In advance of Earth Day, the Walton Family Foundation today announced a new initiative aimed at strengthening the field of environmental journalism. #HeresWhy seeks to explore the challenges facing environmental journalism, expand the audience for environmental news, and determine what role philanthropy can play in bolstering the field.
Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 15, 2021.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $12 million for technologies that can make geothermal systems more efficient for clean, renewable energy production. This funding will help scientists and engineers unlock the full potential of geothermal power to help tackle the climate crisis, and achieve the Biden Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are man-made reservoirs created by injecting fluid into “hot rock,” which is heated by the natural warmth of the Earth’s core. The fluid re-opens pre-existing fractures, allowing it to circulate through the hot rock, and bring the heated water to the surface. That hot water becomes steam that spins a turbine, creating clean, renewable energy.
The “Innovative Methods to Control Hydraulic Properties of Enhanced Geothermal Systems” funding opportunity will support the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and techniques to control the fluid flow in EGS reservoirs, enhancing the connectivity of pre-existing fracture networks and optimizing them for heat mining. This ability to customize reservoirs will increase their efficiency and longevity—driving down EGS costs, reducing the risk of development, and accelerating the path towards widespread commercialization.
The 2019 GeoVision study by DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) concluded that with technology improvements like those funded by today’s announcement, geothermal power generation could increase 26-fold, deploying 60 gigawatts-electric (GWe) of clean energy by 2050. Despite that vast potential, there are only 3.7 GWe of geothermal energy currently installed in the United States. GTO is using its research and development portfolio to advance technologies and projects that can rapidly increase that number, while supporting thousands of good-paying jobs for American workers—including those in the oil and gas industries that already have matching skills and expertise.
GTO is looking for applications that address the funding opportunity review criteria in full.
More information about the funding opportunity here.
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new request for proposals (RFP) for up to $22.5 million for projects that support the recovery, recycling, and reuse of material waste generated by the manufacturing sector. Projects funded through this solicitation will develop technologies that reduce embodied energy and carbon emissions associated with the production and consumption of metals, polymers, fibers, and electronic waste, as well as identify training activities that will expand the American manufacturing workforce.
“Decarbonizing the industrial sector is key to addressing our climate crisis,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “These investments will help reduce manufacturing emissions and energy use, while also making U.S. manufacturers more competitive and resilient.”
The U.S. industrial sector is responsible for 28% of domestic carbon emissions and consumes roughly one-third of the country’s primary energy—much of which is used to make materials. Using recycled materials to manufacture new materials and products can cut energy requirements and emissions in half, while also reducing waste.
DOE’s Reducing Embodied-energy And Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute will manage these projects. Founded in 2017, REMADE is the fifth institute funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.
REMADE is also a part of Manufacturing USA®, a network of federally funded institutes that have a specialized technology focus to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing R&D infrastructure.
In connection with a White House report on economic revitalization in coal and power plant communities, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $109.5 million in funding for projects that directly support job creation in communities impacted by changes in the energy economy—the first results of a government-wide initiative launched by President Biden in the first week of his administration to boost the economic potential of coal and power plant communities. The White House Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, housed within DOE, also selected a new Executive Director to spearhead interagency efforts.
“The coal and power plant workers who built our nation can play a huge role in making America’s clean energy future a reality, and this report outlines just the first steps the Biden Administration is taking to make sure they have those opportunities—right in their communities,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
“For generations, our coal miners have sacrificed their health and safety to mine the coal that forged the steel and provided the power that made the United States the greatest nation in the world,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “I am encouraged to see President Biden acknowledge these contributions and start to allocate the resources that will be required to reinvest in these communities who have suffered huge job losses. I applaud today’s funding announcements for innovative technologies to tackle climate change and provide new opportunities for these hard-hit areas. In addition, the up to $15 million investment in important research conducted at West Virginia University is a small but first step in the right direction and I will continue working with the Administration to ensure additional, significant investments throughout West Virginia to provide meaningful opportunity and economic growth.”
