This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 02, 2016

DOE Launches $40 Million Effort to Improve Materials for Clean Energy Solutions

On February 24, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on February 24 announced the launch of its Energy Materials Network (EMN). EMN is a new national laboratory-led initiative that will give U.S. entrepreneurs and manufacturers a leg up in the global race for clean energy. Leveraging $40 million in federal funding, EMN will focus on tackling one of the major barriers to widespread commercialization of clean energy technologies: the design, testing, and production of advanced materials. By strengthening and facilitating industry access to the unique scientific and technical advanced materials innovation resources available at DOE’s national labs, the network will help bring these materials to market more quickly.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is providing the funding to establish EMN’s four initial national laboratory-led consortia and solicit proposals for collaborative research and development projects with industry and academia.

Each EMN consortium will bring together national labs, industry, and academia to focus on specific classes of materials aligned with industry’s most pressing challenges related to materials for clean energy technologies. For example:

  • The Lightweight Materials Consortium, led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will enable increased vehicle fuel efficiency by designing specialized alloys and carbon-fiber reinforced polymer composites that can be manufactured on a large scale.

  • The Electrocatalysis Consortium, led by Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, will be dedicated to finding new ways to replace the rare and costly platinum group metals currently used in hydrogen fuel cells with more abundant and inexpensive substitutes.

  • The Caloric Cooling Consortium, led by Ames Laboratory, will leverage the lab’s capabilities in the field of “caloric” refrigerant materials to develop, demonstrate, and deploy these innovative cooling technologies.

One additional consortium focused on developing new materials to make solar photovoltaic modules more durable and cost-effective will be established later this year. See the Energy Department news release and the EMN website.

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