The Department of Energy (DOE) is offering approximately $28 million in cost-shared funding for research and development of advanced energy systems.  According to three separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), the department is looking for research into advanced combustion systems, advanced turbines, and gasification.

“Advanced energy conversion systems are designed to enable efficient, low-cost, and near-zero emission energy from existing and new fossil fuel power plants,” a DOE release says.

University Turbine Systems Research

The University Turbine Systems Research (UTSR) program has available $5.15 million to fund laboratory/bench scale research and development projects in six technical topic areas:

  • Low-NOx combustion technology development for “air-breathing” advanced turbines
  • Advanced cooling technology development for “air-breathing” advanced turbines
  • Advanced materials technology development for “air-breathing” advanced turbines
  • Big data analytics
  • Advanced instrumentation
  • Pressure gain combustion

DOE anticipates awarding funding for six to nine projects. Up to three awards are expected in each of the first three topic areas, and one per topic in the last three areas. “DOE anticipates that awards will be in the $600,000 range (DOE funding level) range for Topics 1-5. However, the Recipient will be required to cost share a minimum of 20% of the total project costs,” the FOA says. “DOE anticipates that awards will be in the $350,000 range (DOE funding level) for Topic 6. However, the Recipient will be required to cost share a minimum of 20% of the total project costs.”

Applications are due by 8 p.m. (EDT) July 20. Funding under the UTSR program is only available to members of academia or university-associated research institutions.

Small Scale Modularization of Gasification Technology Components for Radically Engineered Modular Systems (REMS)

Approximately $12.8 million is available for projects related to small scale modularization of gasification technology components for radically engineered modular systems. “The overall technical goal of this FOA is the development of REMS for combined heat and power, and the development of retrofit options to process clean syngas to other products such as liquid fuels and chemicals in lieu of power,” the FOA says.

Funding is available for projects in three interest areas: modularization of emerging gasification technologies; modularization of advanced air separation technologies to enable oxygen-blown gasifier within REMS context; and small field pilot front-end engineering design (FEED) study.

DOE expects to make five to seven awards, with a maximum of three awards in any area of interest. A maximum of $3.3 million is available in the first area of interest, with $6 million available in the second area of interest and $3.5 million available for the final area of interest.

Applications for this FOA are due August 8 by midnight EDT.

Advanced Combustion Systems: Existing Plant Improvements and Transformational Technologies

DOE has $10 million available in funding for advanced combustion systems for existing plant improvements and transformational technologies. “The objective of this FOA is to solicit and competitively award applied research projects to develop advanced combustion systems that will make substantial progress toward enabling cost-competitive, coal-based power generation systems to remain in operation and to expand coal use while meeting the goal of achieving near-zero pollutant emissions,” according to the FOA.

The FOA calls for fundamental or bench-scale research and development projects in two areas of interest: advanced combustion coal power plant improvement technologies and advanced combustion-enabling technologies and advanced concepts.

In the first topic area, DOE is particularly interested in projects that address condition-based monitoring of coal-based power generation boilers or opportunities for existing coal-based units.

In the second topic area, DOE is looking for projects that address chemical looping combustion, pressurized oxy-combustion, or advanced concepts and novel approaches.

DOE anticipates making approximately six awards under the FOA, at a maximum of $2 million each for those in the first topic area and a maximum of $1.5 million for those in the second topic area. DOE does not anticipate awarding more than three awards in any subtopic area.

Applications for the advanced combustion systems FOA are due August 8 by 8 p.m. EDT.

Budget uncertainty

Interestingly, the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal requests only $46 million in funding for the Advanced Energy Systems program. It looks as though the budget request could be a sticking point for awarding the funds. “Funding for all awards are contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by Congress for the purpose of this program and the availability of future-year budget authority,” the UTSR FOA says. Each FOA contains a similar disclaimer.

Abby L. Harvey is a POWER reporter.