EERE's New Projects

Innovative Manufacturing Initiative

The Energy Department awarded more than $54 million leveraging approximately an additional $17 million in cost share from the private sector – for 13 projects across the country to advance transformational technologies and materials that can help American manufacturers dramatically increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs. These projects will develop cutting-edge manufacturing tools, techniques, and processes that will be able to save companies money by reducing the energy needed to power their facilities. These projects are a part of the Administration’s strategy for investing in emerging technologies that create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. companies in today’s global markets. 

Manufacturing is so central to the American economy that industrial processes consume about one-third of all energy produced in the United States, representing a huge opportunity to boost American competitiveness through advances in energy-saving technologies.

From improving manufacturing processes that reduce the energy needed to make components for aircraft and vehicles, to lowering the production costs of carbon fiber for a wide range of clean energy products, these projects represent a major investment in the solutions that will transform energy-intensive manufacturing technologies and materials used by industry here in the U.S. The results of these projects could produce large improvements in energy productivity, reduce pollution, and boost product output, while creating jobs and helping American companies expand export opportunities globally.

Each project will advance technologies early enough in their development cycles to permit the full scope of their technical benefits to be shared across a broad cross-section of the domestic economy. Collectively, these projects are part of the Obama Administration’s effort to support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development. By strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing, these projects will help lay a foundation for an American economy built to last.

  • Help American manufacturers dramatically increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs
  • Support American technologies and innovations
  • Create new manufacturing jobs across the U.S. 

Selected Projects

Project Title Awardee Description DOE Amount Recipient Amount Primary Project Location
A New Method for Low-Cost Production of Titanium Alloys for Reducing Energy Consumption of Mechanical Systems
The University of Utah

This project will develop a new process for producing titanium components that could reduce the materials needed by ten-fold in aircraft and vehicle manufacturing. This technology combines a lower temperature powder metallurgy process with minimal post-processing steps to build parts with titanium’s high strength-to-weight ratio.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Development of Energy Efficient Integrated Die Casting Process for Large Thin-Walled Magnesium Applications
General Motors LLC

This project will develop an integrated super-vacuum die casting process using a new magnesium alloy to achieve a 50% energy savings compared to the multi-piece, multi-step, stamping and joining process currently used to manufacture car doors.

Warren, Michigan
High-Quality, Low-Cost Bulk Gallium Nitride Substrates Grown by the Electrochemical Solution Growth Method
MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc.

This project will enable more efficient manufacturing of gallium nitride (GaN) which could reduce the cost of and improve the output for light emitting diodes, solid state lighting, laser displays, and other power electronics.

St. Peters, Missouri
Catalyst-Assisted Production of Olefins from Natural Gas Liquids: Prototype Development and Full-Scale Testing
Lyondell Chemical Company

This project will use a new coating material to reduce surface deposits (unwanted byproducts) and improve the energy efficiency of ethylene production.

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
A Novel Flash Ironmaking Process
American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI)

This project will develop a process that sprays iron ore directly into the furnace chamber and uses natural gas, hydrogen, or syngas as a reducing agent to replace the energy-and capital-intensive coke oven and blast furnace process steps.  This new process has the potential to reduce the energy needed to make iron by more than 50%.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Advanced, Energy-Efficient Hybrid Membrane System for Industrial Water Reuse
Research Triangle Institute

This project will develop and demonstrate a single hybrid system for industrial wastewater treatment and reuse that combines two known processes - forward osmosis and membrane distillation. This system will use waste heat to treat a wide variety of waste streams at manufacturing facilities. The process will reuse more than 50% of the facilities’ wastewater, decrease wastewater discharge, and recover significant amounts of industrial waste heat.

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Scale-Up of Novel Low-Cost Carbon Fibers Leading to High-Volume Commercial Launch
The Dow Chemical Company

This project will develop a lower cost carbon fiber production process that uses polyolefin  in place of conventional polyacrylonitrile as the feedstock.  Low-cost carbon fiber has widespread application in automobiles, wind turbines, and various other industrial applications. Potentially this novel process could reduce production costs by 20% and total carbon dioxide emissions by 50%.

Midland, Michigan
Sacrificial Protective Coating Materials that Can Be Regenerated In-Situ to Enable High-Performance Membranes
Teledyne Scientific and Imaging

This project will develop, optimize and test a highly durable membrane coating for the black liquor-to-fuel concentration process used by the pulp and paper industry.   By eliminating two steps in the conventional five step black liquor evaporator process this technology has the ability to save the paper industry roughly 110 trillion Btus per year.

Thousand Oaks, California
Continuous Processing of High Thermal Conductivity Polyethylene Fibers and Sheets
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

This project will research a new continuous manufacturing process to make high molecular weight, high thermal conductivity polyethylene fibers and sheets to replace metals and ceramics parts in heat transfer equipment.  Also, because polyethylene density is 35% less than aluminum, the new materials developed as part of this project could generate fuel savings in vehicle applications.

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sustainable Manufacturing via Multi-Scale Physics-Based Process Modeling and Manufacturing-informed Design
Third Wave Systems, Inc.

This project will develop microstructural modeling tools for metals and demonstrate a design framework to improve the understanding of dynamic response and statistical variability. This project will enable design engineers to evaluate effects of design changes and various materials; anticipate quality and cost, prior to factory floor implementation; and achieve processes for low-waste, low-cost manufacturing.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Innovative Manufacturing of Protected Lithium Electrodes for Ultra High Energy Density Batteries
PolyPlus Battery Company

This project will develop a protected lithium electrode, a solid electrolyte and a scaled up manufacturing process for high energy density lithium-air, lithium-water and lithium-sulfur batteries.  This project will scale up the production from a batch mode to a high volume process.  Commercial introduction of this manufacturing process could extend the driving range of electric vehicles, in turn saving 100 trillion Btus of energy annually.

Berkeley, California
High Metal Removal Rate Process for Machining Difficult Materials
Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC

This project will develop fast lasers that use micro precision cutting in a single-step manufacturing process, and verify this operation for producing flow control openings for fuel injectors. This improved process will reduce re-work and scrap rates, eliminate secondary processes such as etching, surface cleaning, or deburring, and increase laser machining energy efficiency up to 20%–25% over standard practices.

Rochester, New York
Bioelectrochemical Integration of Waste Heat Recovery, Waste-to-Energy Conversion, and Waste-to-Chemical Conversion
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

This project combines a microbial reverse electrodialysis technology with waste heat recovery to convert effluents into electricity and chemical
products including hydrogen gas. This technology uses salinity gradients to overcome the thermodynamic barriers and over potential associated with
hydrogen production. This technology will be applicable to a wide variety of U.S. industrial sectors, including the chemical, food, pharmaceutical, and
refinery industries and, by providing on-site electricity generation, could save industry 40 trillion Btus annually and further offset 6 million tons of
carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Allentown, Pennsylvania