By Steve McKnight, Acting Director, Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Decarbonization Offices at EERE
Earlier this month, we celebrated National Manufacturing Day and for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) advanced manufacturing and industrial decarbonization programs, there is indeed much to celebrate. Recognizing manufacturing as the heartbeat of America’s economy, DOE continues to advance critical manufacturing technology as it has since its inception 45 years ago.
In fact, DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) is a vital part of the American manufacturing ecosystem. Since its inception, AMO has been dedicated to making the U.S. manufacturing sector stronger, more resilient, and more sustainable. AMO’s partnerships across industry, academia, government, and our national labs have ushered in critical new technologies that are reducing emissions, improving efficiency, and moving us closer to a net-zero economy.
At AMO we know that the clean energy future of tomorrow begins with the work we’re doing today. From machine learning and 3D printing, to supercomputing and rare earth element extraction, our office is pioneering manufacturing processes and technologies to keep our manufacturing sector competitive in the global clean economy. AMO’s investments in innovation are building domestic supply chains that are robust, sustainable, and agile, relying on recycled materials and materials from waste streams. Our commitment to training and workforce development is creating the clean energy workforce of tomorrow with good-paying jobs for Americans across the country. And we’re engaging with communities and small businesses to shape manufacturing and transition to a cleaner, healthier, more equitable future for all Americans.
AMO continues to lead on DOE-wide initiatives to tackle the climate crisis and turn ideas into real-world impact. AMO launched seven Clean Energy Manufacturing Institutes and two Energy Innovation Hubs, each focusing on applied research and technology development to solve unique manufacturing challenges. From increasing the adoption of next-generation processes like smart manufacturing to securing clean energy supply chains, AMO’s public-private collaborations are bringing game-changing innovations to the factory floor. As part of DOE’s Next Generation of Electric Machines program, AMO has worked with researchers to change the way industry powers its operations— from building cheaper more efficient semiconductors to redefining power converters for wind turbines.
In addition to our strong collaborative partnerships, AMO has invested billions to spur novel innovation across the industrial sector. AMO’s investments span the full research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) continuum – developing technologies that reduce industrial emissions and propel the manufacturing sector forward. We’ve collaborated with our industry partners to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint for chemical manufacturing of essential products, like ethylene and partnered with clean tech entrepreneurs to increase the safety, reliability and longevity of lithium-metal batteries, facilitating faster-charging for new electric vehicles.
AMO also equips the current and future American manufacturing workforce with the in-demand skills they need to advance their careers, boost domestic energy productivity, and decarbonize their industrial operations while simultaneously providing technical assistance to meet the immediate needs of the manufacturing sector. Through our Better Plants program, we’ve helped 270 manufacturers save more than $10 billion in energy costs and keep more than 130 million metric tons of carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere. Furthermore, AMO’s Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program has provided early-stage funding and entrepreneurial training to 120 startups with promising clean technology ideas who have collectively raised $918 million in follow-on funding and created nearly 1,000 jobs.
The Path Forward
As we look back at how we got here today, the unprecedented opportunity in front of us is the real cause for celebration. Now more than ever—with historic investments in domestic manufacturing through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act—DOE is poised to make America a global leader in clean energy manufacturing and innovation, and AMO will play a critical role in ensuring that happens.
We’re in a position to implement solutions and advance innovation for exciting new technologies that not only reduce emissions, but also foster job growth and economic opportunity. Now is the time for DOE to rapidly accelerate the innovation pipeline for American manufacturing. That’s why we’re announcing the formation of two industrial and manufacturing technology offices within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Over the next year, AMO’s existing RDD&D portfolio will transition and expand into the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), and we are tremendously excited for what will be achieved through this re-alignment.
These offices will each focus on discrete pieces of the manufacturing puzzle we’ll bring together for success. AMMTO will work to advance energy-related materials and manufacturing technologies to increase domestic competitiveness and IEDO to reduce industrial emissions. These two offices will operate hand-in-hand to make sure we advance the materials and manufacturing innovations required for the next-generation technologies needed to drive economy-wide decarbonization. This is what a clean energy future made in America looks like.
And we cannot build this clean energy future alone. DOE has recently created the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations and the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains to further strengthen America’s manufacturing enterprise. We’ll continue to work with other program offices within EERE, the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, the Office of Technology Transitions, the Office of Science, and the Loan Programs Office to support innovation across the board – from early-stage R&D all the way to deployment as well as continuing our outstanding support for technology assistance and workforce development to the nation’s manufacturers.
Finally, we’ll continue to collaborate with you, our valued partners who have been at our side since the beginning. The moment for American manufacturing is here, so let us seize the moment together.