completely new parts of the periodic table at record speed and performing high-throughput experiments that synthesize and test thousands of materials at a time instead of just one or two,” said DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “This could be a true game-changer for accelerating cost reduction through innovation for a wide array of clean energy technologies all across the board.”
Under Secretary Orr and Assistant Secretary Danielson were joined at today’s event by Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The group addressed stakeholders to showcase the Energy Department’s focused efforts to accelerate advanced materials research and development (R&D).
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is providing the funding to establish EMN’s four initial National Laboratory-led consortia and solicit proposals for collaborative R&D projects with industry and academia.
Each EMN consortium will bring together National Labs, industry, and academia to focus on specific classes of materials aligned with industry’s most pressing challenges related to materials for clean energy technologies. For example:
One additional consortium focused on developing new materials to make solar photovoltaic modules more durable and cost-effective will be established later this year. In Fiscal Year 2017, more than $120 million in funding has been requested to continue to support an enduring network of capabilities in these areas and to launch three more consortia to investigate additional classes of advanced materials for clean energy (catalysts for biofuels and bioproducts, materials for renewable hydrogen production, and low-pressure, materials-based hydrogen storage), which together will transform the nation’s approach to advanced materials development.
Overall, the EMN consortia will form a network of advanced materials R&D capabilities and resources that will support the Administration’s commitment to revitalizing American manufacturing and maintaining a competitive edge in the clean energy economy. This effort supports the President’s Materials Genome Initiative, which is working to discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials twice as fast, at a fraction of the cost. EMN also supports the recommendations of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0, a White House-convened working group of leaders from industry, academia, and labor, which highlighted the importance of producing advanced materials for technologies critical to U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing.