FY19 Appropriations Bills: DOE Applied R&D

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Publication date: 
8 June 2018
Number: 
70

In their fiscal year 2019 spending bills, House and Senate appropriators again reject the Trump administration’s proposal for deep cuts to the Department of Energy’s applied energy R&D programs, and they state their opposition to its policy of focusing support on “early-stage” research.

In their fiscal year 2019 spending proposals for the Department of Energy’s applied R&D programs, Senate appropriators maintain the large budget increases that Congress provided for fiscal year 2018. House appropriators are seeking additional increases for most of these programs, while rolling back funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy.

Figures for selected accounts are available in FYI’s Federal Science Budget Tracker. Additional funding and policy guidance can be found in the House and Senate Appropriations Committee reports on the bills, and a side-by-side comparison of report language is included at the end of this bulletin.

The full House passed its DOE spending legislation today on a vote of 235 to 179 as part of a package of three spending bills. In the Senate, appropriators approved their draft spending bill on May 24 but no date has been set for floor consideration.

Appropriators firmly reject Trump energy R&D policy

As it did for fiscal year 2018, the Trump administration has proposed large cuts across DOE’s applied R&D programs for fiscal year 2019 including eliminating ARPA–E altogether. It justifies these cuts on the grounds that the federal government should concentrate on funding “early-stage” work, leaving “mature” or “later-stage” projects to private industry.

The administration’s budget request ultimately had little bearing on final fiscal year 2018 appropriations. However, last year, House appropriators at first partially acceded to administration policy, agreeing in their proposal to terminate ARPA–E and nearly halve EERE’s budget.

There is no such accedence this year. In addition to avoiding deep topline cuts, House appropriators explicitly oppose the administration’s R&D policy, stating in their report,

Early-stage research and development has an appropriate place in a balanced research portfolio. However, the Committee believes that a focus on only early-stage activities will forego the nation’s scientific capabilities in medium- and later-stage research and development and may not fully realize the technological advancements possible under the Department’s applied energy activities.

The Senate report likewise rejects the administration’s policy, stating,

The Committee believes that such an approach will not successfully integrate the results of early-stage research and development into the U.S. energy system and thus will not adequately deliver innovative energy technologies, practices, and information to American consumers and companies.

House opposition to ARPA–E diminishes

In addition to rejecting the administration’s R&D policy, House appropriators have reversed course on ARPA–E, proposing it receive $325 million. Although that is an 8 percent cut from its current budget, it would still be higher than any previous annual budget in the agency’s 10-year history. Senate support for ARPA–E has been consistently strong and its report proposes a further 6 percent funding increase, which would bring its budget to $375 million.

The combination of the House Science Committee’s recent bipartisan support for ARPA–E, the House appropriators’ about-face, and consistent Senate support has diminished the momentum behind the administration’s proposal to eliminate the agency.

During floor debate on the DOE spending bill yesterday, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) proposed an amendment to defund ARPA–E. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for DOE’s budget, spoke in “strong opposition” to it, citing the agency’s successes and remarking it is not lawmakers’ job to be “lemmings for the administration.” The amendment was defeated on a vote of 123 to 295.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Congress raised EERE’s budget from $2 billion to $2.3 billion for fiscal year 2018, and the Senate proposes to maintain that level this year. The House proposes to cut the budget back 10 percent to $2.1 billion, which is still relatively high by recent historical standards.

Throughout this bulletin, figures in parentheses represent the enacted fiscal year 2018 appropriation.

Solar energy ($242 million). The Senate proposes to cut funding for the solar energy program by 1 percent to $240 million. The House proposes a 22 percent decrease to $189 million. Although that is far higher than the House’s proposal of $90 million last year, it would still be the program’s lowest budget since the George W. Bush administration. The House report does not specify particular targets for cuts. It does, though, encourage DOE “to research high efficiency thin-film photovoltaics and processes for high-speed, low-cost processing to produce stable materials on flexible substrates.” The Senate report expresses support for “early-stage research on photovoltaics based on earth abundant materials,” and specifies $5 million for projects focused on advanced thermal desalination technologies.

Wind energy ($92 million). The Senate and House both propose reducing the budget for the wind energy program, the Senate by 13 percent to $80 million, and the House by 8 percent to $84 million. The House report specifies at least $7 million for research, development, and testing. It encourages DOE “to allocate this funding to perform experimental testing, including aeroacoustics, and any required equipment and instrumentation, to validate high-fidelity wind plant models, and to develop wind plant controls in support of the Department’s Atmosphere to Electrons (A2e) initiative.”

The Senate report again specifies at least $30 million for the National Wind Technology Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It also specifies at least $30 million should be allocated among “early-stage research on materials and manufacturing methods and advanced components that will enable accessing high-quality wind resources,” technology development projects to make wind energy economically competitive, and activities to accelerate R&D on offshore wind power.

Water power ($105 million). The Senate proposes keeping funding for the water power program flat at $105 million, while the House proposes a $10 million, or 10 percent cut.

Geothermal technologies ($81 million). The House proposes to cut funding for the geothermal technologies program by 14 percent to $70 million. The Senate proposes to increase funding for it 5 percent to $85 million and specifies a steady $30 million budget for the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE).

Advanced manufacturing ($305 million). The House proposes to cut funding for the advanced manufacturing program by 15 percent to $260 million, while the Senate proposes to increase funding 2 percent to $311 million. The Senate and House proposals both specify $25 million for the Critical Materials Institute based at Ames Laboratory and $56 million for four Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation (CEMI) Institutes. The Senate report also proposes that DOE issue a solicitation for an additional CEMI institute, and it includes language and funding specifications supporting R&D on an array of additive manufacturing technologies.

Energy-water desalination hub ($20 million). Within the advanced manufacturing program, the House proposes no funding for the Energy-water desalination hub. The Senate proposes $25 million for the hub but expresses concern over DOE’s failure to complete the award process for it during the first two years it has been funded.

Other EERE programs.

  • Vehicle technologies ($338 million). The Senate proposes level funding, while the House proposes a 10 percent cut to $305 million.
  • Bioenergy technologies ($222 million). The Senate proposes a 3 percent cut to $215 million, while the House proposes a 7 percent cut to $205 million.
  • Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies ($115 million). The Senate proposes level funding, while the House proposes a 7 percent cut to $102 million.
  • Building technologies ($221 million). The Senate proposes a 2 percent increase to $225 million, while the House proposes an 18 percent cut to $180 million.

Office of Nuclear Energy

The budget for the Office of Nuclear Energy has recently seen rapid growth, from $833 million in fiscal year 2015 to just over $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2018. The Senate proposes a virtually level budget for fiscal year 2019, while the House proposes a further $140 million, or 12 percent increase.

Reactor concepts ($237 million). Much of the recent increase in funding for nuclear energy has been driven by interest in developing new kinds of reactors. This year, the House proposes a $133 million, or 56 percent increase for the program, which would bring its budget to $370 million. The Senate proposes a 27 percent increase to $302 million.

Advanced small modular reactor R&D. The administration requested $54 million for a one-year R&D effort focused on advanced small modular reactors. The House proposes $100 million “to support technical, first-of-its-kind engineering and design and regulatory development of next generation light water and non-light water small modular reactors,” including $10 million for seismic analysis. The Senate report does not specify a figure for the program.

Versatile fast test reactor ($35 million). Led by Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), the House has been leading a charge to create a new fast neutron source user facility that could facilitate the development of certain kinds of advanced reactors and new reactor fuels. House appropriators propose to ramp up work on the project to $65 million, and, during floor debate, Weber pressed for that figure to be increased to $100 million in final spending legislation. Senate appropriators, though, are only proposing $15 million.

Modeling and simulation ($28 million and $30 million). The House proposes to increase the budget for nuclear energy advanced modeling and simulation by 42 percent to $40 million, while the Senate proposes to maintain its current $28 million budget. The Senate also proposes maintaining funding for the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, an Energy Innovation Hub, at $30 million, while the House proposes to return it to its fiscal year 2017 level of $24 million.

inl-fuel-rod-simulation.jpg

Idaho National Laboratory hosts the Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE), a platform that runs applications such as the nuclear fuel rod simulator BISON, pictured here.

Idaho National Laboratory hosts the Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE), a platform that runs applications such as the nuclear fuel rod simulator BISON, pictured here.

