Day: July 1, 2011

ITP Funding Available for Transformational Manufacturing Technologies and Innovative Materials

On June 24, DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) released its Innovative Manufacturing Initiative funding opportunity announcement in support of President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. This solicitation seeks applications in line with ITP’s mission to invest in manufacturing engineering and development to enable rapid, low-cost, energy-efficient manufacturing.

Up to $120 million will be available over three years to develop transformational manufacturing technologies and innovative materials to reduce time, cost, and energy requirements associated with manufacturing. Projects involving innovations in the earlier stages of development, such as applied research or proof-of-concept projects, will be eligible for awards of up to $1 million. Projects that are further along in their development, such as laboratory testing or verification of a prototype system, will be eligible for awards of up to $9 million.

DOE expects to select 35-50 cost-shared projects involving innovative manufacturing and novel materials concepts that are revolutionary in their design or impact and capable of addressing manufacturing energy productivity. Applicants are encouraged to form collaborative teams equipped with both technical and commercial capabilities to enhance their prospects for success.

Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent by August 1, 2011, in order to be eligible to submit a Full Application by August 25, 2011. See the DOE press release, the funding announcement on EERE eXCHANGE, and the ITP website.

DOE Report Highlights Innovative Breakthroughs in Energy-Efficient Technologies for Buildings

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a new report showcasing numerous energy-saving products and technologies, made possible through DOE research and development, which are currently available in the market or projected to enter the marketplace in the future. Because buildings consume roughly 40% of the nation’s energy, more than transportation or the industrial sector, improving buildings with energy-saving products is one of the most beneficial ways to reduce energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The report, titled Buildings R&D Breakthroughs: Technologies and Products Supported by the Building Technologies Program (BTP), informs government professionals, architects, designers, manufacturers, and energy efficiency advocates about DOE project successes and next-generation innovations.

DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) authored the report, which investigates 190 research and development projects sponsored by the Department from fiscal year 2005 to 2009. The technologies detailed in the report are organized in four critical areas: building envelope, HVAC and water heating, lighting, and windows. The report highlights:

  • 11 commercially available products
  • 41 emerging technologies projected to enter the market within the next three years
  • 68 technologies being researched for potential market introduction

Innovative products highlighted in the report include water heaters, LEDs, rooftop heating and cooling units, and windows.

The report also shows the proportion of breakthroughs resulting from DOE-funded projects at private companies, universities, and national laboratories. Private companies made the most breakthroughs, delivering 73% of commercially available products and emerging technologies and 56% of potential new technologies.

How to successfully implement extended producer responsibility: considerations from an economic point of view

Hans Wiesmeth and Dennis Häckl (2011). “How to successfully implement extended producer responsibility: considerations from an economic point of view.” Waste Management and Research, Published online before print June 24, 2011. doi: 10.1177/0734242X11413333 [free to subscribers. Request a copy through your local library’s interlibrary loan service]

Abstract: This paper investigates the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) from an economic point of view. Particular importance will be placed on the concept of ‘economic feasibility’ of an EPR policy, which should guide decision-making in this context. Moreover, the importance of the core EPR principle of ‘integrating signals throughout the product chain’ into the incentive structure will be demonstrated with experiences from Germany. These examples refer to sales packaging consumption, refillable drinks packages and waste electrical and electronic equipment collection. As a general conclusion, the interaction between economic principles and technological development needs to be observed carefully when designing incentive-compatible EPR policies.

Researchers Share Useful Lessons Learned in Evaluating Emerging Technologies

Read the full story in NIST TechBeat.

Most industry executives, military planners, research managers or venture capitalists charged with assessing the potential of an R&D project probably are familiar with the wry twist on Arthur C. Clarke’s third law*: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.”

After serving for five years as independent evaluators of emerging military technologies nurtured by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shares critical “lessons learned” that can help businesses and others negotiate the promises and pitfalls encountered when pushing the technology envelope to enable new capabilities.

Writing in the International Journal of Intelligent Control and Systems,** the NIST researchers also describe the evaluative framework they devised for judging the performance of a system and its components as well as the utility of the technology for the intended user. Called SCORE (System, Component, and Operationally Relevant Evaluations), the framework is a unified set of criteria and software tools for evaluating emerging technologies from different perspectives and levels of detail and at various stages of development.

The Fund for Environmental Journalism

The Society for Environmental Journalists’ Fund for Environmental Journalism accepts applications for grants of up to $3,500 to help underwrite environmental reporting projects and entrepreneurial ventures. The next deadine for applications will be July 15, 2011.

The purpose of the FEJ is to provide incentives and support to qualified journalists and news organizations to enhance the quantity and quality of environmental journalism. Read about the origin of the Fund for Environmental Journalism.

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