The Manufacturing Moment: $30M in Funding for Critical Materials, Batteries, and More

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The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office logoDivider

Feb. 21, 2024

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Reach out to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) at with any manufacturing musings.

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Welcome to The Manufacturing Moment, a monthly dose of advanced manufacturing updates hot off the factory floor.

Estimated read time: 7 minutes.

In this newsletter, catch up on: upcoming deadlines, funding opportunities, news highlights, events to join, updates you may have missed, and job openings.

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Upcoming Deadlines

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The Funding Corner

New from AMMTO: Innovative Large Parts Manufacturing to Revolutionize America’s Clean Energy Future

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Last week, AMMTO announced $15 million in funding for the second of two manufacturing projects that will increase the competitiveness of domestic manufacturing for large-scale castings and forgings by incorporating innovative new technologies into conventional near net shape manufacturing practices. The commercialized technologies resulting from these two technologies will be crucial to domestically producing these large metallic components and strengthening America’s clean energy supply chain.

Apply for Funding to Advance Domestic Manufacturing of Next Generation Batteries

AMMTO released a $15.7 million funding opportunity to revolutionize domestic battery manufacturing, focusing on next generation technologies. This initiative will enhance the production of sodium-ion batteries and flow batteries, which are crucial for various applications, including grid storage and electric vehicles. The funding opportunity announcement also seeks projects that integrate smart manufacturing into battery production, aiming to boost productivity, increase quality, and reduce costs. The deadline to submit concept papers is March 4, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET.

Small Business Innovation Research Program Funding

DOE unveiled a $65 million funding opportunity, including $4 million in Phase I/Release 2 grants provided by AMMTO through DOE's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. This initiative aims to foster small business-led research and development in microbattery manufacturing, sustainable lithium metal production, advanced material processes for harsh environment applications, and atomically precise, solid-state devices for energy-efficient quantum computing. Full applications for funding are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 12, 2024.

DOE Awards $3.6 Million to Strengthen Education and Workforce Development in the Domestic Manufacturing Industry

AMMTO recently invested $3.6 million to bolster education and workforce development in the U.S. manufacturing sector, focusing on clean energy. This funding at five Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institutes aims to expand workforce skills crucial for America's renewable future, supporting U.S. climate goals. These institutes will pioneer innovative programs, ensuring American manufacturing thrives with a skilled, future-ready workforce.

10 Projects to Receive Funding for Manufacturing Cybersecurity Innovation

The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which is one of DOE’s seven Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and funded by AMMTO, invested $4.8 million in 10 projects to fortify the cybersecurity of American manufacturing. The projects span three vital areas: industrial control systems, secure industrial digitalization, and industrial additive manufacturing, each aiming to enhance security and efficiency.

Decarbonizing America’s Industrial Sector and Revitalizing Domestic Manufacturing

DOE recently announced $171 million in funding for 49 projects that will develop innovative decarbonization techniques and reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions across the United States. Three of these selected projects are funded by AMMTO, focusing on advancing innovation for enhanced thermal conductivity materials (Topic Area 3b). These selections demonstrate AMMTO's commitment to fostering sustainable, innovative manufacturing and material science solutions, crucial for a clean energy future.

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The Latest Highlights

Prize Teams Work to Enhance Conductivity

AMMTO’s ongoing $4.8 million Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and thermal applications (CABLE) Conductor Manufacturing Prize, has teams of innovators competing to see which team can create new materials that can best ‘out-conduct’ copper. Last spring, seven teams were selected to advance to the third and final round of the competition, with the express mission of developing substitute materials that are not only more affordable to produce than copper but that can conduct higher levels of electricity than the reigning king of conductive metals.

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DOE Announces Phase One Prize Winners to Boost Recycling for a Circular Wind Energy Economy

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DOE has announced the first phase winners of the Wind Turbine Materials Recycling Prize, a key step towards a circular wind energy economy. This $5.1 million competition, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aims to create sustainable recycling solutions for wind turbine materials not yet recycled commercially. The initiative focuses on recycling fiber-reinforced composites and rare earth elements, reducing the need for raw material extraction and mitigating import dependencies. Twenty innovative teams from 15 states have been awarded, advancing to the final competition phase to develop their recycling technology prototypes.

EES2 Initiative Celebrates Significant Milestone

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As of January, AMMTO’s Energy Efficiency Scaling for 2 Decades (EES) initiative ‘pledge’ now has 61 signees—organizations that have united across private industry, national labs, and academia to commit to energy efficiency in the semiconductor industry. The ultimate goal of the EES2 initiative is to increase the energy efficiency of semiconductors 1,000-fold over the next 20 years by doubling energy efficiency biennially. AMMTO would like to congratulate the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Paragraf, IBM, NIST’s Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers Institute, Tessellated, and Multi3D for dedicating their support to the EES2 mission.

Advancing Clean Energy with Highlights from CMI Phase III Kickoff at Ames National Lab

The Critical Materials Innovation Hub (CMI) at Ames National Lab recently hosted its Phase III kickoff event, a significant stride in advancing critical materials research supported by AMMTO's substantial annual funding of $30 million. This event featured insightful plenary talks, poster sessions, and technical discussions. It highlighted CMI's pivotal role in enhancing supply diversity and promoting a circular economy for critical materials, essential for America's clean energy technology supply chains. The gathering demonstrated the collaborative efforts of CMI team members and affiliates.

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Breakthroughs in Renewable Energy and Home Energy Innovations

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At the recent Consumer Electronics Showcase, the principal deputy assistant secretary for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), in addition to AMMTO Technical Manager Sudarsan Rachuri, engaged with global innovators, showcasing breakthrough technologies pivotal for the future of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The event featured the launch of the SOLVE IT prize, aimed at fostering community-led innovation nationwide.

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Events to Join

March 9, 2024: Manufacturing USA’s Panel at South by Southwest

Leadership from three of DOE’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (CESMII, IACMI, and REMADE), along with the U.S. Department of Defense’s NextFlex Institute, will be discuss how they are scaling innovation ecosystems that strengthen digital capabilities and ultimately transition America to an efficient, circular economy.

A banner with four headshots and names and the title "Panel Session Reimagining Energy Use with Digital Technologies SXSW 2024 March 2024, Austin, TX"

April 10–11, 2024: REMADE Circular Economy Technology Summit & Conference

Registration is now open for the REMADE Institute’s 2024 Circular Economy Conference at the National Academy for Sciences Building in Washington, D.C. The institute’s inaugural 2023 event attracted more than 300 attendees from academia and industry across the country and around the world. The event also featured presentations on nearly 60 peer-reviewed research papers.   

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In Case You Missed It

  • Reusing or recycling rare earth metals from old cellphones, hard drives, electric motors, and turbines could meet as much as 40 percent of the demand for rare earth metals in the U.S., China, and Europe by 2050.
  • DOE announced $131 million to boost America’s battery supply chain and supercharge electric vehicle innovation.
  • AMMTO joined the U.S. Mineral Resources Workforce workshop at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to discuss DOE’s commitment to foster partnerships between academia and the critical materials industry. The discussion contributed to a roadmap for enhancing workforce development in the critical minerals sector.
  • 3D-printed homes have the potential to reshape the future of housing in America.
  • AMMTO-funded institutes are using digital technology to reduce carbon emissions and improve lifecycle material use efficiency.

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Join Us, We Are Hiring

EERE Is Hiring - AMMTO

If you are passionate about improving energy and material efficiency and American manufacturing competitiveness, consider applying to join us.

We are currently hiring for the following positions:

For best consideration, we encourage interested persons to submit applications by March 1, 2024.