(Image credit – INL)

Energy delivery and cybersecurity

Reorganization. The administration has divided the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability into an Office of Electricity Delivery and an Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). The combined House proposals for the new offices of $323 million represents a 30 percent increase over the fiscal year 2018 budget of the old office, while the Senate proposal of $260 million represents a 5 percent increase.

Cybersecurity for energy delivery systems ($76 million). The House proposes increasing the budget for cybersecurity by 54 percent to $117 million, while the Senate proposes a 7 percent increase to $81 million. Increasing the security of the electric grid is currently a major DOE priority.

Energy storage ($41 million). The Senate proposes level funding for the energy storage program within the Electricity Delivery office, while the House proposes a 24 percent increase to $51 million. The House report encourages DOE to “launch a new initiative aimed at aggressively driving down costs and improving the performance of a diverse set of grid-scale storage technologies.” The Senate report contains language supporting DOE’s new crosscutting “Beyond Batteries” initiative.

Office of Fossil Energy R&D

The Senate proposes virtually level funding for R&D in the Office of Fossil Energy at $727 million, while the House proposes an 8 percent increase to $785 million.

Carbon capture ($101 million). The House proposes a 6 percent decrease for carbon capture to $95 million, while the Senate proposes a 3 percent increase to $104 million.

Carbon storage ($98 million). The House proposes a 1 percent decrease for carbon storage to $97 million, while the Senate proposes a 5 percent increase to $103 million.

Report Language

The following expandable tabs offer side-by-side comparisons of language from the House and Senate appropriators' reports on their respective bills. This language details funding proposals, policy guidance, and the appropriators' views on different research programs.

Department-wide

Research and development policy

House: Research and Development Policy.—The President’s budget request proposes to refocus the Department on an early-stage research and development mission. Early-stage research and development has an appropriate place in a balanced research portfolio. However, the Committee believes that a focus on only early-stage activities will forego the nation’s scientific capabilities in medium and later-stage research and development and may not fully realize the technological advancements possible under the Department’s applied energy activities. The Committee provides funding to support a more comprehensive approach that includes medium and later-stage research, development, deployment, and demonstration activities. The Department is expected to follow this comprehensive approach and expend funding in an expeditious manner, to include the issuance of funding opportunity announcements and awards of funds.

Senate: The budget request proposes a shift away from later-stage research and development activities to refocus the Department on an early-stage research and development mission. The Committee believes that such an approach will not successfully integrate the results of early-stage research and development into the U.S. energy system and thus will not adequately deliver innovative energy technologies, practices, and information to American consumers and companies. The Committee directs the Department to implement mid- and late-stage research and development activities as directed in this report in a timely manner.

Crosscutting initiatives

Senate: The recommendation supports several crosscutting initiatives funded in prior years that reach outside of individual program offices to draw on the diverse disciplines within the agency as a whole. These initiatives, which address the Energy-Water Nexus; grid modernization; subsurface science, technology and engineering research, development, and deployment; cybersecurity; advanced materials, and the Beyond Batteries Initiative have allowed for a more comprehensive review of complex issues.

Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research Initiative

Senate: Subsurface Crosscut.—The Committee supports the ongoing Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research [SubTER] Initiative, focused on revolutionizing sustainable subsurface energy production and storage through transformational improvements in the ability to access, characterize, predict, and adaptively manipulate subsurface fracture and flow processes. SubTER aims to double reservoir recovery, decrease the environmental footprint, and enhance energy security and public safety. The Committee supports the SubTER program’s approach to increasing domestic supply of oil, gas, and geothermal energy resources by manipulating the permeability of subsurface rock formations to injection fluids. To validate methods which enhance oil and gas recovery from fracking wells, the Committee encourages the Department to conduct pilot field tests of promising technologies with university and industry partners to reduce permeability and control the flow of fluids in the subsurface with targets of blocking highly permeable pathways that reduce sweep efficiency in porous rock and plugging fractures in shales.

Advanced materials

Senate: Advanced Materials.—The Committee supports the Department’s attention to advanced materials research and development, focusing on lightweight materials and composites, and corrosion and materials under extremes. The Committee understands in previous years, other program offices independently had standalone existing materials programs, and continues to support formal coordination across offices through the Materials Working Group. Continued coordination supports the Department’s ability to impact the materials development cycle from scientific discovery to technological innovation and deployment.

Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy

Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy

House: The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA–E) supports research aimed at rapidly developing energy technologies whose development and commercialization are too risky to attract sufficient private sector investment but are capable of significantly changing the energy sector to address our critical economic and energy security challenges. Projects funded by ARPA–E include such wide-ranging areas as production processes for transportation fuel alternatives that can reduce our dependence on imported oil, heating and cooling technologies with exceptionally high energy efficiency, and improvements in petroleum refining processes.

The Department is directed to disburse funds appropriated for ARPA–E on eligible projects within a reasonable time period, consistent with past practices.

Senate: The Committee recommends $375,000,000 for the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy [ARPA–E], an increase of $375,000,000 above the budget request. Within available funds, the Committee recommends $33,250,000 for program direction.

ARPA–E was established by the America COMPETES Act of 2007 following a recommendation by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report. Since receiving its first funding in fiscal year 2009, ARPA–E continues to catalyze and support the development of transformational, high-impact energy technologies to ensure the Nation’s economic and energy security and technological leadership. Project sponsors continue to form strategic partnerships and new companies, as well as secure private sector funding to help move ARPA–E technologies closer to the market.

The Committee definitively rejects the short-sighted proposal to terminate ARPA–E, and instead increases investment in this transformational program and directs the Department to continue to spend funds provided on research and development and program direction. The Department shall not use any appropriated funds to plan or execute the termination of ARPA–E.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

General direction

Senate: Congressional Direction.—The Committee directs the Department to maintain a diverse portfolio of early-, mid-, and late-stage research, development, and market transformation activities. Regular consultation with industry is encouraged to avoid duplication of private-sector efforts. The Committee further directs the Department to fully execute the funds appropriated in this act, as directed in this report, in a timely manner and to keep Congress apprised of progress in implementing funded programs, projects, and activities. Further, the Committee directs the Department to give priority to stewarding the assets and optimizing the operations of EERE-designated user facilities across the Department of Energy complex. In future budget requests, the Committee directs EERE to demonstrate a commitment to operations and maintenance of facilities that support the Department’s critical missions.

Workforce development

Senate: Workforce Development.—The development of a skilled workforce is critical to the successful deployment and long-term sustainability of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies. The Committee encourages funding within EERE programs to be allocated to training and workforce development programs that assist and support workers in trades and activities required for the continued growth of the U.S. energy efficiency and clean energy sectors. Furthermore, the Committee encourages the Department to work with 2-year, public community, and technical colleges for job training programs that lead to an industry-recognized credential in the energy workforce.

Renewable energy

Photovoltaics R&D

House: Solar Energy.—The Committee encourages the Department to research high efficiency thin-film photovoltaics and processes for high-speed, low-cost processing to produce stable materials on flexible substrates that can be used in residential and commercial power and be integrated into buildings, vehicles, and food production. Research programs are encouraged to include cooperation between industry and academia and to include advanced optical characterization that enables development of strong correlations between materials, cell optical properties, and the photovoltaic power performance of the working solar cells.  

Senate: The Committee recommends $70,000,000 for Photovoltaic Research and Development to develop new or improved high-performance cell materials and architectures and achieve greater than 40- percent cell efficiencies. The Department is encouraged to cooperate with industry and academia in its research and development efforts.

Photovoltaics manufacturing

Senate: The Committee recommends $30,000,000 for Manufacturing Competitiveness to develop advanced low-cost manufacturing process technologies, including thickness reduction and faster processing with fewer steps. Within this area, the Committee also supports early-stage research on photovoltaics based on earth abundant materials focusing on scalable production methods, material stability, and ultrahigh efficiency tandem photovoltaic cell manufacturing approaches. To directly address fundamental barriers that could limit new technology’s adoption, the Committee believes the fastest approach for rapid commercialization of new photovoltaic technologies would be to bring national laboratory capabilities and academia, in partnership with early-stage companies to develop a new photovoltaic U.S. manufacturing base. The Department is directed to create a 5-year domestic manufacturing capability consortium focused on inherently scalable production methods such as solution processing, roll-to-roll manufacturing, the science of inherent material stability, and ultrahigh efficiency through tandem manufacturing. Within available funds, the Committee recommends not less than $10,000,000 for the first year of the consortium.

