Alternative Energy

Published on June 25th, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance


Clean Technology Gets $300 Million from DOE

Good news for the clean technology sector! The Department of Energy has just announced it will fund $300 million of its budget and stimulus funds for reducing clean energy costs, carbon capture, and improving the readiness of the green-collar workforce. The largest portion of the money, $240 million, comes from the DOE’s budget. Many companies have already received their awards from the DOE.

photo by OregonDOTDOE fund clean technology

DOE fund clean technology

24 Solar projects funded by the DOE are expected to lower manufacturing and final production costs, such as automating assembly processes. In addition, $27 million will be dedicated to training programs for solar installation. Specific solar projects already funded by the DOE include, according to Clean Tech

  • $3 million to Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont to develop a manufacturing tool using atomic layer deposition to produce a flexible ultra moisture barrier film;
  • $3 million to Niskayuna, NY-based General Electric to develop a thin film platform that boosts the efficiency of solar cells using down-shifting materials and to develop a system integrated, distributed PV architecture employing module-level and power conversion components to increase energy yield;
  • $3 million to Fremont, Calif.-base Sierra Solar Power to accelerate development of a high-volume manufacturing silicon epitaxy growth system to enable commercial manufacturing of cells made from thin layers of monocrystalline silicon on cheap metallurgical-grade silicon wafers, reducing feedstock costs and capital equipment expenses;
  • $3 million to San Jose, Calif.-based Silicon Genesis to accelerate development of a silicon wafering tool that reduces silicon waste by utilizing a cleaving process instead of the conventional wire saw process;
  • $3 million to Gloucester, Mass.-based Varian Semiconductor to develop a manufacturing tool that continuously produces sheets of single-crystal film silicon with higher throughput and lower material costs than conventional manufacturing;
  • $2.96 million Redwood City, Calif.-based XeroCoat to develop and commercialize a low-cost, glass antireflective coating that enables high transmission of light;
  • $1.58 million to Allentown, Penn.-based Air Products and Chemicals to develop an advanced radio frequency plasma chemical vapor deposition process for thin film silicon solar cells;
  • $1.2 million to St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M to develop a polymer barrier film at lower cost and higher transparency than current films (see 3M seeks new market for tape and film in energy sector).

Nine carbon capture projects have also been funded including:

  • $2 million to Wheat Ridge, Colo.-based TDA Research to develop mesoporous carbon to remove CO2 via physical absorption;
  • $1.9 million to Menlo Park, Calif.-based SRI International to use solvents to capture high-pressure CO2 at lower solvent cost and with an efficient regeneration process (see U.S. allocates more funds to investigate cutting coal CO2);
  • $1.9 million to Austin, Texas-based URS Group to combine modeling and experiments to tailor sorbents for optimum CO2 capture.
  • $1.2 million to Cortland, NY-based Pall to use its proprietary membrane fabrication technology to screen a large number of palladium alloys for use in membranes to separate hydrogen from synthesis gas mixtures.
  • $1 million to Des Plaines, Ill.-based Gas Technology Institute to combine an engineered plastic contactor with a solvent to achieve up to 80 percent capital cost reduction in CO2 capture.

The DOE will also fund projects to improve technology on powertrains for gas and diesel powered cars, as well as the efficiency of heavy-duty commercial trucks by limiting drag, reducing weight, and using a hybrid drivetrain. Waller Law Blog explains:

The money will flow into high efficiency vehicles in the amount of up to $240 million for development of high efficiency commercial and passenger vehicles, with solar projects advancing the current technology obtaining up to $22 million and being matched up to $50 million from private partners, and carbon capture and storage researching obtaining $11.3 million for nine projects that will develop pre-combustion capture technologies.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s announcement demonstrates the Obama administration’s commitment to clean technology and funding the creation of green jobs in this sector. Supporting significant growth in the renewable energy industry is change America needs.

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