DOE Funding Launch of Cybersecurity Institute for Energy Efficient Manufacturing

February 07, 2019 by Scott McMahan

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced their plan to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled, "Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute: Cybersecurity in Energy-Efficient Manufacturing."

This FOA launches a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute (referred to as the "Institute") to develop technologies that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, innovation, and energy efficiency. This Institute, the sixth one that the DOE has established, focuses on cybersecurity in manufacturing.

Specifically, the institute will seek understanding of the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, work to develop new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and share information and expertise to the wider community of U.S. manufacturers.

Similar to the existing Institutes that the DOE established, the new Institute will:

  • Conduct research leading to more energy-efficient manufacturing processes that are cyber-secure;
  • Bring together industry, universities and community colleges, states, localities, and nonprofits to accelerate manufacturing innovation in industry-relevant, cross-cutting technologies;
  • Provide education and training opportunities to build the skills of the American manufacturing workforce;
  • Be expected to continue to function and be fully independent of federal funds approximately 5 years after launch; and
  • Achieve specific goals unique to cyber-secure processes that enable greater manufacturing energy efficiency, tied to clear performance metrics.

"As the sector-specific agency for cybersecurity in the energy sector, it is our job to make sure energy technologies across the board are best prepared against cyber threats," said Under Secretary for Energy Mark W. Menezes. "Today's announcement highlights the increasing importance cybersecurity plays in energy efficient manufacturing, and this Institute will develop and leverage innovative solutions to current and future challenges."

"The manufacturing sector can further improve its energy efficiency with new sensor and control technologies, but these technologies present cyber vulnerabilities that must be addressed," said Assistant Secretary for EERE

EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office will oversee this FOA. It is expected to include two technical areas of interest: securing automation and securing the supply chain.

Securing Automation

  • Addressing cyber vulnerabilities in automated process systems for manufacturing equipment, tools, or components;
  • Improving capabilities for identifying, alerting, and mitigating cybersecurity threats in automated manufacturing systems that enable energy productivity;
  • Increasing the speed and efficiency of encryption capabilities for smart and digital manufacturing which improve process energy efficiency, including machine learning and machine-to-machine communication;
  • Developing new architectures and energy efficient hardware customized for cybersecurity; and
  • Supporting coordinated vulnerability disclosure activities to improve the safety and security of manufacturing and energy-intensive industries.

Securing the Supply Chain

  • Improving security for agile on-demand, dynamic, energy-aware and cost-effective supply chains;
  • Facilitating the standardization of security protocols, architectures and networking infrastructure that promote greater energy efficiency;
  • Enabling autonomy and connected processes for manufacturing systems with secure asset and energy management;
  • Improving supply chain-centric real-time prescriptive data analytics for security threats, risk reduction, and mitigation; and
  • Improving security related supply chain efficiency.

EERE intends to issue the FOA via the EERE Exchange in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2019. The full Notice of Intent can be seen here. The DOE advises that applicants to the FOA should begin forming partnerships, devising ideas, and accumulating data in anticipation of the issuance of this FOA.