Concentrating solar power

Senate: Within available funds, the Committee recommends $55,000,000 for Concentrating Solar Power research, development, and demonstration to reduce overall system costs, better integrate subsystem components, develop higher-temperature receivers, and improve the design of solar collection and thermal energy storage. Within this amount, $5,000,000 is recommended for competitively selected projects focused on advanced thermal desalination technologies.

Solar power systems integration

Senate: Further, the Committee recommends $49,500,000 for Systems Integration to address the technical barriers to increased solar penetration on the grid, including grid reliability, dispatchability, power electronics, and communications. The Committee encourages research and development efforts to target grid storage improvements, demand-response and load-shaping technologies, and modeling and planning tools for distributed energy resources.

Wind energy

House: Wind Energy.—Within available funds, the recommendation such as high winds, icing, and deep water. In addition, the Committee encourages the Department to continue its work in advancing innovative technologies for offshore wind development, including freshwater, deepwater, shallow water, and transitional depth installations. The Committee supports the efforts by the Department to establish an offshore wind research and development consortium.

Senate: The Committee recommends $80,000,000 for Wind Energy. The Committee supports research using high-performance computing, modeling and simulation, including the Atmosphere to Electrons initiative, and reliability and grid integration efforts. Further, the Department is directed to give priority to stewarding the assets and optimizing the operations of the Department-owned wind research and development facilities. Within available funds, the Committee recommends not less than $30,000,000 for the National Wind Technology Center, which shall include the development of a large-scale research platform to support next-generation wind energy science and manufacturing and systems integration of multiple energy generation, consumption, and storage technologies with the grid.

Within available funds, the Committee recommends not less than $30,000,000 for the Department to prioritize early stage research on materials and manufacturing methods and advanced components that will enable accessing high-quality wind resources, on development that will enable these technologies to compete in the marketplace without the need for subsidies, and on activities that will accelerate fundamental offshore-specific research and development such as those that target technology and deployment challenges unique to U.S. waters. Further, the Committee recommends not less than $10,000,000 for existing national-level offshore wind test facilities.

Offshore wind energy acoustics

Senate: The Committee supports the Department’s research on the effects of offshore wind, especially the impact of marine sound and other stressors on marine mammals, and encourages the Department to work with nonprofit research institutions, like aquariums, to continue this work.

Marine and hydrokinetic technology

House: Water Power.—Within available funds, the recommendation provides $59,000,000 for marine and hydrokinetic technology research, development, and deployment activities, including research into mitigation of marine ecosystem impacts of these technologies. The Committee directs the Department to continue development of the open-water wave energy test facility with previously provided funds.

The Committee directs the Department to continue competitive solicitations to increase energy capture, reliability, and survivability at lower costs for a balanced portfolio of wave and current (ocean, river, tidal) energy conversion systems and components.

The Committee expects the Department to continue to support collaborations between the previously designated Marine Renewable Energy Centers and the national laboratories, including personnel exchanges, to support research, development, and deployment of marine energy components and systems. In addition, the Department is directed to continue its coordination with the U.S. Navy on marine energy technology development for national security applications at the Wave Energy Test Site and other locations.

Senate: Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Research, Development, and Deployment.—The Committee recommends $70,000,000 for marine and hydrokinetic technology research, development, and deployment activities, including research into mitigation of marine ecosystem impacts of these technologies.

Within the funding available for marine and hydrokinetic technology, $30,000,000 is recommended for a balanced portfolio of competitive solicitations to support industry-led and university research, development, and deployment of marine and hydrokinetic technologies; and support wave, ocean current, tidal and in-river energy conversion components and systems across the high- and low-technology readiness spectrum to increase energy capture, reliability, survivability, and integration into local or regional grids for lower costs and to assess and monitor environmental effects. Within this amount, not less than $8,000,000 is recommended to support collaborations between universities, Marine Renewable Energy Centers, and national laboratories. Further, not less than $5,000,000 is recommended to prioritize infrastructure needs at marine and hydrokinetic technology testing sites operated by Marine Renewable Energy Centers.

The Department is directed to support ongoing design of the previously awarded open-water wave energy test facility within available funds. The Department is also directed to continue its coordination with the U.S. Navy on marine energy technology demonstration. The Committee encourages close coordination between the Department and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, other relevant agencies and industry to reduce the amount of time to permit marine energy test and validation projects.

Geothermal technologies

Senate: The Committee recommends $85,000,000 for Geothermal Technologies. Within available funds, $53,000,000 is recommended for Enhanced Geothermal Systems. To facilitate necessary technology development and expand understanding of subsurface dynamics, the Committee recommends $30,000,000 for the continuation of activities of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy [FORGE], with activities to include ongoing novel subsurface characterization, full-scale well drilling, and technology research and development to accelerate the commercial pathway to largescale enhanced geothermal systems power generation. Further, the Committee recommends $15,000,000 for Hydrothermal, $10,000,000 for Low-Temperature and Co-produced Resources, and $7,000,000 for Systems Analysis.

The Committee recognizes that enhanced geothermal systems are versatile, inherently modular, and scalable from residential utilization to district heating opportunities and large power parks that can provide baseload capacity. The Committee encourages the Department to support enhanced geothermal system applications for industrial and residential uses.

The Committee directs the Department to continue its efforts to identify prospective geothermal resources in areas with no obvious surface expressions.

Advanced manufacturing

General direction

House: Advanced Manufacturing.—Within available funds, the recommendation provides $80,000,000 for Advanced Manufacturing Research and Development Projects; not less than $4,205,000 for improvements in the steel industry; $20,000,000 for process informed science, design, and engineering of materials and devices operating in harsh environments; $5,000,000 for research into the materials and manufacturing process development of high-strength, light-weight nano-crystalline metal alloys; and $5,000,000 for process-informed catalyst science to direct chemical reactions in fullscale industrial manufacturing processes and to develop new industrial product applications.

Senate: The Committee recommends $311,000,000 for Advanced Manufacturing. The Committee recommends $80,000,000 for Advanced Manufacturing Research and Development Projects. The Committee recommends $171,000,000 for Advanced Manufacturing Research and Development Facilities.

Institutes and facilities

House: The recommendation provides $56,000,000 for four Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation (CEMI) Institutes, $25,000,000 for the Critical Materials Institute, and $20,000,000 for the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) and the Carbon Fiber Test Facility.

Senate: The Committee recommends $56,000,000 to support four Clean Energy Manufacturing Institutes [CEMIs], including $14,000,000 each for the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions [REMADE] Institute, and the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment [RAPID] Institute, and a CEMI selection to be announced.

The Committee notes the PowerAmerica Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute and the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute have both received $70,000,000 over the past 5 years to stand up a sustainable effort, and encourages the Department to work with one or more national laboratories and universities to build a sustainable plan for these institutes. The Committee is pleased with the ongoing work of the innovative advanced manufacturing opportunities through the CEMIs, and directs the Department to issue a solicitation and make an award for the sixth CEMI not later than October 1, 2018.

The Committee recommends $25,000,000 to continue Critical Materials Hub.

Energy-Water desalination hub

House: The recommendation provides no funding for the Energy-Water Desalination Hub.

Senate: The Committee recommends $25,000,000 for the third year of research and development efforts to lower the cost and energy intensity of technologies to provide clean, safe water through the Energy- Water Desalination Hub. The Committee is concerned that after 2 years of funding for this hub in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the Department still has not completed the cooperative agreement solicitation and award process to begin work in this important research area. Therefore, upon enactment of this act, the Committee directs the Department to brief the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress on schedule and milestones for soliciting and evaluating proposals from qualified consortia and awarding a 5-year cooperative agreement.

Clean energy materials manufacturing demonstration facility

Senate: To ensure grid reliability and resiliency, energy storage at scale must be achieved. Validation of materials for production of energy storage is both slow and expensive, currently taking an average of 18 years from concept to commercialization. For technologies such as batteries, materials innovation is traditionally separate from scale-up and device integration, and this disconnect slows progress. Therefore, within the amounts recommended, the Committee recommends $20,000,000 for a manufacturing demonstration facility specifically focused on accelerating the processes needed for clean energy materials to go from discovery to scale-up, which will drive manufacturing innovation, lower the cost of battery energy storage, and spur job creation by bringing down the timeline for validation from an average of 18 years to an average of 5 years.

