Technology Commercialization Fund awards $ 5 million to NREL to bring more technology to market

Article courtesy of NREL, the US Department of Energy.

This year, the US Department of Energy (DOE) funded 16 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) awards as part of its Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). The $ 5 million DOE funded – roughly one-third of the available TCF budget allocated to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) – is matched with an additional $ 5.1 million in unpaid funds. federal government provided by industry partners.

The TCF program aims to increase the number of energy technologies developed in DOE national laboratories that graduate to achieve business impact, as well as improve the department’s technology transition system with a forward-looking and competitive approach to laboratory-partnerships. industry.

“The TCF program supports the collaborative development of NREL technologies for market deployment,” said Eric Payne, TCF Capture Manager. “TCF fills permanent gap in federally funded RDD & D [research, development, demonstration, and deployment] in that funding is available for lab-scale development, scaling, piloting, prototyping, other experiments, etc., needed to bring lab technologies to market.

Across the national laboratory system, the DOE this year announced $ 30 million under the TCF to mature a total of 68 projects featuring promising energy technologies.

A way forward for NREL projects

From aviation fuel to self-healing distribution networks, NREL’s winning 2021 submissions span multiple areas of technology. Four projects received half a million dollars or more, with “Efficient HVAC for energy storage“Receiving $ 595,557,” Grid-Edge Intelligent Distribution Automation System for Self-Healing Distribution Grids “receiving $ 550,000, and”Field tests and validation of HOPPAnd “Inexpensive Superinsolation for Cryogenic and Highly Insulating Applications” receiving $ 500,000 each.

NREL molecular biology researcher Min Zhang, in partnership with Novozymes, North Carolina State University and the University of Kentucky, also stands out in a list of outstanding projects. The project “Robust carbonic anhydrases for a new biological, sustainable and low energy consumption CO2 Scrubbing Process from Waste Gases ”, will design and optimize new enzymes, called“ carbonic anhydrase ”, to capture carbon dioxide from combustion emissions and convert them to bicarbonate, which can be used for a myriad of applications.

“By establishing the TCF program in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress recognized that national laboratories innovate at an early stage in science and technology, but it would remain science fiction without proper funding and without work with industry to actually deploy, ”Payne said.

The full list of this year’s winning projects from NREL:

  • Fuel additives for solid hydrogen carriers (FLASH) for electric aviation, $ 250,000
  • Marketing of the distribution network load modeling tool to improve DER interconnection studies, $ 250,000
  • Inexpensive superinsulation for cryogenic and highly insulating applications, $ 500,000
  • Particle thermal energy storage and efficient heat exchanger for the heat supply of carbon-free industry, $ 249,500
  • Robust carbonic anhydrases for a new organic, sustainable and energy-efficient CO2 Waste gas washing process, $ 250,000
  • Bio-based insecticides resulting from the thermochemical conversion of biomass, $ 100,000
  • Network edge intelligent distribution automation system for self-healing distribution networks, $ 550,000
  • Field tests and validation of HOPP, $ 500,000
  • Digital twin of offshore wind turbines for predicting component failures, $ 200,000
  • OpenOA, $ 249,950
  • Desiccant air conditioning coupled by electrodialysis, $ 250,000
  • Reduce protein production costs to allow cell-free biocatalysis, $ 400,000
  • Efficient HVAC with energy storage, $ 595,557
  • Support of the hydrogen-based electricity network using electrolysers with value stacking (HYPER-V), $ 250,000
  • Distributed energy resource management system based on optimal power flow in real time (DERMS), $ 299,329
  • Development of high quality, very coarse-grained Cd (Se, Te) thin films for CdTe solar modules, $ 150,000

Long-term impact of TCF prices

Since 2016, NREL has received more than $ 22.6 million in funding for 72 TCF projects. Funding for NREL researchers through the TCF has helped create breakthrough technologies.

“Our ability to continue to receive a significant portion of funding is a testament to our researchers’ ability to work with partners and the quality of their proposals each year,” said Anne Miller, director of the NREL Technology Transfer Office (TTO). “TCF is a program that supports the mission of NREL by enabling the deployment of technologies developed in the laboratory. “

In 2019, an NREL project focused on flexible perovskite solar cells received $ 745,500 from the TCF to further study low-cost, high-output, high-specific-power, flexible photovoltaic technologies that could enable ‘use of portable or portable photovoltaic devices. The new perovskite material received a prestigious R&D price 100, a distinction awarded to the 100 most innovative technologies of the previous year.

With $ 750,000 from TCF in 2018, Collaboration of NREL with Autodesk transforms the way architects and engineers design buildings by ensuring that the tool most used for this process, Revit, incorporates energy efficiency aspects. By tightly coupling building information modeling with building energy modeling, Revit allows building professionals to easily assess the impacts of their design choices on energy consumption.

Learn more about the TCF program at

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