The Interagency Working Group named Brian Anderson as its Executive Director. A longtime resident of West Virginia and a descendant of coal miners, Anderson serves as director of DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory with facilities in Morgantown, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Albany, Oregon, and is a renowned scientist with extensive expertise in technology development for carbon management in hard-to-decarbonize sectors. In addition, DOE identified senior staff from its Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, Office of Energy Jobs, and Office of Indian Energy who will also support the work of the Interagency Working Group.
“It is a great honor to be named Executive Director of this essential effort,” said Anderson. “I am excited to immediately begin this important work, reaching across the agencies of the federal government to ensure that the economies of traditional energy and power plant communities are strengthened, and my first priority will be to engage people where they work and live so that these hard hit communities have a hand in developing opportunities and solutions for their future.”
Complementing investments in hydrogen, carbon capture, and environmental remediation proposed in the American Jobs Plan, the Interagency Working Group report lays out a national roadmap to partner with local communities to ensure that the shift to a clean energy economy creates good-paying union jobs, spurs economic revitalization, and supports energy workers in coal, oil and gas and power plant communities. In the near term, it recommends creating jobs through remediation projects for oil and gas wells and coal mines—work that energy workers are well-suited for and allows economic development of under-utilized land. For the medium and long terms, the report calls for investing in low-carbon industries through technology such as carbon capture and hydrogen.
The $109.5 million in funding DOE announced today will support innovative projects that will retain and rebuild jobs in energy communities, including:
- $75 million funding opportunity to engineer carbon capture projects. This funding will support customized engineering designs to install carbon capture and storage technology for power and industrial plants. Retrofitting with carbon capture technology could employ a similar workforce that exists today in energy communities and position American industry to compete in a global economy that is rapidly turning toward decarbonization. More information about the funding opportunity HERE.
- $19.5 million in funding awards for critical mineral extraction from coal and associated waste streams. Critical minerals are vital to the manufacture of batteries, magnets, and other important components for making electric vehicles (EV) fleet and other clean energy technology. Coal communities and workers could be well-positioned to see new industrial jobs extracting critical materials from the waste left behind by coal mining and coal power plants in many areas.
- $15 million for geothermal energy research projects at West Virginia University and Sandia National Laboratories. DOE will provide up to $15 million for two projects to help drive down costs and risks associated with the discovery of new geothermal resources for power production and heating-cooling. West Virginia University (WVU) will use the funding to explore year-round deep-direct use heating and cooling on campus. Sandia National Laboratories will use innovative approaches to conduct electromagnetic surveys to refine geothermal exploration methods and aid drillers as they explore for geothermal energy in the Western United States, a potential opportunity to create jobs for laid-off oil and gas workers.
The Interagency Working Group also identified nearly $38 billion in existing federal funding that could be accessed by energy communities for infrastructure, environmental remediation, union job creation, community revitalization, and jobs well-suited to support hard-hit energy communities. As part of this effort, DOE’s Loan Programs Office released a factsheet to facilitate access to $8.5 billion in funding for deployment of carbon capture technology to enable low-carbon manufacturing of cement, steel, and other industrial products in addition to power plants.
The Interagency Working Group’s report, as outlined by President Biden’s January 27 executive order on tackling the climate crisis, identifies 25 communities across the country hardest hit by coal mine and power plant closures and calls for these areas to be priorities for both existing and future federal investment.
Read the full report of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization here.
The Society of Environmental Journalists is now accepting proposals for story grants of up to $5,000 on two topics:
- Environment-climate-religion connections, including underrepresented religions. Register for the related #SEJ2021 Webinar here.
- Environmental health and justice in the United States, including chemical/toxic exposure and pollution. Register for the related #SEJ2021 Webinar here.
Story projects that reflect diverse and inclusive perspectives (including, but not limited to, gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and economic diversity) and that reach local audiences are particularly encouraged.
The application portal is open now and proposals will be accepted until June 15, 2021. Proposals must include a brief narrative, dissemination plan, impact measurement plan, resume/CV, letter of support from editor(s), and budget (with a maximum stipend of $2000 per person).