Industrial Technical Assistance program

Senate: The Committee recommends $40,000,000 for the Industrial Technical Assistance program. Within this amount, the Committee recommends $12,000,000 to provide ongoing support for the Combined Heat and Power [CHP] Technical Assistance Partnerships [TAPs] and related CHP Technical Partnership activities at the Department, including $5,000,000 for the TAPs and $7,000,000 for related CHP activities. The Committee also encourages the Department to prioritize research, development, and demonstration of district energy systems, and work to accelerate greater deployment of district energy systems in communities, campuses, industries, and cities nationwide by supporting adaptive regional and local technology, and market opportunities.

The Committee encourages the Department to continue its efforts of extending the Industrial Assessment Centers to underserved areas and furthering the geographic reach of the program to regions that are less likely to be adequately serviced because of their distance from the current Centers. Therefore, the Committee recommends $10,000,000 to expand the technical assistance provided by the Industrial Assessment Centers and fund no fewer than two but no more than four additional centers. The Committee recognizes the great potential for energy savings in municipal, industrial, and agricultural wastewater treatment systems and encourages the Department to expand on the technical assistance provided by the Industrial Assessment Centers to address these needs.

Within the funds recommended for the Industrial Assessment Centers, the Committee recommends $3,000,000 for wastewater treatment technical assistance.

Additive manufacturing

House: Within available funds for the MDF, up to $5,000,000 is for the development of additive systems and automation technologies that have the potential to deposit multiple materials allowing for hybrid material solutions. In addition, the Committee supports the Department’s ongoing efforts to work on bio-based composites, bio-derived materials, and nano/microcellulose research. The Committee supports the budget request for Research and Development Consortia to conduct early-stage research and development in high priority areas and also supports early-stage research in materials, process knowledge, and applications of modeling and simulation relevant to energy in manufacturing.  

Senate: The Committee recommends $25,000,000 for the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility for early-stage research in additive manufacturing, carbon fiber and composites development, and manufacturing of multi-material systems to reduce the energy intensity and life-cycle energy consumption of domestic manufactured products, thereby increasing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing industries. Within funding for the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, $5,000,000 is recommended for the development of additive systems and automation technologies that have the potential to deposit multiple materials allowing for hybrid material solutions that enhance performance in extreme environments and enable precise property profiles.

The Committee recognizes the important role large-area additive manufacturing can play in helping to advance the deployment of building, transportation, and clean energy technologies. The Committee directs the Department to further foster the partnership between the National Laboratories, universities, and industry to use bio-based thermoplastics composites, such as micro- and nano-cellulosic materials, and large-area 3–D printing to overcome challenges to the cost and deployment of building, transportation, and energy technologies.

In addition, the Committee recommends $20,000,000 to support the development of additive manufacturing involving nanocellulosic feedstock materials made from forest products to overcome challenges to the cost and deployment of building, transportation, and energy technologies, and encourages the Department to leverage expertise and capabilities for large-scale additive manufacturing through partnerships between universities and the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.

National smart manufacturing plan

Senate: The Committee directs the Department to develop a national smart manufacturing plan that will identify areas where the Department can facilitate more rapid development, deployment and adoption of smart manufacturing technologies. The Department shall submit a plan to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress not later than 180 days after the enactment of this act.

Building technologies

General direction

House: Building Technologies.—The Committee encourages the Department to continue work on transactive controls for the integration of buildings, the grid, and renewable energy assets, including photovoltaics, and encourages the continuation of this work. Within available funds, the recommendation includes up to $25,000,000 for transactive controls research and development, of which $5,000,000 is to continue promoting regional demonstrations of new, utility-led residential connected communities for advancing smart grid systems; $28,000,000 for Commercial Buildings Integration; $23,000,000 for Residential Buildings Integration; and $25,000,000 for solid state lighting. If the Secretary finds solid-state lighting technology eligible for the twenty-first century lamp prize, specified under section 655 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, $5,000,000 is provided in addition to funds recommended for lighting research and development.

Senate: The Committee recommends $225,000,000 for Building Technologies. Within available funds, the Committee recommends $39,000,000 for the Commercial Building Integration program for a program of core research and development of more cost-effective integration techniques and technologies that could help the transition toward deep retrofits. In addition, the Committee encourages the Department to increase engagement with private sector stakeholders to develop market-transforming policies and investments in commercial building retrofits.

Further, within available funds for Emerging Technologies, the Committee recommends not less than $18,000,000 for HVAC & Refrigeration R&D, $14,000,000 for Building Envelope and $5,300,000 for Building Energy Modeling.

Solid state lighting

Senate: Within available funds for Emerging Technologies, the Committee recommends $25,000,000 for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities related to advanced solid-state lighting technology development. If the Secretary finds solid-state lighting technology eligible for the Twenty-First Century Lamp prize, specified under section 655 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, $5,000,000 shall be made available to fund the prize or additional projects for solid-state lighting research and development.

Solar Decathlon

Senate: The Committee is concerned with the Department’s recently announced plans to cancel the 2019 Solar Decathlon, pending a reevaluation of the program. The Committee recommends not less than $5,000,000 for the Solar Decathlon. The annual competition has engaged thousands of university students to apply energy research and development to the practical concerns of housing by balancing design excellence and smart energy production and innovation, energy efficiency, and market potential. While the Committee understands that commercialization of technology is important, this should not become the sole or even the primary focus of the competition. Therefore, not later than 30 days after the enactment of this act, the Department shall brief the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress on its plans for preserving the Solar Decathlon in its current form, any adjustments to the competition, and plans by the Department to accelerate adoption of suitable energy and water efficient technologies in the marketplace.

Vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell technologies

General direction

House: Vehicle Technologies.—Within available funds, the recommendation includes $130,000,000 for Batteries and Electric Drive Technology, of which $7,000,000 is to enable extreme fast charging and advanced battery analytics; $25,000,000 for Energy Efficient Mobility Systems; $25,000,000 for Materials Technology; $2,500,000 for Advanced Vehicle Competitions; and $20,000,000 to continue the SuperTruck II program to further improve the efficiency of heavyduty class 8 long- and regional-haul vehicles. The Committee also supports research and development to lower the cost of batteries for electric vehicles through cobalt-free materials and roll-to-roll manufacturing.

Senate: The Committee recommends $337,500,000 for Vehicle Technologies, including $7,000,000 for operations and maintenance of the National Transportation Research Center. Within this amount, the Committee recommends not less than $163,200,000 for Battery and Electrification Technologies to lower the cost of batteries across light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles through battery processing science, advanced battery chemistries, materials research, and modeling and simulation of battery performance.

The Committee recommends not less than $38,100,000 for electric drive research and development including high power density electric drive systems, wireless charging and power electronic for extreme fast charging.  The Committee also supports research and development to lower the cost of batteries for electric vehicles through cobalt-free materials and roll-to-roll manufacturing. Funding in this area shall also support research and development to improve electric motor technology through advanced material processing and the use of high-performance computing for multi-physics discovery to understand these new processes.

Hyperloop technology

House: The Committee is aware of the efforts to develop hyperloop transportation systems around the country, which have the potential to increase the energy efficiency of our nation’s transportation system. The Committee directs the Department to provide to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act a report that models the demands on the electric grid and the overall energy consumption of the transportation sector of varying levels of network penetration of an interconnected hyperloop system. The report should include information about how these systems could be integrated into the electric grid and identify any technological constraints of the grid that must be addressed to allow the broad adoption of hyperloop technologies.

Materials technology

Senate: The Committee recommends $60,000,000 for Materials Technology. Within this amount, $25,000,000 is recommended for early-stage research on multi-material joining and propulsion materials at the national laboratories, and carbon fiber-reinforced composites at the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility.

Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies

House: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies.—Within available funds, $2,000,000 is for the EERE share of the integrated hybrid energy systems work with the Office of Nuclear Energy and $7,000,000 is to enable integrated energy systems using high and low temperature electrolyzers with the intent of advancing the H2@Scale concept. The Committee recognizes the progress of the program and continues support for stationary, vehicle, motive, and portable power applications of this technology. The Department is encouraged to explore technologies that advance novel onboard hydrogen tank systems and trailer delivery systems, and that reduce the cost and improve the performance of hydrogen generation and storage systems. The Department is encouraged to work with the Department of Transportation on coordinating supporting hydrogen fueling infrastructure. The Committee recognizes the need to support the development of alternative fueling infrastructure for U.S. consumers. Accordingly, the Department is encouraged to collaborate with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to allow accurate measurement of hydrogen at fueling stations.

Senate: The Committee recommends $115,000,000 for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies. Within the amounts recommended, the Committee recommends $39,000,000 for Hydrogen Fuel Research and Development for efforts to reduce the cost and improve the performance of hydrogen generation and storage systems, hydrogen measurement devices for fueling stations, hydrogen compressor components, and hydrogen station dispensing components. The Department shall continue to research novel onboard hydrogen tank systems, as well as trailer delivery systems to reduce cost of delivered hydrogen. Further, the Department is directed to support research and development activities that reduce the use of platinum group metals, provide improvements in electrodes and membranes and balance-of-plant components and systems.

The Committee recommends $1,000,000 for Systems Analysis, including research on in-situ metrology for process control systems for manufacturing of key hydrogen system components. Within the amounts recommended, $19,000,000 is recommended for Hydrogen Infrastructure Research and Development. Further, the Department is directed to continue the H2@Scale Initiative, which couples current research efforts within the program with new opportunities for using hydrogen to provide grid resiliency and advance a wide range of industrial processes for the production of fuels, chemicals, and materials.

The Committee recommends $19,000,000 for Technology Acceleration activities, including $3,000,000 for manufacturing research and development, and $7,000,000 for industry-led efforts to demonstrate a hydrogen-focused integrated renewable energy production, storage, and transportation fuel distribution/retailing system. 

Bioenergy technologies

General direction

House: Bioenergy Technologies.—Within available funds, $27,000,000 is for feedstock supply and logistics, of which $14,000,000 is for the national lab consortium and $5,000,000 is for upgrades at the Biomass Feedstock National User Facility to extend its capabilities and maximize benefits. The recommendation provides $32,000,000 for algal biofuels, of which $2,000,000 is for further research and development activities to support carbon capture from the atmosphere (ambient air) using algae-to-energy technologies. Within available funds for Conversion Technologies, the recommendation provides $20,000,000 to continue the Agile Biology Foundry and $5,000,000 to improve the efficiency of community and smaller digesters that accept both farm and food wastes.

Senate: The Committee recommends $215,000,000 for Bioenergy Technologies. Within available funds, the Committee recommends not less than $30,000,000 for Advanced Algal Systems to sustain the investment in development of algal biofuels. The Committee further recommends $30,000,000 for Feedstock Supply and Logistics, $50,000,000 for Demonstration and Market Transformation, and $10,000,000 for Analysis and Sustainability. The Committee further recommends $95,000,000 for Conversion Technologies. Within this amount, $20,000,000 is recommended to continue activities of the Agile Biology Foundry intended to achieve substantial improvements in conversion efficiencies and the scaleup of biological processes with lower development costs and lead times.

Nuclear energy

Integrated University Program

House: Integrated University Program.—The Committee recommends $5,000,000 to continue the Integrated University Program, which is critical to ensuring the nation’s nuclear science and engineering workforce in future years.

Senate: The Committee recommends $5,000,000 for the Integrated University Program. The Committee notes the administration repeatedly attempts to defund this program, despite continued success in developing highly qualified nuclear specialists to meet national needs.

Enabling technologies, modeling, and simulation

House: Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies.—Within available funds, $50,000,000 is for Crosscutting Technology Development, of which $10,000,000 is for work on advanced sensors and instrumentation and $10,000,000 is for hybrid energy systems; $50,000,000 is for the Nuclear Science User Facilities, of which $10,000,000 is for nuclear energy computation system and support; $40,000,000 is for Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation, of which $6,000,000 is for MW-scale reactor modeling and simulation; and $24,300,000 is for the Energy Innovation Hub. The Department is directed to continue to treat the Energy Innovation Hub and the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation programs as separate funding activities.

Senate: The Committee recommends $149,200,000 for Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology. Within this amount, the Committee recommends $50,000,000 for Crosscutting Technology Development, $28,200,000 for Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation, $41,000,000 for National Scientific User Facilities, and $30,000,000 for the Energy Innovation Hub for Modeling and Simulation. The Committee notes that the budget request made the short-sighted recommendation to cancel the Energy Innovation Hub for Modeling and Simulation for the second year in a row, despite the important contributions it continues to make to improving operations and safety of operating nuclear reactors, and its likely application in licensing accident tolerant fuels and other advanced technologies.

Reactor concepts R&D and demonstration

House: Reactor Concepts Research, Development, and Demonstration.— Within available funds, $100,000,000 is for Advanced Small Modular Reactor Research and Development to support technical, first-of-its-kind engineering and design and regulatory development of next generation light water and non-light water small modular reactors, including $10,000,000 for seismic analysis; $155,000,000 is for Advanced Reactor Technologies, of which $34,000,000 is for fuel and graphite qualification, $22,000,000 is to complete the federal share of the two performance-based advanced reactor concepts, and $20,000,000 is for MW-scale reactor research and development; and $65,000,000 is for research and development to support efforts to develop a versatile fast test reactor. In support of the current fleet of reactors as they continue to ensure safe and reliable operations, the Committee includes $50,000,000 for the Light Water Reactor Sustainability program.

The Department is encouraged to build upon the success of the advanced reactor concepts program and explore ways to support research and development that would enable non-light water reactor demonstrations by the mid to late 2020s.

Senate: The Committee recommends $302,000,000 for Reactor Concepts Research, Development, and Demonstration. Advanced nuclear technologies hold great promise for reliable, safe, emission-free energy and should be a priority for the Department. The Department was previously directed to provide a report that sets aggressive, but achievable goals to demonstrate a variety of private-sector advanced reactor designs and fuel types by the late 2020s. The Department is directed to expedite that report and provide it to the Committee as soon as possible.

Advanced Reactor Technology.—Within available funds, the Committee recommends $150,000,000, for Advanced Reactor Technology, including $22,000,000 for the fourth year of the advanced reactor concepts program. The Committee supports the Department’s goal to accelerate reactor manufacturing, development, and deployment of advanced reactors. The Department is encouraged to leverage its technological capabilities in materials research and development, advanced manufacturing, high-fidelity modeling and simulation, sensors and control systems to transform the methods of reactor design, manufacturing, licensing and operation. The Committee recommends $30,000,000 above the budget request for the demonstration of a Transformational Challenge Reactor concept.

Versatile fast test reactor

House: … $65,000,000 is for research and development to support efforts to develop a versatile fast test reactor.

Senate: Versatile Fast Reactor.—The Committee supports the budget request and recommends $15,000,000 for the Versatile Fast Reactor. The Department was previously directed to provide a report that details all current programs and projects within the Office of Nuclear Energy, whether the Department plans to continue to support each program or project, and the expected out-year funding through completion of the program or project. The Department is directed to expedite that report and provide it to the Committee as soon as possible. Plutonium-238

Plutonium-238

House: The Department shall continue to work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ensure an adequate supply of plutonium-238 is available for future NASA space exploration missions.

Fuel cycle R&D and accident tolerant fuels

House: Fuel Cycle Research and Development.—Within available funds, the recommendation provides $128,559,000 for the Advanced Fuels Program, of which not less than $55,600,000 is to continue the participation of three industry-led teams of the cost shared research and development program on Accident Tolerant Fuels; not less than $20,000,000 is to support accident tolerant fuels development at the national laboratories and other facilities, including at the Advanced Test Reactor, the Transient Reactor Test Facility, and the Halden reactor; $3,000,000 is to continue research on ceramic cladding; and $15,000,000 is for additional support of capability development of transient testing, including test design, modeling, and simulation. The Committee notes that continued operation of the Advanced Test Reactor, the Transient Reactor Test Facility, and the Halden Reactor are critical to the success of the Accident Tolerant Fuels program and should be preserved.  Within available funds, the recommendation provides $50,000,000 for Material Recovery and Waste Form Development, of which $7,000,000 is for joint fuel cycle studies and up to $20,000,000 is for highly enriched uranium recovery preparation and testing to support needs for high assay low enriched uranium.

