DOE opens funding opportunity to support Co-Optima initiative

Source: By By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the availability of up to $7 million in project funding to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low emissions engines as part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative.

According to the DOE, eligibility for the funding is restricted to U.S. institutions of higher education and nonprofit research institutions that operate as a division under U.S. institutions of higher education.

Information released by the DOE explains that this year the DOE’s Biotechnology Technologies Office and Vehicle Technologies Office jointly funding a consortium of nine DOE national laboratories to begin a multi-year project in support of the Co-Optima initiative. Projects selected for funding will complement this ongoing DOE national laboratory project and support the broader initiative. The DOE said the national laboratory project includes two parallel research thrusts. The first aims to improve near-term conventional spark-ignition engine efficiency. The second aims to enable the full operability of advanced compression ignition engines. “The research cycle for each thrust includes identifying fuel candidates, understanding their characteristics and combustion performance, and determining market-transformation requirements—such as cost, GHG reduction, feedstock requirements, scalability, and infrastructure compatibility—while actively engaging with stakeholders and future collaborators,” said the DOE in a press release.

The DOE is specifically seeking proposals that address fuel characterization and fuel property prediction, kinetic measurement and mechanism development, emissions and environmental impact analysis, the impact of fuel chemistry and fuel properties on particulate emissions, small-volume, high-throughput fuel testing, or additional barriers. Within the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), the DOE states that it is not interested in applications that fall outside the technical parameters outlined in the FOA, applications for proposed technologies that are not based on sound scientific principles, applications solely focused on the production of ethanol, applications that do not explicitly support the Co-Optima initiative, and applications that do not include any link to biofuels.

The DOE said it expects to make up to 12 awards under the FOA. Concept papers are due Aug. 15, with the full application deadline set for Sept. 18. An information webinar is set for Aug. 8. Additional information is available on the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Exchange website under DE-FOA-0001461.