COVID-19 Changes: To address the current crisis, SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism has made some changes:
- Stipends: Freelance journalists and directly employed staff at 501c3 news outlets can apply for stipends of up to $2000 per individual. Proposals that support multiple journalists are encouraged.
- Travel: Any proposals that include travel funding must include an explanation of how the applicant will both (1) comply with current government travel restrictions and public health best practices and (2) ensure that the project can be completed within one year of grant award. Projects that are dependent on travel across national borders are discouraged, and will require additional justification or explanation.
Entry fees are waived for members of SEJ, members of the Religion News Association, and members of diversity journalism associations (e.g., NAHJ, NABJ, NAJA, AAJA, SAJA, NLGJA, and the Uproot Project). Non-members may apply with $40 fee. All applicants must meet SEJ’s membership eligibility requirements. Please review the complete guidelines before applying.
The REMADE Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy and the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation’s transition to a Circular Economy, today announced $43 million in new technology research, selecting 24 new projects as part of the institute’s latest round of funding.
REMADE Chief Executive Officer Nabil Nasr said the anticipated results of the projects will move the U.S. closer to the nation’s energy conservation and emissions reduction targets, both of which have received renewed national attention in recent weeks.
“Our mission is to reduce energy consumption and decrease emissions, while increasing the U.S.’s manufacturing competitiveness,” Nasr said. “Our experts are working diligently to reach these critically important goals and, in the process, accelerate the U.S.’s transition to a Circular Economy.”
The $43 million investment is cost-shared between REMADE and the funding recipients. The 24 research projects are expected to result in numerous positive impacts, including:
- Increase the recycling of materials by as much as 20 million metrics tons per year — a nearly 15% increase per year in all recycled materials in the U.S.
- Save up to 640 petajoules (PJ) of embodied energy per year — the equivalent of conserving 100 million barrels of oil per year, or the amount consumed in the average work week in the U.S.
- Decrease greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 million metric tons per year — erasing the GHG emissions of approximately 1.9 million people per year in the U.S.
Of the 24 projects, many involve new partners for REMADE, including the Ford Motor Company, BASF, and Case Western Reserve University. They join more than 90 existing partners, including industry innovators and academic researchers with Caterpillar, John Deere, Michelin, Nike, MIT, RIT, Yale University and many more.
Efforts are ongoing worldwide to move from today’s linear economy, where we take-make-dispose, to a Circular Economy, where we make-use-recycle. Reducing energy consumption and decreasing GHG emissions are major components of that transformation.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, manufacturing accounts for 25% of U.S. energy consumption at a cost of approximately $150 billion. Based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, industry is the third-largest contributor to GHG emissions in the nation at 22%.
“REMADE and its partners are determined to reduce those numbers significantly, while creating new clean economy jobs,” Nasr said.
Magdi Azer, Chief Technology Officer for REMADE, said the institute’s research examines the Circular Economy as a whole, and focuses primarily on four materials classes in which the institute can make the most impact: metals, polymers, fibers, and electronic waste.
“REMADE’s projects address multiple aspects of the Circular Economy, including remanufacturing, recycling, and recovery,” Azer said. “These latest projects will, for example, explore ways to advance sustainable automotive manufacturing and address issues related to plastics recycling in food packaging — one of the fastest-growing and most pressing sustainability issues in the U.S.”
The selected projects include large-scale transformational projects, which are led by industry and address issues across the supply chain.
This latest round of funding, REMADE’s fourth, brings the institute’s total number of research projects to more than 60, representing a total combined value of $63 million since the institute’s founding in 2017. Detailed information on all REMADE projects can be found on the REMADE Institute website.
Nasr said a fifth round of funding, valued at an additional $50 million, is expected to be announced in late spring. Projects that address education and workforce development will be considered in the fifth round, in addition to the transformational and traditional research projects that REMADE prioritizes.
