U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced a proposed $100 million in FY2014 funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy. Research supported by this initiative will enable fundamental advances in energy production and use.
"Transforming how we generate, transmit, store and use energy is one of the greatest scientific challenges we face in the changing energy landscape," said Secretary Moniz. "This funding will help fuel innovative solutions as we move toward next generation energy systems."
The Department of Energy (DOE) currently funds 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), which were selected for five-year funding in 2009. With support for those centers set to expire in July 2014, DOE has announced a competition for a second round of funding.
The competition will be open to proposals both from existing EFRCs seeking renewal of support and from institutions seeking to establish new EFRCs under the program. Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms are eligible to compete and are encouraged to form multi-disciplinary research teams that may include partnerships with other institutions. Selection will be based on a rigorous peer review process.
Awards are expected to range from $2 million to $4 million per year per center for each of five fiscal years. Total funding for the new investment, pending Congressional appropriations, is expected to be about $100 million per year for the five-year awards.
Mandatory Letters of Intent to apply are due on Nov. 13, 2013, with full applications due on Jan. 9, 2014. Award selection is expected by June 2014.
Since their establishment by the Department's Office of Science, the EFRCs have produced thousands of peer-reviewed scientific publications and hundreds of inventions at various stages of the patent process. EFRC research has also benefited a number of large and small firms, including start-up companies.
The centers selected from the current competition will help lay the scientific groundwork for fundamental advances in solar energy, biofuels, transportation, energy efficiency, electricity storage and transmission, carbon capture and sequestration, and nuclear energy.