Senate: The Committee recommends $267,300,000 for Fuel Cycle Research and Development. Within available funds, $30,000,000 is recommended for Material Recovery and Waste Form Development, $6,000,000 is recommended for Materials Protection, Accountancy, and Controls for Transmutation, and $8,500,000 is recommended for Systems Analysis and Integration.

Senate: The Committee continues to place a high priority on the development of nuclear fuels with enhanced accident-tolerant characteristics to significantly mitigate the potential consequences of a nuclear accident. The Committee urges the Secretary to maintain focus and priority on achieving results in these efforts. The Committee recommends $125,000,000 for the Advanced Fuels program. The Department is directed to continue implementation of the accident tolerant fuels development program, the goal of which remains development of accident tolerant nuclear fuels leading to commercial reactor fuel assembly testing by 2022. Within this amount not less than $55,600,000 is recommended to continue the participation of three industry-led teams in Phase 2 of the cost-shared research and development program. Further, the Committee recommends not less than $20,000,000 to support accident tolerant fuels development at the national laboratories and other facilities, including at the Advanced Test Reactor, the Transient Reactor Test Facility, and the Halden reactor. In addition to amounts awarded through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, $3,000,000 is to continue the previously awarded small business projects to develop ceramic cladding for accident tolerant fuels.

High assay low enriched uranium

House: Within available funds, the recommendation provides $50,000,000 for Material Recovery and Waste Form Development, of which $7,000,000 is for joint fuel cycle studies and up to $20,000,000 is for highly enriched uranium recovery preparation and testing to support needs for high assay low enriched uranium.

Senate: Finally, the United States currently lacks either a supply of high assay low enriched uranium [HALEU], or a process to make HALEU, for advanced reactor designs that would require enrichment up to 20 percent, below levels considered usable for nuclear weapons. The Committee recommends $10,000,000 for the Department to begin work to design and build a demonstration facility to produce HALEU from naval spent nuclear fuel or other available HEU within the Department’s inventory. The Committee notes that using naval spent fuel for this purpose has the added benefit of potentially reducing the volume of waste that would eventually require disposal in a permanent repository.

Idaho National Lab and radiological facilities management

House: INL Operations and Infrastructure.—Within available funds, the recommendation includes $300,000,000 for INL Operations and Infrastructure to support the MFC and ATR Five-Year Plan to increase reliability and sustainability.

Senate: The Committee recommends $29,000,000 for Radiological Facilities Management, including $20,000,000 for continued safe operations and maintenance of Oak Ridge National Laboratory hot cells.

Nuclear waste

Used nuclear fuel disposition R&D

House:  The recommendation provides $62,500,000 to continue generic Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition research and development activities. The Department is directed to provide to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress a report on how electromagnetic technologies can be used to remediate nuclear waste. The report shall evaluate the scientific basis for these technologies, the effects on nuclear waste and storage in the United States, the benefit to the nuclear power industry, and the implications for national security. The Committee is aware of the Department’s ongoing research and development efforts regarding the safe transportation of spent nuclear fuel and encourages the Department to continue this important work to ensure that this fuel can be safely moved at the earliest opportunity.

Senate: The Committee does not adopt the budget proposal to eliminate research and development activities previously funded in this account. The Committee recommends $62,500,000 to continue research and development activities on behavior of spent fuel in long-term storage, under transportation conditions, and in various geologic media, which will continue to be important to developing a solution to the waste problem. Priority shall be placed on the ongoing study of the performance of high-burnup fuel in dry storage and on the potential for direct disposal of existing spent fuel dry storage canister technologies.

Integrated waste management system

Senate: The Committee continues to strongly support the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and believes that near-term action is needed to address the accumulating inventory of spent nuclear fuel. The Committee recommends $35,300,000 for Integrated Waste Management System activities. Funding is recommended to implement plans to consolidate spent nuclear fuel from around the United States to one or more private or government interim central storage facilities. Priority shall be given to accepting spent nuclear fuel from shutdown reactors, and to accelerating the development of a transportation capability to move spent fuel from its current storage locations. Within funds recommended, the Committee recommends up to $10,000,000 for the Secretary, within existing authorities, to contract for the management of spent nuclear fuel to which the Secretary holds the title or has a contract to accept title, which includes contracting with a private company for consolidated interim storage of spent nuclear fuel.

The Committee directs the Secretary to work across the administration and to report to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this act, with information regarding existing resources and funding opportunities for which communities hosting decommissioned/ decommissioning reactors may be eligible. The report shall also include what opportunities exist for these affected communities to consider alternative uses for these sites upon completion of the decommissioning process.

Yucca Mountain

House: The Committee fully supports the Administration’s position to move forward with Yucca Mountain. The Department, together with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), has repeatedly confirmed over the years that Yucca Mountain is a safe and secure location to permanently store the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. However, many more steps remain before Yucca Mountain begins to accept waste. The Department’s request restarts this process and brings the Department closer to fulfilling its legal obligation to take responsibility for storing the nation’s nuclear waste. The Committee appreciates the Department’s focus on Yucca Mountain and provides additional funds above the budget request to accelerate progress toward meeting the Department’s goals.

To restart the adjudication of the Yucca Mountain license application, the Committee provides a total of $267,700,000, an increase of $100,000,000 above the budget request. Funding for Yucca is provided in the following three accounts: $190,000,000 for Nuclear Waste Disposal, $30,000,000 for Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal, and $47,700,000 within the NRC.

Electricity delivery, energy storage, and cybersecurity

Reorganization

House: Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.—The Committee notes that the budget request proposed to split the Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability program into two new accounts: ‘‘Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response’’ and ‘‘Electricity Delivery’’. The Committee accepts this new account structure. The ‘‘Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response’’ account includes the subprograms ‘‘Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems’’ and ‘‘Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration’’. The ‘‘Electricity Delivery’’ account contains all other subprograms that were previously funded as part of the Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability program. In addition, each account contains separate Program Direction funding.

General direction

Senate: Early-Stage Research, Electricity Sector.—The Committee rejects the budget’s sole focus on early-stage research. Most utilities have limited research and development budgets, primarily due to regulatory constraints designed to keep electricity costs low for consumers. Additionally, utilities are unlikely to implement new concepts because most utilities would need to use their own systems for testing and evaluation, which could impact consumers. State public utility commissions also have limited budgets that do not support research and development. The States rely heavily on the Department’s technical assistance on assessments of data and tools to help them evaluate grid modernization alternatives. The Department plays a vital role, not only in early-stage research, but also in deployment, field testing, and evaluation.

EMP and geomagnetic disturbances

Senate: The Committee previously directed the Department to submit a report identifying strategic laboratory, university, and industry partnerships that would enhance national security and assist industry in addressing critical threats, including electromagnetic pulses [EMP], geomagnetic disturbances [GMD], cyber-attacks, and supply chain disruptions. The Committee looks forward to receiving this report expeditiously.  

The Committee supports the establishment of an EMP/GMD testing facility that can, without posing risk to the existing grid, replicate EMP/GMD events and cyber-attacks on a real world configuration of critical grid components and systems. Such a facility is necessary to expose entire substations, including devices such as Extra High Voltage Transformers and subsystem components, to the combined effects of the complete composite EMP Waveform for early stage research and development, as well as testing and validation purposes at both the transmission and distribution levels. The Committee encourages the Department to ensure such a facility to be a collaborative public-private effort between national laboratories, utilities, and research universities. Electricity Delivery House: Within available funds for

High-fidelity sensors

Senate: Within available funding, $5,000,000 is recommended to develop high fidelity sensors and use data analytics to improve operations in steady-state and under extreme conditions, and to continue early-stage research to develop low-cost, printable sensors that can predict the health of critical equipment in the electric delivery system.

