Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

US DoE funds four renewable energy projects

Steve Rogerson
June 28, 2016
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is to receive $1.38m from the US Department of Energy (DoE) to lead four projects for the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). The funds will be used to advance promising renewable energy-related technologies with commercial potential and help strengthen the partnerships between the national labs and private-sector companies.
The total value for the four projects including industry and NREL cost share is $2.78m.
By working with strategic industry partners for each project, the NREL will help validate the direction of the research across a variety of technologies from advanced hydrocarbon fuels to wind energy, through the lifecycle of each TCF project.
"We are excited to be working with these partners on cutting-edge energy technologies with commercial potential," said Kristin Gray of NREL's technology transfer office. "Through DoE's Technology Commercialization Fund, NREL will lend its leading expertise to help get these products to market, continuing our mission to make an impact in the renewable energy sector."
The announced NREL TCF projects are:

  • Improved wind plant energy production by application of wind-plant integrated systems engineering model (Wisdem) to wind plant controls – NextEra Energy Resources and Ystrategies.
  • DC power system topology for telecommunications facilities – Verizon Wireless.
  • Scaled production of high octane biofuel from biomass-derived dimethyl ether – Enerkem.
  • Thermal management for planar package power electronics – John Deere Electronic.
"Deploying new clean energy technologies is an essential part of our nation's effort to lead in the 21st century economy and in the fight against climate change," said Lynn Orr, DoE's under secretary for science and energy. "The funds announced today will help to accelerate the commercialisation of cutting-edge energy technologies developed in our national labs, making them more widely available to American consumers and businesses."
The TCF is administered by the DoE's Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), which works to expand the commercial impact of the DoE's portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities. In February, OTT announced the first department-wide solicitation to the DoE national laboratories for TCF funding proposals. It received 104 applications from across the laboratory system, for projects in two topic areas: projects for which additional technology maturation is needed to attract a private partner; and cooperative development projects between a laboratory and industry partners, designed to bolster the commercial application of a lab-developed technology.
"The great work at the national labs and across DoE's programmes make the department one of the largest supporters of technology transfer within the federal government," said Jetta Wong, director of the OTT. "These TCF selections will further strengthen those efforts across a broad spectrum of energy technologies and advance DoE's important mission to transition technologies to the market."
All projects selected for the TCF will receive an equal amount of non-federal funds to match the federal investment. Nearly $16m in funding will support 54 projects at 12 national labs involving 52 private-sector partners.
The NREL is the DoE's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. It is operated for the Energy Department by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy.
The DoE has entered into a memorandum of understanding with technical professional organisation the IEEE to address grid modernisation challenges with a focus on the distribution level.
The MoU concentrates on both planning and operational challenges that include integrated resource planning and schemes for coordination, control and information management.
“IEEE is pleased to, once again, join forces with the DoE and benefit our industry with an unbiased and independent industry perspective and global reach by jointly undertaking the initiatives that will positively affect the way we live in the future,” said Damir Novosel, IEEE PES president. “IEEE is a valuable resource for government entities invoking positive regulatory and policy changes. This MoU is an example of the role we serve to bring together like-minded communities and agencies to have a helpful impact on the global energy challenges we face today.”