The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled a significant step forward in its commitment to advancing energy research across America. The department has announced an allocation of $33 million to support 14 clean-energy research projects strategically chosen to benefit regions that historically receive disproportionately low amounts of Federal scientific funding. The projects will cover a range of topics—including grid integration, renewable solar and wind energy, and advanced manufacturing. The initiative aims to foster innovation and drive job creation while ensuring that all corners of the country contribute to addressing energy and environmental challenges on the path to achieving the ambitious climate goals set by the Biden-Harris Administration.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm emphasized the nationwide potential for transformative energy breakthroughs, stating, “America’s next big energy breakthrough can come from anywhere in the nation, and that’s why Federal R&D investments should reach and benefit all parts of the country. The funding we’re announcing today will spur innovation and create energy jobs around the nation.”
The funding stems from DOE’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, designed to enhance the geographic distribution of Federal research and development funds. By strengthening research capabilities in underserved regions, the DOE aims to ensure that innovative projects across various scientific disciplines receive the support they need.
The 14 selected projects encompass a diverse range of energy research topics, from fundamental science to pioneering efforts in fusion energy, climate and ecosystem modeling, grid integration, wind energy, and sensors for energy conversion. These projects were selected based on competitive peer review under a DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement for EPSCoR Implementation Grants.
Among the notable projects receiving funding are:
- Boise State University (Boise, Idaho): Researching dye components for potential use in quantum computing.
- Jackson State University (Jackson, Miss.): Exploring thin-layer material interactions with bulk materials to enhance electronic and heat-conduction properties for improved energy efficiency in electronics.
- University of Alaska Fairbanks (Fairbanks, Alaska): Modernizing the power grid to fully integrate renewable energy sources.
- University of Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.): Investigating the impact of materials selection and pattern geometry on light-matter interactions in nanoscale magnet arrays.
- University of Maine (Orono, Maine): Developing sensors to monitor and control energy conversion systems.
- University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Lincoln, Neb.): Applying new experimental and computational tools to understand chemical reactions in organic materials.
- University of Nebraska Omaha (Omaha, Neb.): Developing magnetic and superconducting materials for energy storage, conversion, data storage, and medical imaging.
- The University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, Nev.): Building stable controllable spin systems for quantum information sciences and quantum computing.
- University of New Hampshire (Durham, N.H.): Creating models for marine atmosphere boundary layers to optimize wind turbine performance.
- University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, N.M.): Studying the impacts of changing headwater stream networks on surface water quality and ecosystems.
- University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.): Designing response systems to protect floating wind turbines and maximize power production during adverse weather conditions.
- University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg, Miss.): Employing machine learning and autonomous synthesis to develop polymeric membranes for various applications.
- University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo.): Addressing and reducing uncertainty in global climate change models.
- West Virginia University Research Corp. (Morgantown, W.V.): Characterizing ionized gases or plasmas with applications ranging from solar flares to fusion power systems.
These projects reflect the DOE’s commitment to cultivating scientific excellence in 28 designated jurisdictions, which include 25 states and three U.S. territories, through the EPSCoR program managed by the Department’s Office of Science under its Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES). The planned funding of approximately $33 million in Fiscal Year 2023 dollars will support these projects over two years, bolstering research efforts that hold the potential to reshape America’s energy landscape.