In a press release last week, the Department of Energy (DoE) announced the winners of the second round of funding for innovative energy research. Thirty-two proposals will share $100 Million in order to develop new-generation technologies associated with energy storage, production and use, as part of the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) program. The new designs and scientific breakthroughs that will come as a result of this generous award, are expected to pave the road to a better and more energy-efficient future of the U.S. economy.
The EFRCs program of the Department of Energy was established back in 2009, when 46 Research Centers, including universities, laboratories and nonprofit organizations, were carefully selected through a tough peer-review process, and were granted up to $5 million per year for a period of 5 years to establish the scientific foundations of a new, much better energy economy in the US. The topics were divided into four fundamental groups: energy efficiency, energy storage, renewable and carbon-neutral energy and crosscutting science.
Five years later, around 200 proposals entered into the same competition and battled it out to be included in the program. Only 32, however, were able to fulfill all necessary requirements, and receive between $2 mil-$4mil per year for the coming four years. The only condition is that they make sufficient progress in developing innovative technologies and carrying out high-quality scientific research. Twenty-two of these projects have already been given funding back in 2009, and based on their achievements they were granted a renewal of their funding, while the remaining 10 are brand new. Only one of the 32 is brought by a non-profit organization, the rest are being carried out by leading universities and national laboratories, including Harvard University, University of California, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the MIT. Here you can find the complete list.
Based on the incredible success of the program over the past 5 years, the Department of Energy has decided that they will re-open the competition every two years, giving high chance to more candidates to apply and bring their ideas to the table.
The stakes are high and the competition is severe, meaning that the findings will be incredible. Hopefully it will not be long before we hear about them.
Image (c) DoE