Produced Water R&D

Office: Resource Sustainability 
FOA number: DE-FOA-0002796 
Download the full FOA: FedConnect 
FOA Amount: $18,050,000

Background Information 

On February 10, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced more than $18 million in funding for research and development projects that focus on the characterization, treatment, and management of produced water—or wastewater associated with oil and natural gas development and production—as well as management of legacy wastewater associated with coal-based thermal electric power generation facilities, primarily coal combustion residuals waste streams.

Projects will help lower the cost of developing and demonstrating technologies to manage wastewater safely and effectively for beneficial end-uses—such as irrigation of non-edible crops, hydrogen generation, and aquifer recharge and recovery—while supporting DOE’s goals to provide environmental and economic benefits to our communities that have been affected by stressed water resources and legacy pollution. These same energy production waste streams also contain recoverable critical minerals, including rare earth elements, that are essential to manufacturing clean energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and hydrogen fuel cells that will help achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Water is critical to almost every phase of fossil energy operations—from resource extraction, transport, and processing to power generation. However, these activities generate large quantities of wastewater. Treatment of this wastewater for reuse can be costly due to the complexity of removing a wide variety of chemical compounds, particulate matter, and organic waste material. Much of the produced water generated from oil and gas production is injected underground into saltwater disposal wells; this activity has been known to over-pressurize geological formations and, in some cases, cause minor seismicity. Further, waste streams associated with thermal electric power plant sites, such as coal and fly ash ponds and other coal combustion residuals waste streams, can result in contamination of soil, surface water, and groundwater with heavy metals and other pollutants.

The deadline to submit applications for this funding opportunity has closed.


Eligible applicants include individuals, institutions of higher education, for-profit and non-profit organizations, state and local governments, and tribal Nations.

Download the full funding opportunity for more information on eligibility.

Areas of Interest

This funding opportunity announcement has 3 areas of interest:

  1. Characterizing, Managing, and Treating Oil/Natural Gas Produced Water for Beneficial Use and the Potential Recovery of Rare Earth Elements, Critical Minerals, and Elements of Interest
  2. Field Operation of Oil and Natural Gas Produced Water Consortium
  3. Characterization and Treatment of Coal Combustion Residuals Wastewater Associated with Coal Power Generation for Groundwater Impact and Rare Earth Elements, Critical Minerals, and Elements of Interest


DOE expects to make 9 awards between $1.5 million and $3.2 million each with a minimum of a 20% cost-sharing from the awardees.

FOA 2796 funding table

Key Dates

RFI Issue Date:  08/25/2022  
FOA Issue Date: 02/10/2023
Submission Deadline for Full Applications:  04/12/2023 11:59 PM
Expected Date for Selection Notifications: July 2023
Expected Date for Award: September 2023

Additional Information 


Last Updated: April 17, 2023