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Updated 8 February, 2004

Department of Energy









The Department of Energy (DOE) has multiple missions that contribute to the environment and natural resources R&D portfolio. These mission areas include basic science and technology, environmental quality, energy resources, national security, and industrial competitiveness.

Types of Environment and Natural Resources Research Supported

  • Energy Resources: DOE conducts extensive R&D in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and other advanced energy supply and demand technologies. These various R&D programs are targeted at achieving diversity and efficiency in energy use, efficiency in its generation, and a more secure national economy. At the heart of some of DOE's programs is the concept of sustainable development. Many of these programs are linked under a conceptual framework that supports pollution avoidance, rather than the traditional end-of-the pipe controls for industrial processes.

  • Environmental Quality: DOE supports substantial R&D in the area of environmental cleanup and remediation technologies. Because of the Department's enormous cleanup mission, DOE is sponsoring some of the most extensive and advanced R&D nationally and internationally to determine safer, cheaper, faster, and more effective ways to clean up contaminated environments, and to reduce or prevent the emission of environmental pollutants. An area of particular R&D interest is radioactive mixed wastes. Technology leveraging with the private sector results in cost-shared risk through dollar leveraging. The result is innovative technology systems to be transferred to the private sector for commercialization.

  • Fundamental Science: DOE programs in science and technology include significant contributions to global change research. Research into the underlying phenomena -- ranging from sophisticated modeling of global climate to extensive field programs to gather data on critical processes -- are all part of DOE's efforts in this area. Advanced sensors are being developed to further the accuracy and precision of key climatic measurements. These activities are conducted in response to DOE's need for assessing the environmental consequences of energy production and use. Additionally, the Department conducts significant research into local air quality and air pollution phenomena, providing a basic science perspective into urban air pollution issues, as well as providing analytical tools that support the prediction and mitigation of consequences from natural disasters.

Research Funding Opportunities

DOE uses various competitive procurement processes. In addition, DOE accepts and funds unsolicited proposals, establishes grants, and encourages work with its national laboratories through competitive procurement opportunities announced at each laboratory.

The following list is partial and, especially for the year FY97, should be viewed as preliminary. Continuing budget uncertainties requires such; it is recommended that you contact the identified individuals for more current information.

Resource Management

The Office of Fossil Energy sponsors R&D in the area of resource utilization and management, specifically in the category of assessing resources and their use. These multi-year projects apply to both FY96 and FY97. R&D activities follow:

  • Develop and demonstrate economical and efficient tools and techniques for recovering natural gas from geologically complex low permeability reservoirs containing large volumes of natural gas

  • Develop techniques for removing large quantities of impurities from raw natural gas, thus upgrading the quality of the gas to a more pure stream of methane and without poisonous concentrations of hydrogen sulfide

  • Maximize oil recovery in an environmentally sound manner by providing an understanding of reservoir architecture, reservoir geometry dimensions, boundaries, fluid/rock properties, and fluid flow characteristics within the reservoir

  • Promote crude oil extraction simulation by developing process models, reservoir models, economic models, and tracer models suitable for use by independent oil companies; by developing improved oil recovery stimulation methods that support water flooding, pressure maintenance, sweep improvement, infill drilling, and horizontal wells; and by developing advanced oil recovery methods based on chemical flooding, gas flooding, microbial, thermal, and innovative methods.
    Peter Lagiovane
    202.586.8116 (voice)

Atmospheric Sciences, Global Change, Bioremediation, and Environmental Remediation

The DOE Office of Energy Research publishes an annual notice of continuation of availability of grants and cooperative agreements supporting work in environmental sciences programs relevant to CENR. The notice for FY96 was published in the Federal Register on October 16, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 199, page 53609).

Office of Energy Research programs address research on the physical, chemical, and biological processes that cycle and transport energy-related materials through the atmosphere and terrestrial and ocean environments. They also address research on global environmental change from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Announcements of the availability of grants in the following specific program areas relevant to the CENR will also be published in the Federal Register in 1996:

  • The Atmospheric Radiation Program (ARM), which is part of the USGCRP
    Patrick Crowley
    301.903.3069 (voice)

  • The Integrated Assessment Program , which is also part of the USGCRP

    John Houghton
    301.903.8288 (voice)

  • The Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research Program , which is part of the CENR Subcommittee on Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Solid Wastes (STSHSW)
    Jay Grimes
    301.903.4183 (voice)

  • A fundamental research program on environmental remediation and restoration at DOE sites, an activity also relevant to STSHSW
    Michelle Broido
    301.903.4183 (voice)

  • The Terrestrial Ecology and Global Change Program , an interagency endeavor that is part of the USGCRP
    Jerry Elwood
    301.903.4583 (voice)

In 1997, the general program announcement of continuation of grants and cooperative agreements in environmental sciences programs relevant to CENR activities will be published. Specific program announcements soliciting grant applications are also anticipated for the Integrated Assessment Program.

Energy and the Environment

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) implements a balanced portfolio of research development and commercialization efforts to provide America with clean energy today and to make sure we have inexhaustible supplies of clean energy in the future. Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies play a key role in improving our environment, energy security, and economy through creation of new businesses and entrepreneurial opportunities here and abroad. Programs are structured to address the needs of major end use sectors including buildings, transportation, industry, and utilities. EERE conducts a broad range of activities including basic and applied research, cost-shared demonstrations, and market collaborative and education programs.

A number of initiatives in these program areas support the Administration's Climate Action Plan. A key approach in R&D -- as well as the nearer term outreach efforts -- is building customer-driven partnerships with industry, businesses, State and local governments, universities, and energy consumers. The major R&D programs are outlined below:

  • Building Technologies : The Office of Building Technologies operates a strategic array of programs including research and development of advanced technologies and construction practices; collaborative programs with industry and consumers to deploy high-efficiency technologies into the commercial and residential markets; and national standards for appliances and buildings to ensure that they meet minimum energy efficiency levels.
    Donna Hawkins
    202.586.9389 (voice)

  • Transportation Technologies : The Office of Transportation Technologies focuses on R&D activities to reduce the Nation's use of petroleum, thereby increasing energy security, and to provide environmental benefits through reduced air pollution. Key program elements include research, development, and deployment of alternative fuels, advanced propulsion systems, electric and hybrid vehicles, and fuel cells. DOE works in partnership with industry on the "Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles," an Administration initiative to commercialize a mid-size car in the next decade that features three times the fuel economy of today's models.
    Nancy Blackwell
    202.586.8027 (voice)

  • Utility Technologies : The Office of Utility Technologies leads the Federal government's effort to help America's electric power producers develop clean, renewable, and more economical forms of energy. These technologies will help U.S. industry capture a significant share of the global electric power market over the next decade. Research, development, and deployment efforts are underway in photovoltaics, biomass power, geothermal, wind, hydrogen, solar thermal, electromagnetic fields, superconductivity, and energy storage.
    Kurt Klunder
    202.586.4564 (voice)

  • Industrial Technologies : The Office of Industrial Technologies (OIT) conducts research, development, and technology outreach in partnership with industry to improve energy efficiency and productivity in manufacturing industries. A key focus of the OIT program is the Industries of the Future approach, which includes a strategy of close collaboration with industry that catalyzes R&D in seven energy-intensive industries (i.e., aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, metal casting, petroleum refining, and steel). OIT implements a number of nearer term deployment efforts including the program on National Industrial Competitiveness through Energy, Environment, and Economics (NICE3); Industrial Assessment Centers; the Motor Challenge Program; and Climate Wise.
    Marsha Quinn
    202.586.2097 (voice)

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