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GM, Dow, Ford to Develop Energy-Efficient Processes with DOE Grants

Dow Chemical Co. and General Motors are among several recipients to receive $54 million in Energy Department grants aimed at improving the energy efficiency of advanced manufacturing technologies.

The grants, which includes $17 million in private-sector funding, will be awarded to 13 projects throughout the United States.

GM will receive $2.7 million to develop an integrated die-casting process for a thin-walled magnesium application used to manufacture car doors. The process is expected to cut energy use by 50 percent. The reduced weight in the doors also will improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions.

A recent report from Lux Research forecast that the transportation sector will choose emerging lightweight structural materials to save fuel, as energy use rises 53 percent from 2008 levels to 765 quadrillion BTUs in 2035. The report said advanced materials such as magnesium and high-strength steel will have a greater impact on efficiency energy use than the often hyped carbon fiber and nanomaterials.

Dow, which will receive $9 million in the DOE grant round, will use the funds to develop a low-cost carbon-fiber manufacturing process that could cut costs by 20 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent, the DOE said. Dow received the grant with partners Ford Motor Co. and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ultimately, Dow and its partners hope to scale up the low-cost carbon fibers for a high-volume commercial launch.

Other grant recipients include Delphi Automotive Systems in Rochester, New York; Air Products and Chemicals Inc.; American Iron and Steel Institute; Lyondell Chemical Co.; MIT; PolyPlus Battery Co.; Research Triangle Institute; Teledyne Scientific and Imaging; the University of Utah; and Third Wave Systems.

The grants are part of the DOE’s larger effort to increase energy efficiency in a variety of products including advanced vehicles and lighting. In March, the DOE announced a $14.2 million program to accelerate the development and deployment of stronger, lighter materials for advanced vehicles that will help reduce dependence on foreign oil, save drivers money and limit carbon pollution.

The DOE last week announced more than $7 million for three lighting projects at companies in California, Michigan and North Carolina. The companies – Cree, KLA-Tencor and k-Space Associates –  aim to lower the cost of manufacturing high-efficiency solid state lighting technologies like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

Cree, which received $2.3 million from the DOE, is building on its exisiting LED technology to provide warm-white light over a minimum lifetime of 50,000 hours, while reducing the cost of manufacturing the major components and assembled products.

2 thoughts on “GM, Dow, Ford to Develop Energy-Efficient Processes with DOE Grants

  1. The DOE funds students to biannually demonstrate compact zero energy houses. Little known is that there is no DOE program to fund the mass-production of this standard!

    The answer to a ZEH standard lies in a high strength to weight ratio fiber composite panel that is produced at the rate of 480 sf/44.5 sm for an eight foot wide insulated panel that is insect, water and fire resistant. Eliminated is traditional framing, sheathing, siding, drywall, roofing and trusses. PV’s are integrated at the production stage.

    10 jumbo sized wall and roof panels are the basis for a 1152 sf /107 sm zero energy house temporarily assembled in 30 minutes in a demonstration tour in the Middle East.

    Saudi Arabia will be running out of oil by 2038. Look for this standard in the Middle East, with giant floating factories churning out tens of 1000’s of ZEH units annually.

    The World Bank and IMF will likely contract with investors in rebuilding programs on the aftermath of global natural calamities.

    The American wood frame house will be obsolete within 25 years, going the way of land phones. A house energizing itself and a form of transportation will be commonplace in our time.

  2. This agreement between Dow and GM Is the correct way to spend money on creating energy-efficient technologies whereas Bank of America yesterday falsely claimed that it was going to commit $50 billion to improve energy efficiency when all it was doing I was making loans for buildings that would’ve made loans to anyway, whether they were energy-efficient or not. Making technology better and more energy-efficient is money well spent on the environment.

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