DOE to Invest $22 Million in Energy Projects in Underserved Regions

Jul 12, 2021


The Department of Energy (DOE) announced $22 million in funding for nine projects that will bring research and development (R&D) opportunities to underserved regions of the United States. The projects will help promote R&D in key areas that will promote energy innovation to achieve the administration’s goal of reaching net-zero by mid-century. Projects will focus on emerging energy fields of particular importance to the U.S. energy landscape, including grid integration, solar energy, wind energy, and advanced manufacturing.
In the news release announcing the project, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, who recently spoke to the ASME community during the inaugural ASME Policy Impact event, commented that “America’s toughest problems, from tackling the climate crisis to curing diseases, are too big to not be tapping the expertise of the best and brightest scientific minds in every pocket of our country,” and that this new program will “spur more technological advancements and job creation—particularly in regions that historically don’t see enough of the benefits of these investments.”
The funding will be administered through DOE’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program. The nine projects will each preform R&D in nine unique states that have not traditionally had easy access to R&D opportunities. The projects include:
  • Boise State University, Boise, ID ($5,000,000): Addressing information needed to build dye components for quantum computing.
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, MT ($3,361,000): Working on the identification of enzymes and pathways that allow a class of bacteria known as methanogens to bio-mine iron, nickel, molybdenum, cobalt, and sulfur from pyrite mineral sources.
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE ($2,940,000): Developing and applying new experimental and computational tools to understand dynamics of chemical reactions in organic materials.
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK ($2,018,000): Modernizing the power grid to fully accommodate renewable energy sources.
  • University of Maine, Orono, ME ($2,340,000): Preparing sensors to monitor and control energy conversion systems.
  • University of Nevada - Reno, Reno, NV ($2,493,068): Developing an understanding to build stable controllable spin systems for quantum information sciences and quantum computing.
  • University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI ($1,245,227): Building and testing response systems to protect floating wind turbines and maximize power production during difficult weather conditions.
  • University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL ($999,948): Expanding knowledge of specialized liquids to enhance plastic recycling and reuse in advanced manufacturing processes. 
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV ($2,250,000): Characterizing ionized gases or plasmas whose applications range from understanding solar flares, to advanced rocket propulsion, to building fusion power systems.

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