The Energy Department has launched a Solar National Laboratory initiative for clean energy called Energy Materials Network.
The department said Wednesday EMN received $40 million in federal funds and was introduced at a White House event co-sponsored by DOE’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the White House National Economic Council.
“Manufacturing better materials for clean energy products has the potential to revolutionize whole industries, but only a small fraction of the materials investigated in the laboratory currently make it to widespread market deployment,” said DOE under secretary Franklin Orr.
EMN seeks to develop and discover clean energy materials by soliciting proposals for collaborative research and development efforts with related industries and the academe, DOE said.
DOE added it will develop four initial consortia to address specific classes of materials and related industry challenges.
The Lightweight Materials Consortium, to be led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, aims to increase vehicle fuel efficiency through specialized alloys and carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites that can be manufactured on a large scale.
The Electrocatalysis Consortium, to be overseen by Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, will seek new ways to substitute rare and expensive platinum group metals used in hydrogen fuel cells with more accessible and economical counterparts.
The Caloric Cooling Consortium, under Ames Laboratory, aims to improve refrigerant materials.
DOE said another consortium will be introduced later this year which will focus on producing new materials to make durable and cost-effective solar photovoltaic modules.
EMN also serves as answer to the President’s Materials Genome Initiative, the department said.