The US Energy Department has today announced it will invest more than US$54 million in 13 projects, leveraging approximately an additional US$17 million in cost share from the private sector. The projects are aimed to develop technologies and materials to help American manufacturers dramatically increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs needed to power facilities. These projects form part of the Obama administration’s strategy for investing in emerging technologies that create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and enhance the competitiveness of US companies in today's global markets.
According to US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the 13 competitively selected projects demonstrate the Energy Department's commitment to reclaiming the country’s position as the world's leading investor in clean energy, having nearly doubled clean, renewable energy use in the country over the past few years.
“When it comes to clean energy,” Chu said, “[it] should be invented in America, made in America and sold around the world.” By investing in these technologies, the Department is supporting “an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy and skills for American workers.”
The US Energy Department states that manufacturing is central to the American economy and that industrial processes consume about one-third of all energy produced in the US. This investment represents a huge opportunity to boost American competitiveness through advances in energy-saving technologies.
As a result of these projects, it is hoped they will produce large improvements in energy productivity, reduce pollution and boost product output, while creating jobs and helping American companies expand export opportunities globally.
Dr. Leo Christodoulou, program manager for the Energy Department's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), noted that “Manufacturing converts a wide range of raw materials, components and parts into finished goods that meet market expectations. These projects are an example of how AMO partners with industry, small business, universities and other stakeholders to pursue emerging technologies that can expand or create new markets – generating high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and enhancing US competitiveness.”
The following projects were selected:
Air Products and Chemicals – Allentown, PA – US$1,200,000
In March this year, Air expanded its hydrogen selenide capacity at its facility in Hometown, PA.
American Iron and Steel Institute – Salt Lake City, UT – US$7,120,000
Delphi Automotive Systems – Rochester, NY – US$3,700,000
General Motors – Warren, MI – US$2,672,124
Lyondell Chemical Company – Newtown Square, PA – US$4,500,000
MEMC Electronic Materials – St. Peters, MO – US$3,680,000
Restructuring charges, impairments and write-downs led to MEMC's reporting a fourth-quarter loss of US$1.48 billion, US$1.4 billion of which was due to the one-off charges. The company is currently resizing its solar wafer operations in light of ASP declines and reduced market demand. In addition, in May, S&P downgraded MEMC’s senior debt to a B+ rating.
MIT – Cambridge, MA – US$1,000,000
PolyPlus Battery Company – Berkeley, CA – US$8,999,920
Research Triangle Institute – Research Triangle Park, NC – US$4,800,000
Teledyne Scientific and Imaging – Thousand Oaks, CA – US$2,110,000
The Dow Chemical Company – Midland, MI – US$9,000,000
The University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah – US$1,460,285
Third Wave Systems – Minneapolis, MN – US$4,069,882