Energy storage

House: The Committee supports energy storage projects that fully assess and demonstrate a portfolio of energy storage systems at grid relevant scales and maximize the value stream of these technologies to deliver tangible benefits across the operations, energy delivery, environmental, and financial sectors of the utility industry. Within available funds for Energy Storage, the Department is encouraged to launch a new initiative aimed at aggressively driving down costs and improving the performance of a diverse set of grid-scale storage technologies. The program will build off the Department’s prior research and development efforts in storage; include a suite of technologies capable of providing storage-like functions; and focus R&D efforts on technical, regulatory, and market issues necessary to achieve both existing grid-scale storage cost and performance targets, as well as targets for increased grid reliability, resiliency, or others as appropriate. The Electricity Delivery program is urged to coordinate its efforts with the Office of Science and EERE to ensure this new initiative best leverages the storage work being conducted within the Basic Energy Sciences program of the Office of Science and programs within EERE where appropriate. Low cost grid-scale energy storage technologies are critical to improving grid resiliency, reliability, security, and the successful integration of a broad range of generation sources.

The Committee notes the potential benefits that high power, high capacity batteries can provide for increased energy resilience in the face of adverse events and increasing deployments of intermittent technologies.  

House: The Department is directed to provide to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act a report on the potential use of next generation, high capacity and high power batteries in our energy system. The Department is directed to continue the ongoing work between the national laboratories, industry, and universities to improve grid reliability and resiliency through the strategic goals of the Grid Modernization Initiative.

Senate: The Committee recommends $41,000,000 for Energy Storage. Within available funds, the Committee continues to support development of an operational energy storage test facility capable of performance-driven data in a utility environment. The Committee supports the Beyond Batteries initiative and cost-shared demonstrations of energy storage technologies with the private sector needed to achieve the Department’s technology goal. Low-cost, grid-scale energy storage is crucial to a 21st century electricity grid, and the Department’s storage research, development and deployment efforts shall support nationwide efforts to improve grid resiliency, reliability, and security, empower consumers, and increase integration of a broad range of generation sources. The Committee encourages the Department to further the development and demonstration of non-battery advanced storage components, including compressed air energy storage development and demonstration to enable efficiency improvements for utility-scale, bulk energy storage solutions.

Senate: The Committee encourages the Department to make additional investments in cutting-edge storage technologies and relevant software, including conventional and advanced batteries. The Committee further encourages the Department to prioritize pilot scale initiatives with relevant utilities and State energy organizations that have the potential to advance real-time deployment and testing of these technologies. The Committee is supportive of research for novel materials and system components to resolve key cost and performance challenges for electrochemical energy storage systems based on earth abundant advanced chemistries. In addition, the Committee supports continued materials research that will improve the understanding and predictability of energy storage systems and components, as well as enable safer and more reliable materials and systems to be developed.

Senate: Beyond Batteries Initiative.—The Committee is supportive of the Department’s approach to consider energy storage holistically, and focus on advances in controllable loads, hybrid systems, and new approaches to energy storage. The Committee agrees that advances in this wide range of energy storage technologies will allow for loads to be combined with generation from all sources to optimize use of existing assets to provide grid services, and increase grid reliability. The Department shall continue to use all of its capabilities to accelerate the development of storage technologies, including the basic research capabilities of the Office of Science, the technology expertise of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the grid-level knowledge of the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response, and the rapid technology development capabilities of ARPA–E. The Committee directs the Department to coordinate efforts among various existing Department programs to maximize efficiency of funds and expand vital research. The Department is encouraged to prioritize achieving a long-term goal of deploying technologies at $100/kWh or less cost installed while being able to cycle twice per day, discharging for at least 4 hours, with a lifetime of roughly 20 years or at least 8,000 cycles.

Transformer resilience and advanced components

Senate: The Committee recommends $7,000,000 for Transformer Resilience and Advanced Components. Within available funds, the Committee directs the Department to continue to support research and development for advanced components and grid materials for low-cost, power flow control devices, including both solid state and hybrid concepts that use power electronics to control electromagnetic devices and enable improved controllability, flexibility, and resiliency.

Fossil energy

General direction

Senate: Early-Stage Research and Development.—The Fossil Energy Research and Development program advances transformative scientific research, development, and deployment of technologies that enable the reliable, efficient, affordable, and environmentally sound use of fossil fuels. Fossil energy is an essential part of the United States’ energy future, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory [NETL] supports the Office of Fossil Energy in this critical national priority. The Committee rejects the approach to only provide funds for early-stage research. Such restrictions would cripple innovation and development, and would reduce the number of energy technologies adopted in the marketplace.

Senate: The Committee supports the Department’s Cooperative Agreements to develop cost sharing partnerships to conduct basic, fundamental, and applied research that assist industry in developing, deploying, and commercializing efficient, low-carbon, nonpolluting energy technologies that could compete effectively in meeting requirements for clean fuels, chemical feedstocks, electricity, and water resources.

The Committee encourages the Department to fund activities that promote the reuse of captured carbon dioxide from coal, natural gas, industrial facilities, and other sources for the production of fuels and other valuable products. Within the ongoing CCS Program, the Department is encouraged to pursue an aggressive timeline to develop advanced carbon storage and utilization technologies and enhanced oil recovery that will improve the economics associated with domestic energy production. The Committee supports small-scale and modular coal-fired technologies with reduced carbon outputs or carbon capture that can support incremental power generation capacity additions that will enable a step-change in performance, efficiency, or cost of electricity as compared to the technology in existence on the date of enactment.

The Committee supports small-scale and modular coal-fired technologies with reduced carbon outputs or carbon capture that can support incremental power generation capacity additions that will enable a step-change in performance, efficiency, or cost of electricity as compared to the technology in existence on the date of enactment. The Committee recommends research and development as well as pilot-scale activities that will improve the performance, reliability and efficiency of both new- and existing-fossil fuel fired power plants, including solvent-based, heat-integrated carbon capture and storage research and testing at pilot-scale facilities installed at a commercial power plant with focus on solvent physical property impact on column performance, transformative approaches to mitigate emissions, and solvent quality maintenance to ultimately reduce capital and operating costs; development and testing of materials for highly efficient energy platforms; advancement of gasification systems; development of carbon products from coal; development of transformational energy conversion systems including pressurized oxycombustion, supercritical CO2 cycles, and chemical looping technologies; advancement of turbine technologies for higher efficiency and pressure cycles; development of fuel cells; coal and methane to liquid fuels; development and testing of advanced water management technologies; and continued investigation of rare earths recovery from coal and coal refuse.

Fossil energy roadmap

Senate: Fossil Energy Roadmap.—The Committee previously directed the Department to develop a cohesive policy and technology strategy and supporting roadmap or long term plan for its Fossil Energy Research and Development portfolio and supporting infrastructure. This roadmap will guide the discovery or advancement of technological solutions and incorporate lessons learned for the future of research, development, and demonstration efforts on advanced carbon capture and storage [CCS] technologies, advanced fossil energy systems, and crosscutting fossil energy research, as well as guide the discovery or advancement of technological solutions for the prudent and sustainable development of unconventional oil and gas. The Committee looks forward to receiving the roadmap expeditiously.

Transformational coal technology

House: The recommendation provides $25,000,000 to continue to support the solicitation for two large-scale pilots that focus on transformational coal technologies that represent a new way to convert energy to enable a step change in performance, efficiency, and the cost of electricity compared to today’s technologies. Such technologies include thermodynamic improvements in energy conversion and heat transfer, such as pressurized oxygen combustion and chemical looping, and improvements in carbon capture systems technology. In making the awards for large-scale pilots, the Department should prioritize entities that have previously received funding for these technologies at the lab and bench scale.

Front-end engineering and design

House: Within available funds for Coal CCS and Power Systems, the Committee supports new solicitations for Front-End Engineering and Design studies on projects that generate emissions suitable for utilization or storage. In addition, the Committee recommends research and development, as well as pilot scale activities, that will improve the performance, reliability, and efficiency of both new and existing fossil fuel fired power plants.

Senate: Within funds available for CCS and Power Systems, the Committee recommends not less than $30,000,000 to support a new solicitation for Front-End Engineering and Design [FEED] studies of two commercial-scale carbon capture power projects for retrofit at an existing coal plant and for a coal or natural gas plant that generates carbon dioxide suitable for utilization or storage. A FEED study shall incorporate work from feasibility studies and testing to provide specific project definition, detailed design, scopes of work, material purchasing and construction schedules, cost for project execution, and subsurface, structural, and environmental permitting requirements.

Recovery of rare earth elements and minerals

House: NETL Coal Research and Development.—The recommendation includes $20,000,000 for the Department to continue its ongoing external agency activities to develop and test advanced separation technologies and accelerate the advancement of commercially viable technologies for the recovery of rare earth elements and minerals from U.S. coal and coal byproduct sources. The Committee expects research to support pilot-scale and experimental activities for near-term application.

