US Dept. of Energy announces US$38.3M awarded to nine research projects intended to decarbonize the chemical industry; funding is part of department's US$135M fund to 40 projects in total, advancing net zero emissions goals by 2050

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WASHINGTON , June 19, 2023 (press release) –

40 Projects Across 21 States Will Advance Technologies to Decarbonize American Industry and Help Create Good-Paying Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $135 million for 40 projects that will reduce carbon pollution from the industrial sector and move the nation toward a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 by advancing key transformational and innovative technologies. Decarbonizing the U.S. industrial sector is an essential component of President Biden’s ambitious clean energy goals and is critical to achieving a clean energy future that benefits all Americans.

"America’s industrial sector serves as the engine of the U.S. economy, producing many of the products we rely on every day, but also produces a significant amount of the nation’s carbon emissions," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. "These projects funded by President Biden’s Investing in American agenda will slash industrial emissions and accelerate next-generation technologies for a clean energy future that’s made in America." 

The U.S. industrial sector accounts for one-third of all energy-related domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is among the most difficult to decarbonize. Achieving a net-zero industrial sector will require an aggressive, multidimensional approach that, along the way, will create good-paying jobs and create a stronger, more competitive sector. 

In 2022, DOE released the Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap, which identifies key pathways to reducing industrial emissions and focuses on five energy-intensive subsectors where industrial decarbonization efforts can have the greatest impact: cement and concrete, chemicals, food and beverage, iron and steel, and petroleum refining. 

Primarily funded through DOE’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office, the 40 selected projects will be led by 36 different universities, National Laboratories, and companies spread across 21 states. The projects will support research, development, and pilot-scale demonstrations to reduce energy usage and emissions from these subsectors, which account for over 50% of the energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the industrial sector, as well as paper and forest products. 

Decarbonizing Chemicals (9 projects, $38.3 million): Converting between chemical building blocks to create consumer and industrial products, such as fuels, polymers, and paints, is incredibly energy intensive. Selected projects will increase energy efficiency and reduce the carbon impacts from the production of high-volume chemicals by focusing on unit operations, including advanced separations and advanced reactors, along with alternative production and process heating technologies.

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA)
  • RAPID Manufacturing Institute (New York, NY)
  • RedoxBlox Inc. (San Diego, CA)
  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • Siemens Energy Inc. (Orlando, FL)
  • The Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
  • University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Via Separations Inc. (Watertown, MA) 

Decarbonizing Iron and Steel (10 projects, $31.9 million): Steelmaking is energy- and emissions-intensive, requiring high process temperatures and a source of carbon to drive reactions. The projects in this topic help to establish the foundation of DOE’s Low Emissions Steel Manufacturing Research Program. Collaboratively funded with the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, selected projects under this topic will focus on advancements that enable decarbonization in ore-based or scrap-based iron and steelmaking operations, and that convert other existing iron and steelmaking ancillary and thermal processes to use clean fuels or electricity.

  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)
  • GTI Energy (Des Plaines, IL)
  • Hertha Metals Inc. (Brownsville, TX)
  • Idaho National Laboratory (Idaho Falls, ID)
  • Molten Industries (Oakland, CA) 
  • Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA)
  • Purdue University Northwest (Hammond, IN)
  • Tufts University (Boston, MA)
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN) 

Decarbonizing Food and Beverage Products (3 projects, $11.4 million): The food and beverage industry is one of the largest energy consuming and GHG-emitting industries in the United States. These projects will focus on innovative technologies that decarbonize process heating operations within the food and beverage sector.

  • Palo Alto Research Center Inc. (Palo Alto, CA)
  • Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (College Station, TX)
  • West Virginia University Research Corporation (Morgantown, WV) 

Decarbonizing Cement and Concrete (5 projects, $16.4 million): In the U.S. cement industry, CO2 emissions are split between process-related emissions from calcination, accounting for about 58% of the total, and energy-related CO2 emissions, responsible for the remainder. Projects selected under this topic will focus on next generation cement formulations and process routes and carbon capture and utilization technologies to address both sources of CO2 emissions. 

  • Calcify dba Carbon Capture Machine (Fairfield, CT) 
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • SkyNano LLC (Knoxville, TN)
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
  • Washington State University (Pullman, WA) 

Decarbonizing Paper and Forest Products (6 projects, $16.2 million): Opportunities to reduce net energy GHG emissions in the paper and forest products industry include increasing the share of renewable energy used, electrification, carbon capture, and energy efficiency. Selected projects under this topic will advance these strategies by focusing on novel paper and wood drying technologies and innovative pulping and paper forming technologies. 

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
  • Micro Nano Technologies (Gainesville, FL)
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
  • Siemens Energy Inc. (Orlando, FL)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD)
  • Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI) 

Cross-Sector Decarbonization Technologies (7 projects, $20.4 million): Many energy and emissions reduction challenges are common across all industrial subsectors. These projects will focus on innovations that can lead to energy and emissions reductions across multiple industrial sectors including industrial heat pump technologies and technologies to generate power from low temperature waste heat. 

  • GE Research (Schenectady, NY)
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN)
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
  • Siemens Energy Inc. (Orlando, FL)
  • T2M Global LLC (Brookfield, CT)
  • Thar Energy LLC (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD) 

Learn more about the projects here. 

Selected projects are part of DOE’s Technologies for Industrial Emissions Reduction Development Program (TIEReD), which leverages resources across the Department’s applied research offices to invest in fundamental science, research, development, initial pilot-scale demonstrations projects, and technical assistance and workforce development. This funding opportunity focuses on the variety of cross-sector approaches to industrial decarbonization, and advances the goals of the Industrial Heat Shot™ and Clean Fuels & Products Shot™.  

DOE is committed to investing in bold industrial decarbonization technologies at each stage of the innovation pipeline. In addition to TIEReD, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations Industrial Demonstrations Program recently announced $6 billion to support the demonstration and deployment of transformational technologies necessary to decarbonize the industrial sector. Learn more about the Industrial Demonstrations Program Concept Papers Submissions.

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