The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On August 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a request for information (RFI) on advances in components, systems, and products that can withstand harsh environments and extended service lifetimes. According to DOE, equipment used in the American energy sector often encounters material stability and durability challenges due to high-temperature, corrosive, oxidizing, mechanically wearing, embrittling, and thermal cycling. Consequently, these challenges present constraints to the implementation of energy-efficient, cost-effective, and high-performance products and processes.

DOE’s RFI seeks input on accelerated research, development, and deployment; testing and qualification methods; and cost-effective manufacturing routes for materials designed to operate under the circumstances outlined below:

  • Corrosive environments;
     
  • Very high temperature environments;
     
  • High mechanical wear/stress conditions;
     
  • Alloy embrittlement conditions; and
     
  • Other extreme conditions, such as extreme cryogenic conditions.
     

Responses to the RFI must be submitted on or prior to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on September 21, 2020. The full submission guidelines can be accessed here.

Tags: DOE, EERE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On August 17, 2020, DOE’s Reducing EMbodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Manufacturing Institute announced the availability of approximately $35 million in support of research and development (R&D) that will enable U.S. manufacturers to increase the recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing of plastics, metals, electronic waste, and fibers. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies by supporting high-impact R&D for plastics.

DOE issued a request for proposal (RFP) under this FOA for projects in two areas: transformational R&D and traditional R&D. The full RFP can be accessed here. Letters of intent and project abstracts are due September 14, 2020.

The Deputy Secretary of Energy, Mark W. Menezes, commented on the FOA, stating: “The Trump Administration is committed to advancing innovative reuse and remanufacturing technologies, including advanced plastic recycling technologies, and the development of new plastics that are recyclable by design. Through the Plastics Innovation Challenge, and in partnership with REMADE, DOE is proud to take part in the development of new technologies that strengthen the U.S. manufacturing ecosystem.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On August 12, 2020, DOE issued an RFI to obtain industry, academia, and research community input on DOE’s hydrogen and fuel cells R&D and demonstration activities and strategies, including its H2@Scale initiative. DOE hopes that feedback received will help its Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office’s (HFTO) research priorities and goals to ensure that they address current and future needs of the hydrogen and fuel cells industry. The information will also help HFTO to guide the work being conducted through National Laboratory consortia launched to focus on challenges specific to electrolyzers and heavy-duty fuel cell applications. RFI topics include: H2@Scale; R&D priorities; near-, medium-, and long-term strategy; and approaches to foster collaboration. Responses must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on September 15, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On July 20, 2020, DOE announced that approximately $64 Million in funding for 18 projects to advance the H2@Scale vision. H2@Scale is a concept that explores the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resiliency of the power generation and transmission sectors while aligning diverse domestic industries, competitiveness, and job creation. Funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), the 18 selected projects will advance hydrogen storage and infrastructure technologies.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson 

On July 31, 2020, DOE announced more than $97 million in funding for 33 projects to support research and development (R&D) of high-impact technology to accelerate the U.S. bioeconomy. The aim is for the selected projects to improve the performance and lower the cost and risk of technologies that can be used to produce biopower, biofuels, and bioproducts from biomass and waste resources. Selected projects will address the following R&D areas:

  • Scale-up of bench applications to reduce scale-up risks for biofuel and bioproduct processes;
  • Waste-to-energy strategies, including strategies for municipal solid waste; wet wastes, like food and manures; and municipal wastewater treatment;
  • Cost reduction of algal biofuels by improving carbon efficiency and by employing direct air capture technologies;
  • Quantification of the economic and environmental benefits associated with growing energy crops, focusing on restoring water quality and soil health;
  • Development and testing of low-emission, high-efficiency residential wood heaters;
  • Innovative technologies to manage major forms of urban and suburban waste, with a focus on using plastic waste to make recycled products and using wastes to produce low-cost biopower; and
  • Scalable carbon dioxide electrocatalysis technologies.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson 