Senate: NETL Coal Research and Development.—Within available funds for NETL Coal Research and Development, the Committee recommends $18,000,000 for the Department to continue its external agency activities to develop and test advanced separation technologies and accelerate the advancement of commercially viable technologies for the recovery of rare earth elements and minerals from U.S. coal and coal byproduct sources. The Committee expects research to support pilot-scale and experimental activities for near-term applications.

National Energy Technology Laboratory

House: Consistent with direction provided in fiscal year 2018, the Committee does not support the closure of any National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) site and provides no funds to plan, develop, implement, or pursue the consolidation or closure of any of the NETL sites.

House: Within available funds, the recommendation provides $5,500,000 for NETL’s Supercomputer, Joule.

The Committee recommends $50,000,000 for NETL Research and Operations and $45,000,000 for NETL Infrastructure.

Senate: NETL.—No funds shall be used for the closure of NETL sites. The Committee supports NETL’s mission to discover, develop, and deploy new technologies to support a strong domestic fossil energy path. The Committee previously directed the Department to conduct a comprehensive assessment of Fossil Energy writ large to include the Fossil Energy Headquarters programs, NETL, and relevant competencies of other national laboratories which support the mission of the Office of Fossil Energy. The Committee looks forward to receiving the assessment expeditiously.

Senate: NETL Infrastructure.—The Committee directs the Department to prioritize funds to provide site-wide upgrades for safety, avoid an increase in deferred maintenance, and provide for the continued update and refresh of Joule through the final year of a 3-year lease.

Hybrid carbon conversion

House: The Committee supports the integrated carbon and energy management activities of NE and EERE and provides $2,000,000 for Hybrid Carbon Conversion activities within Fossil Energy.

Carbon capture

House: Carbon Capture.—The Department is directed to explore carrying out a prize competition to advance the research, development, or commercialization of technologies that capture, sequester, or utilize carbon from coal. The Committee encourages the Department to focus its efforts on improving the efficiency and decreasing the costs of carbon capture technologies, demonstrating carbon capture technologies, and identifying how these technologies can be integrated with business models and operations. This focus includes small- and large-scale pilot testing of technologies moving through the program pipeline and retrofit activities on the existing fleet.

Senate: National Carbon Capture Center.—The Committee recommends funding for the National Carbon Capture Center consistent with the cooperative agreement and fiscal year 2018. The Committee continues to encourage the Department to establish university partnerships to support ongoing fossil energy programs, to promote broader research into CCS technologies, and to expand its technology transfer efforts. The Department has previously funded several university-based CCS projects and is encouraged to build on an established research base to support ongoing research and to address the wider implementation of CCS technologies. The Committee reiterates the importance of adequate Federal support to promote design-related work and testing for a commercial- scale, post-combustion carbon dioxide capture project on an existing coal-fueled generating unit as well as fossil energy research, development, and deployment of breakthrough technologies.

Senate: Carbon Capture.—Achieving low-cost carbon capture technology is important to facilitating economic environmental mitigation solutions for the power and industrial sectors while opening up a broader carbon utilization economy. The Committee encourages the Department to focus its Carbon Capture research, development and deployment efforts on improving the efficiency and decreasing the costs of carbon capture technologies, demonstrating carbon capture technologies for private sector-driven adoption at fossil energy power systems and industrial sources, and to identify how these technologies can be integrated within business models and operations. This includes small- and large-scale pilot testing of technologies moving through the program pipeline on both coal and natural gas applications, as well as on industrial sources.

Carbon storage

House: Carbon Storage.—The Committee supports the past work of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSPs) in advancing future technologies for enhanced oil recovery, mineral resource extraction, and gaining deep subsurface knowledge through continued research. The Committee believes the Department should undertake measures to preserve, share, and advance the state of knowledge gained through these programs, which will provide the necessary information to strengthen platforms for industry adoption. Within available funds for Storage Infrastructure, the Committee provides up to $30,000,000 to support the CarbonSAFE initiative in which the RCSPs are eligible to participate. The Department is encouraged to continue activities that promote the use and reuse of captured carbon from both the power and industrial sectors. In addition, the Committee encourages the Department to support non-geologic utilization activities within the Carbon Use and Reuse program, including biological utilization by algae and other microorganisms.

Senate: Carbon Storage.—Within available funds for Carbon Storage, the Committee recommends $12,000,000 for Carbon Use and Reuse to continue research and development activities to support valuable and innovative uses for carbon. The Committee believes the potential for carbon dioxide utilization technologies to become economically viable has improved in recent years, and these technologies should continue to receive attention from the Office of Fossil Energy.

The Committee urges the Office of Fossil Energy to prioritize research on carbon dioxide utilization technologies, direct air capture technologies, and industrial source capture. The Committee also encourages the Office of Fossil Energy to collaborate with the Bioenergy Technologies program within the EERE, the private sector, and academia to support projects that utilize carbon dioxide in the production of algae and other potentially marketable products. The Committee supports early-stage research and development in conversion of coal pitch/coal to carbon fiber and in other value-added products for alternative uses of coal. Within Carbon Storage, the Committee recommends $55,000,000 for Storage Infrastructure. The Committee recognizes the successful work of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships and the important role they play in supporting the research and development of carbon utilization and storage.

The Committee supports the focus on infrastructure development strategies through continued efforts to expand regional geological characterization to reduce uncertainties, collect and analyze data, facilitate and inform regional permitting and policy challenges. The Department is directed to fulfill prior commitments to the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships. Further, the Committee recommends funding beyond the current phase, through a multiyear continuation of competitively selected partnerships to expand the work of the existing partnerships. T

The Committee recommends not less than $20,000,000 for a competitive continuation of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program and not less than $30,000,000 to continue the four-phase CarbonSAFE initiative. The Committee directs the Department to work collaboratively with the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships to develop a Storage Infrastructure roadmap through 2025 to identify the knowledge gaps and technology and policy developments that are needed to close those gaps.Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

House: Advanced Energy Systems.—Within available funds, $30,000,000 is for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells to focus on hydrogen production and storage as well as research and development to enable efficient, cost-effective electricity generation with minimal use of water and the use of abundant domestic coal and natural gas resources with near-zero atmospheric emissions of CO2 and pollutants. Moreover, central power generation applications of solid oxide fuel cells can be integrated with carbon capture and storage efforts to contribute to a secure energy future. The Department is directed to provide to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act a report on the status of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program. The report shall include a discussion of the technological achievements of the program, including lessons learned, and a discussion of the technical requirements to achieve the remaining goals of the program.

Senate: Advanced Energy Systems.—The Committee recommends up to $30,000,000 for solid oxide fuel cell systems, which supports research and development to enable efficient, cost-effective electricity generation with minimal use of water. The Committee encourages the Department to promote and assist in the research and development of new higher efficiency gas turbines used in power generation systems to allow the United States to upgrade and increase the reliability and resiliency of the Nation’s electrical grid system, to better compete against the threat of foreign competitors who are being subsidized by their governments, while reducing the cost of electricity and significantly lowering emissions. This includes awarding grants and funding contract proposals from industry, small businesses, universities and other appropriate parties. The Committee supports coal and coal biomass to liquids activities and encourages the Department to focus on research and development to improve cost and efficiency of coal-to-fuels technology implementation and polygeneration. The Committee recognizes the importance of emerging technologies such as, coal-to-liquids [CTL] fuel conversion. Within available funds, the Committee supports research and development that will ensure CTL technologies have an opportunity to grow. The Committee supports the activities proposed in Power Generation Efficiency which would focus on improving the reliability and efficiency of existing plants through early stage research and development.

Advanced Ultrasupercritical Program

House: Crosscutting Research.—Within available funds, the recommendation provides up to $2,500,000 to research low-temperature microwave plasma technology that converts domestic coal into high-performance carbon materials, and $20,000,000 for the Advanced Ultrasupercritical Program to fabricate, qualify, and develop domestic suppliers capable of producing components from high temperature materials.

Senate: Crosscutting Research.—The Committee supports Advanced Ultrasupercritical Materials research and development to identify, test, qualify, and develop a domestic supply chain capable of producing components from high temperature steam materials.

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