“REMADE is the leading Circular Economy institute in the U.S., and our manufacturing, university and national lab members are always open to working with new partners,” he said. “Our next round of funding will be an ideal opportunity to explore potential partnerships further.”
Founded in 2017, REMADE is a public-private partnership established by the U.S. Department of Energy. REMADE is the only national institute focused entirely on the development of innovative technologies to accelerate the U.S.’s transition to a Circular Economy. In partnership with industry, academia, and national laboratories, the REMADE Institute enables early-stage applied research and development that will create jobs, dramatically reduce embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions, and increase the supply and use of recycled materials. The cumulative, five-year embodied energy savings, greenhouse gas reduction and increase in recycled materials use expected to result from REMADE’s investment is approximately 1 Quad of energy (approximately 180 million barrels of oil per year), about 50 million metric tons of CO2equivalent greenhouse gas reduction, and more than a 40 million metric tons per year increase in the supply and use of recycled materials, respectively. For additional information about the REMADE Institute, visit www.remadeinstitute.org.
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The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is doubling down on its commitment to end hunger and food waste by launching an open call to its second innovation fund. Eligible innovators with ideas and solutions to prevent food waste can submit an application by April 1 for business support and funding totaling $2.5 million in collective grants.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $52.5 million for DOE’s Industrial Assessment Centers that help American manufacturers and wastewater treatment facilities improve their efficiency, save money, and reduce their carbon footprint. These university-based training programs also create a pipeline for students looking to join the growing clean energy economy.
“These programs are proof that big climate investments can help small businesses reduce their emissions and increase their efficiency, while saving them thousands of dollars,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “This new funding is an investment in both the infrastructure and next-generation clean energy workforce we need to tackle the climate emergency and meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
The funding will be distributed through DOE’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), which are university-based programs that train students and offer no-cost efficiency improvement recommendations to small- and medium-sized manufacturing facilities. As part of the assessment process, participating students and faculty make recommendations for energy and water savings, waste reduction, productivity improvements, cybersecurity, and smart manufacturing opportunities for qualifying facilities—all while measuring their impact on greenhouse gas emissions. To date, the IAC program has provided nearly 20,000 assessments and more than 145,000 recommendations for improvement measures. Assessments typically identify more than $130,000 in potential annual savings opportunities.
IACs selected for this funding will offer coursework and hands-on experience for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in industrial processes, energy-assessment procedures, and energy-management systems. These programs have a strong track record of attracting engineering students to the energy efficiency workforce—more than 50% of graduates’ first jobs include energy efficiency as a primary responsibility, and more than 40% of graduates spend their career in energy efficiency, compared to 28% of their peers who do not participate in the program.
Founded in 1976, the IAC program is one of the Department’s longest-running programs. The program pursues two simultaneous goals: (1) supporting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness; and, (2) addressing a growing shortage of engineering professionals with applied energy and manufacturing-related skills. The IAC program provides assessment to small- and medium-sized manufacturers/enterprises (SMEs), defined as having gross annual sales below $100 million and fewer than 500 employees. The IAC program also screens for SMEs with yearly energy bills between $100,000 and $3.5 million.
As a part of this funding opportunity, DOE will also launch a pilot project to expand IAC engagement with underserved communities. Applicants are encouraged to propose training partnerships with technical programs or community colleges that create new opportunities for a diverse mix of students, of all education levels.
DOE anticipates selecting 25 to 35 universities, with individual awards of $1.5 to $2.25 million over five years. The deadline for optional letters of intent is April 1, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Mandatory full applications are due on April 22, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. ET.
For more information, eligibility requirements, and instructions on submitting an application, view the complete funding opportunity announcement. Potential applicants may also view a recording of a recent informational webinar on IAC operations.
The Advanced Manufacturing Office, housed within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), manages the IAC program’s 31 current centers. EERE’s Building Technologies Office will collaborate on the pilot project for commercial building efficiency workforce development.
Read the full story from Purdue University.
A new consortium funded by an award from the U.S. Department of Defense has selected Purdue University to co-lead its first project aimed at advancing the adoption of lead-free electronics in defense systems.