On July 10, 2020, DOE EERE announced that it has selected eight projects totaling more than $5 million to conduct R&D needed to accelerate the U.S. biomanufacturing sector. These projects are a part of the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium and will leverage National Laboratory capabilities to address challenges in biomanufacturing. Each of these ABF selected projects has been invited to collaborate with National Laboratory research facilities to conduct their proposed research. The seed awards provide up to $500,000 in DOE funds to the laboratories for up to two years. Full awards, however, will receive up to $2 million for up to three years. The aim is for the projects to develop novel microbial hosts and bioproducts, use artificial intelligence and machine learning in synthetic biology, and address the problem of production heterogeneity in industrial microbiology. Each awardee has committed to a minimum of 20 percent cost-share contribution.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson 

On July 13, 2020, DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs Office (SBIR/STTR Programs Office) issued topics for its FY 2021 SBIR/STTS Phase I Release 1 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The topics are available online. DOE participating program offices include the Office of Science’s (SC) Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and Office of Nuclear Physics (NP). DOE SBIR/STTR will hold a webinar on August 14, 2020, to discuss the FOA and application process, as well as important changes to the SBIR and STTR programs for 2021. Important upcoming dates include:

  • August 31, 2020 – Letter of Intent (LOI) Due;
  • September 21, 2020 Non-responsive LOI Feedback Provided;
  • October 13, 2020 – Application Due;
  • January 4, 2021 – Award Notification; and
  • February 16, 2021 – Start of Grant Budget Period.

The 2021 important dates are subject to change.

Tags: DOE, SBIR, STTR

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson 

On July 14, 2020, DOE EERE announced that it will fund approximately $53 million to 49 new SBIR and STTR R&D projects. The selected projects will receive Phase II Release 2 grants for principal R&D efforts based on the technical feasibility demonstrated in Phase I projects. Phase II awards range up to $1,500,000 for two years. Further information about the awardees can be found here.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 29, 2020, the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) published a request for information (RFI) on challenges and opportunities in the up- and mid-stream critical materials battery supply chains. As demand for critical materials such as lithium and cobalt for the manufacturing of batteries continues to grow, DOE is seeking ways to reduce U.S. dependence on critical materials. According to DOE’s EERE, it will achieve this goal by reducing the amount of critical materials needed for battery production and recycling materials that are already in use. Consequently, the RFI is seeking input on the current state of the battery cathode materials supply chains, as well as opportunities for near-term and long-term research and development (R&D). Responses to the RFI must be submitted by July 31, 2020, and will be considered in the development of the R&D federal strategy.

DOE’s Assistant Secretary for EERE, Daniel R. Simmons, stated that “Innovation in our domestic industries and continued investment by DOE programs will help strengthen our country’s ability to manufacture and recycle these materials, and work toward more robust domestic supply chains.” His statement and the RFI itself are in response to President Donald J. Trumps’ Executive Order 13817, titled “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”

Tags: DOE, RFI, Battery

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On July 1, 2020, DOE’s EERE announced a request for proposals (RFP) for R&D projects that support DOE’s H2@Scale vision for large-scale, affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and utilization across various sectors. H2@Scale is an initiative focused on exploring the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resilience and sustainability of the power generation and transmission sectors. The initiative’s goal is to align diverse multibillion-dollar domestic industries with domestic competitiveness and job creation. The RFP comes from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO). Two areas of R&D are of particular interest to NREL and HFTO:

  • Advancing hydrogen fuel technologies for medium- and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles; and
  • Addressing technical barriers to hydrogen blending in natural gas.

HFTO will fund NREL services, staff time, and facilities necessary to support each selected project. Selected projects must include one or more National Laboratories and must include partners from one or more of the following: universities, industries, non-profits, associations, institutes, codes and standards organizations, or other relevant stakeholders. Proposals must be submitted on or prior to July 31, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).


 
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