The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has announced its intent to issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that will boost the domestic production of large metallic near net shape (NNS) components, a critical step on the path toward deploying America’s clean power-generating technology.
Near net shape manufacturing techniques include advanced production methods such as metal Additive Manufacturing, Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) and Powder Metallurgy (PM), as well as die, sand and investment casting.
At present, approximately 95% of US carbon-free power generation relies on complex systems consisting of large (over ten ton) near net shape metallic components. NNS manufacturing reduces both the amount of raw materials and energy used to create these components, by creating components that are close to their final – ‘net’ – shape, and the amount of post-processing operations that follow the manufacturing process.
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However, the US domestic manufacturing base currently lacks the capacity and technical capabilities to competitively produce these large-scale components. This inability directly results in a continued reliance on foreign supply chains to produce critical systems needed to achieve the Biden Administration’s goals of obtaining 100% clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
The FOA, led by EERE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO), will impact a broad cross-section of the US manufacturing sector, including clean energy generation, transportation, industrial machinery, heavy equipment, and domestic infrastructure.
In February 2022, the DOE responded to US President Joe Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 14017 by publishing ‘America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition”, which identified the urgent need for domestic production of NNS components. This FOA will also address the advanced manufacturing technology challenges identified in the 2022 ‘National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing.’ Given the urgency to develop and deploy these technologies, identifying pathways that accelerate the timeline of technology development to commercialisation will be central to these projects.
EERE intends to issue this FOA via EERE Exchange in April 2023. The funding opportunity is expected to provide approximately $30 million in federal funding. EERE envisions awarding multiple financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately two to three years.