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.