DOE Funds Carbon Capture, Hydrogen, Wind Projects
The U.S. Department of Energy’s latest funding announcements include carbon capture and storage, hydrogen fuel cells, and wind turbines.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently unveiled three new funding announcements related to carbon management, hydrogen fuel cells, and wind turbine materials. The trio of programs tops $208 million—the latest batch of federal funding aimed at the renewable energy sector.
Carbon Capture and Storage
The news item with the largest price tag in this roundup is the DOE’s $131 million funding rollout to 33 research and development projects focusing on capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, power plants, or industrial facilities. It also funds projects to assess potential CO2 storage sites for commercial use.
DOE is backing 33 research projects with $131 million in carbon capture and storage technology. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock
A sum of $93 million went to 11 projects focused on assessing onshore and offshore CO2 project sites within a commercial-scale storage complex. The recipients range from a project to store CO2 in basaltic rocks at a complex in Oregon, to one exploring storing CO2 from an ethanol production and dairy digester plant in California, to another project intending to build an offshore CO2 storage complex along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. The two projects receiving the most funding ($9 million each) are Texas’ Port of Corpus Christi Authority, exploring CO2 capture and onshore storage, and the University of North Dakota, testing the feasibility of a carbon storage hub with CO2 from gas-processing plants.
The remaining $38 million was distributed across 22 projects focused on capturing CO2 from utility/industrial sources or the atmosphere itself and transporting it to permanent geologic storage or reusing it in fuels, chemicals, and other products. The funding round also considered potential resources for storing CO2 as solid minerals.
The recipients span universities, research institutions, and private companies. Those receiving the most DOE funding ($3 million each) were North Carolina-based Susteon and Research Triangle Institute—both are working on integrated bench-scale direct air capture.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells
The DOE plans to award $47 million for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects focused on reducing the costs and improving the performance of hydrogen fuel cells, consistent with the DOE’s plan to cut the cost of hydrogen from renewable energy by 80% to $1 per kilogram, compared to today’s $5 per kilogram.
Hydrogen fuel cell. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock
Since hydrogen produces little to no emissions, it’s an area well suited to contribute to the Biden administration’s goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2035. Cost is a critical barrier in this market, though. Late last year, the DOE announced it would draw $750 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for clean hydrogen funding. This latest funding opportunity is part of that investment, administered through the DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office.
The program will fund research involving hydrogen delivery, storage systems, and fuel cells for heavy-duty trucks. The DOE plans to extend financial assistance awards via cooperative agreements.
Wind Turbine Materials
Another funding opportunity announcement topping $30 million aims to lower the cost of efficient wind turbine performance by supporting the domestic manufacturing of materials such as lightweight composites. This involves refining 3-D printing processes for prototyping and testing large wind blades and applying additive manufacturing with polymers, ceramics, metals, and composite systems to non-blade components, such as drivetrains or floating platforms for offshore wind.
Vestas wind turbine. Image used courtesy of Pixabay
To that end, the DOE is limiting its funding to three categories: additive manufacturing for large wind blades that expands on existing polymer-based processes; additive manufacturing and design/process integration for non-blade components; and meeting the remaining challenges of large wind blade manufacturing, construction/materials, and sustainability.
The awards are expected to extend for two to three years. Interested applicants can submit concept papers through March 23.