The Defense Electronics Consortium (DEC), to be established and managed by the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE), is designed to address the defense risks created by the contraction of the U.S. electronics manufacturing sector over the last 20 years.
Purdue, the University of Maryland and Auburn University will lead the consortium’s Lead-Free Defense Electronics Project, which has received $40 million to be distributed over a period of five to seven years. Of the $3.9 million in funds for the first year of the project, approximately $1 million has been awarded to researchers at Purdue’s West Lafayette and Northwest campuses.
The project’s goal is to foster research and action to accelerate the transition to lead-free electronics in aerospace, defense and other high-performance electronics. Consumer and automotive electronics have been transitioning to lead-free technologies since 2006 when the European Union banned the sale of lead-containing electronics. Japan, India and China followed suit with similar bans.
In support of the Biden Administration’s climate innovation agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $100 million in funding for transformative clean energy technology research and development via its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) OPEN 2021 funding opportunity. The first of billions of dollars of DOE R&D opportunities to be announced this year, this funding will help identify cutting-edge, disruptive clean energy technologies to address the climate crisis.
The Department will also participate in the National Climate Task Force’s Climate Innovation Working Group announced today by the White House. The working group will coordinate federal government-wide efforts to foster affordable, game-changing technologies that can help America achieve the President’s goal of net zero economy-wide emissions by 2050, and emphasize research to bolster and build domestic clean energy supply chains and strengthen American manufacturing.
“Today we are inviting scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers around America to join us in developing the energy technologies we need to tackle the climate crisis and build a more equitable clean energy economy,” said DOE Chief of Staff Tarak Shah. “The Department of Energy is committed to empowering innovators to develop bold solutions that will help America achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 while creating millions of good-paying jobs that benefit all Americans.”
Since its founding in 2009, ARPA-E has provided $2.4 billion in R&D funding, and ARPA-E projects have attracted more than $4.9 billion in private sector follow-on funding to commercialize clean energy technologies and create sustainable clean energy jobs. Previous ARPA-E awardees have also gone on to achieve breakthroughs in commercializing a variety of energy solutions, including in the development of transformative solar, geothermal, batteries, biofuels and advanced surface coating technologies.
“On behalf of the House of Representatives, I applaud this vital investment in the transformative and resilient clean energy technologies of the future,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “This exciting step is a key pillar of the Democratic Congress and Biden-Harris Administration’s mission to not only reverse the recent anti-science, anti-climate agenda but to Build Back Better – while creating millions of good-paying jobs, protecting public health, advancing America’s preeminence in the green technologies of the future and advancing justice for all.”
“I was proud to push for the creation of ARPA-E as part of the COMPETES Act in 2007 and include it as part of House Democrats’ Make It In America plan for jobs and opportunity in 2010. Congress reauthorized and expanded ARPA-E in the recently enacted Energy Act of 2020,” said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer. “Since then, ARPA-E has been an essential tool in federal support for clean-energy innovation, which leads to greater economic competitiveness for U.S. businesses and their workers. These new technologies help create good jobs here at home that position our country to lead the global race in clean energy, which cannot be outsourced, and I’m glad that the President is making ARPA-E a central part of his push to invest in clean energy job growth.”
“I’m thrilled to see the Department of Energy announce $100 million for research and development of game-changing energy technologies. Innovation is critical to addressing the climate challenges facing us today and to charting a path to a cleaner energy future,” said Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “West Virginia has hosted four ARPA-E projects and the Mountain State’s innovative spirit continues to thrive. I encourage all scientists, entrepreneurs and technology trailblazers to apply for this funding. I will continue supporting the Department’s investment in these much needed technologies of the future.”
Potential applicants can visit ARPA-E’s newly launched OPEN 2021 website to access useful information and resources, including a teaming partner list for help forming new project teams and identifying potential collaborations, and webinars featuring Program Directors discussing technical areas they hope to pursue.
To apply for funding through OPEN 2021 click HERE.