Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Laboratory(EERE) and Nanotechnology


The United States has made considerable investment in nanotechnology research, with applications envisioned for medicine and health, National defense, electronics, and other areas. This topic solicits grant applications for nanotechnology research for energy efficiency and renewable energy applications, particularly to enhance efficiency in the ways that energy is converted and used in the U.S. Grant applications for “cross-cutting” uses of nanotechnology are especially encouraged – for example, the application of sensors and controls, originally developed for the Department of Defense, to a manufacturing industry for civilian applications. Grant applications must clearly demonstrate how the particular nanotechnology approach will save energy in the buildings, industry, or transportation sectors, or in the conversion and storage of energy, including solar and wind energy conversion. Specific areas of interest include commodity manufacturing, building HVAC, lighting, refrigeration, power electronics, wind turbines, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal systems, high-temperature gas turbines, and technologies that could contribute to a hydrogen based economy. The wider the application and the greater the potential energy benefits, the better.

Grant applications are sought only in the following subtopics.

a. Nanomaterials for Industrial and Building Applications—Grant applications are sought to develop nanomaterials – i.e., materials that derive unique properties from a structure or function imparted to a material within the physical dimensions of 1-10 nanometers – for the enhancement of energy efficiency in the US manufacturing and building sectors. Approaches of interest may include materials that provide unique wear characteristics, high temperature characteristics, improved manufacturing capabilities, and improved building energy use in HVAC and lighting. “Cross-cutting” applications of new nanomaterials to the energy end-use sectors are especially encouraged.

Questions – contact Charles Russomanno (

b. Nanotechnology Applications in Electronics, Sensors, and Controls—Grant applications are sought to apply nanotechnology to the development of electronics, sensors, and controls for increasing energy efficiency. Areas of interest include: (1) energy usage in manufacturing, buildings, or vehicles; (2) renewable energy conversion and storage; and (3) reduced electricity usage by computer components and peripherals.

Questions – contact Charles Russomanno (

c. Nanotechnology Applications in Renewable Energy Conversion—Grant applications are sought to apply nanotechnology to improve the performance or increase the efficiency of renewable energy systems. Areas of particular interest include solar energy conversion (especially photovoltaics), wind energy, biomass power for utility applications, hydrogen production and storage for transportation, including the development of fuel cell technology, and geothermal energy. Because many of these areas already have been the subject of nanotechnology R&D, grant applications must include a review of the pertinent technical and patent literature.

Questions – contact Charles Russomanno (

d. Nanomaterials for Lithium-Ion Batteries Used in Energy Storage—Lithium-ion cells represent the basic building blocks of batteries proposed for the next generation of advanced hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Most lithium-ion cells in production today use some form of carbon, composed of relatively spherical particles several microns in diameter, as the active material in the negative electrode. A new family of electrode materials is now being reported in the technical literature. Some of these materials, such as some alloys, perform poorly as electrode materials when they are prepared as relatively large particles, but perform much better when synthesized as nanoparticles. Therefore, grant applications are sought to develop new nanomaterials for use in the negative electrodes of lithium-ion cells that could be used in HEVs. To be attractive for HEV applications, the materials must be inexpensive, environmentally benign, and able to be charged and discharged at high rates for many cycles over a period of many years. (Specific performance goals for vehicular batteries are described in more detail in Topic ___.) Grant applications must: (1) provide a clear explanation as to why the selected materials would be expected to function in a cell and why the nanoparticle composition will offer performance benefits over current electrode materials; and (2) describe a viable pathway for the synthesis of these materials, along with a discussion any issues that may be associated with their use in batteries. Phase I should include the synthesis of the nanomaterials in a reproducible manner, an assessment of chemical and physical properties, and a demonstration of performance in small lithium-ion cells. In Phase II, the synthetic methods should be refined so that the materials can be produced in larger quantities at a cost that is no more than that of carbons currently in use; the materials should be characterized to confirm that they can be fabricated into practical electrodes (i.e., coated onto an appropriate substrate); and the materials should be demonstrated in cells at least 200 mAh in size.

Questions – contact Charles Russomanno (


1 Chemicals Industry of the Future, U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Website. (URL:

2 Building Technology Roadmaps, U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Website. (URL:

3 Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program “Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan”, U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Website. (URL:

4 Solar Energy Technologies Program, U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Website. (URL:

5 FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies, “Multi-Year Program Plan”, U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Website. (URL:

6 Building Technologies, “Multi-Year Program Plan,” U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Website. (URL:

7 Industrial Technologies Program, “Strategic Plan,” U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Website. (URL:

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