Throughout 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and our partners worked to enhance energy and material efficiency for manufacturers. From early-stage research and development (R&D) to field validation and verification efforts, AMO focused on technologies that meet national needs and support U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.
2020 was also a year filled with collaboration. AMO played an important role in shaping DOE's cross-cutting initiatives, working closely with offices across the Department to harness our collective capabilities to encourage future U.S. leadership and create thriving ecosystems for manufacturing innovation.
As the year draws to a close, AMO is looking back on top news and successes from 2020:
Major News from AMO
- Multi-topic Funding Opportunities Support U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Through Innovation
In February, DOE announced $187 million in funding, including $48 million of cost share, for 55 projects in 25 states to support innovative advanced manufacturing research and development. These projects address high-impact manufacturing technology, materials, and process challenges that position the U.S. for global leadership in advanced manufacturing.
Later in the year, DOE announced up to $67 million for research and development for next-generation manufacturing processes that improve energy efficiency in energy-intensive industries, including steel and chemical manufacturing; and connected, flexible, and efficient manufacturing facilities and energy systems, including the integration of direct air capture. Selections for this funding opportunity are coming soon.
- An Agile Response to COVID-19
During this unprecedented year, AMO witnessed how past investments in manufacturing enabled an agile, rapid response to challenges associated with COVID-19.
In March, students and professors in a manufacturing traineeship based at Georgia Tech for face shields and other personal protective equipment for the Atlanta-area healthcare community.
In June, AMO detailed how researchers at two advanced manufacturing facilities at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed new ways to rapidly produce N95 filters, masks, face shields, and test kit components. In support of medical professionals on the front lines of the pandemic response, these efforts armed the manufacturing industry information needed to pivot and rapidly expand production for essential materials.
Note: DOE's COVID-19 response is led by the Office of Science.
- A New Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute
In May, DOE announced the selection of the University of Texas – San Antonio to lead the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a public-private consortium to bolster U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation. CyManII, which began operations in November, will focus on early-stage research and development to advance cybersecurity in energy-efficient manufacturing.
- Field Validation and Verification Initiatives
In 2020, AMO released a number of initiatives designed to accelerate industry adoption of next-generation, energy-efficient manufacturing technologies.
- In May, DOE announced up to $30 million for critical materials-related R&D focusing on field validation and verification, as well as next-generation extraction, separation, and processing technologies.
- In October, DOE launched the Industrial Technology Validation (ITV) pilot to support industry in testing innovative technologies in dynamic, industrial environments. The pilot's results will be shared widely to encourage industry uptake of technologies with the potential to generate significant operational efficiency improvements for U.S. industry, including water / wastewater treatment facilities.
AMO's Work in DOE-wide Grand Challenges
- Energy Storage Grand Challenge: Accelerating the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies and sustaining American global leadership in energy storage.
- January: DOE launched the Energy Storage Grand Challenge to create and sustain global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports, with a secure domestic manufacturing supply chain.
- February: AMO's Multi-topic Funding Opportunity Announcement selections included $65.9 million for manufacturing innovation to lower the cost of battery energy storage, jointly funded with the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO).
- July: DOE issued a Draft Roadmap, which outlined a Department-wide energy storage strategy based on three concepts: Innovate Here, Make Here, Deploy Everywhere, and included a Request for Information for stakeholders to provide feedback.
- August: AMO worked again with VTO to select 13 projects to establish public-private partnerships with the National Laboratories that address advanced battery engineering challenges and focus on de-risking, scaling, and accelerating adoption of new technologies.
- September: DOE, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State launched the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries to provide a framework for cooperation and coordination among federal agencies with a stake in developing advanced battery technology and establishing a domestic supply of lithium batteries.
- December: AMO and VTO announced seven winners in Phase II of the Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize, which have the potential to profitably capture 90% of all discarded lithium-ion batteries in the U.S. for the eventual recovery of critical materials and re-introduction into the supply chain.
- Plastics Innovation Challenge: Positioning the U.S as a global leader in advanced plastics recycling technologies and manufacturing of new, recyclable-by-design plastics.
- March: AMO worked with the Bioenergy Technologies Office to announce the $25 million Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) funding opportunity, as well as a National Laboratory-led BOTTLE consortium focused on designing new plastics and recycling strategies in collaboration with industry and academia. Selections were made in October.
- August: AMO's Reducing EMbodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Manufacturing Institute announced approximately $35 million to support R&D for recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing of plastics, metals, electronic waste, and fibers.
- Water Security Grand Challenge: Advancing transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water.
- January: The National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI), DOE's energy-water desalination hub, officially launched. NAWI focuses on early-stage research for desalination and associated water-treatment technologies to secure affordable and energy-efficient water supplies for the U.S. from nontraditional water sources.
- January: AMO announced a $1 million Water Resource Recovery Prize to accelerate resource recovery from municipal wastewater across the United States. Phase 1 winners were announced in July, and phase 2 is currently underway.
- July: DOE announced $20 million for technology innovations that strengthen America's water infrastructure and enable advanced water resource recovery systems that have the potential to be net energy positive.
AMO's 2020 Success Stories
- In 2020, AMO's programs helped bolster energy efficiency across the manufacturing enterprise. In October, AMO announced that Better Plants partners had saved $8.2 billion in energy costs, and in July the office highlighted the 60+-site success of the 50001 Ready program, a self-paced process for facilities to implement energy management systems.
- AMO's R&D projects developed new methods that improved manufacturing energy and material productivity, including a new method for producing ethylene (a high-value chemical), an energy-efficient way to dewater cellulosic nanomaterials, and high-performance computing-developed process control tools that allow manufacturers to make real-time, online adjustments.
On the Horizon in 2021
Happy holidays from the Advanced Manufacturing Office. Thank you to all of our stakeholders – including National Laboratories, state and local governments, academia, the private sector, and more – for your dedicated work in 2020.
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