WASHINGTON — Today, the Energy Department requested proposals for a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute as part of the Administration’s broader National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), which drives collaboration between small- and medium-sized companies, academic institutions, industrial research organizations, and national laboratories.

The Modular Chemical Process Intensification Institute — the fourth led by the Energy Department within the NNMI — represents a critical step in the Administration’s effort to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030. It will focus on developing breakthrough technologies to increase the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes used across an array of U.S. industries, including ethylene for plastics and biofuels used in sustainable transportation. Concept papers for this $70 million funding opportunity announcement are due June 15.

DOE currently leads three NNMI institutes and each is a public-private partnership serving as a regional hub bridging the gap between applied research and product development in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S. They include PowerAmerica at NC State University, which focuses on advanced power electronics technologies and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) located in Knoxville, TN, which focuses on advancing fiber reinforced polymer composites. The third institute will focus on Smart Manufacturing and is currently in merit based solicitation review. The selected team will be announced this summer.

“Our National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes are key to boosting America's competitive edge in the global race for clean energy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “This new institute will help America maintain its leadership in developing chemical manufacturing processes that can make our industries more energy efficient, protect our air and water, and help reduce the impacts of climate change.”

Traditional chemical manufacturing relies on large-scale, energy-intensive processing. The new institute will leverage approaches to modular chemical process intensification — like combining multiple, complex processes such as mixing, reaction, and separation into single steps — with the goal of improving energy productivity and efficiency, cutting operating costs, and reducing waste. Through the development of new process intensification technologies, the institute could unleash major savings in energy-intensive sectors like chemical manufacturing, oil and gas refining, pulp and paper-making, food manufacturing, biofuels, fuel cells, and other industries.

In addition to today’s request for proposals, the Department is announcing that the topic of the fifth Energy Department-led institute will be Reducing Embodied Energy and Emissions of Manufactured Materials, focused on lowering energy use through the development of innovative recycling and remanufacturing technologies. More information about the fifth institute will be announced by the end of May 2016.

Collectively, the federal government’s commitment of nearly $600 million to the eight awarded NNMI Institutes has been matched by over $1.2 billion in non-federal investment from across industry, academia, and state governments. The NNMI Institutes, each led by manufacturing experts renowned in their field, have attracted over 800 companies, universities, and non-profits as members of the NNMI. To learn more about this funding opportunity announcement, visit Energy.gov.