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Energy Secretary Moniz Unveils $55 Million Advanced Vehicle R&D Effort

On Thursday, U.S. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz announced that the department is making available “more than $55 million to develop and deploy cutting-edge vehicle technologies that strengthen the clean energy economy.” The effort is heavily focused on improving fuel efficiency and fuel economy and includes significant funding for electric vehicles. Of interest to NGV advocates is a new $3 million funding initiative targeting medium and heavy duty natural gas powered vehicles including dedicated and dual-fuel applications. The announcement indicates that DOE will “fund cost-shared projects with private industry, national laboratories, and university led-teams.”

The funding solicitation includes the following summary (reproduced in full) for the natural gas engine effort: “The objective of this AOI is development of technologies enabling medium- and heavy-duty engines fueled by natural gas, or a natural gas derived fuel, with diesel-like efficiency. Proposed engines can include pilot fuel ignition, but the pilot must be limited to not more than 5 percent of fuel consumed. Engines must be capable of meeting current emission standards and technologies developed must be demonstrated on an engine. Preference will be given to applications with technologies that minimize reliance on exhaust after-treatment systems. The R&D should also address the horsepower, reliability and durability of the engines for safe and efficient operation in consideration of the specific operating conditions of real-world use. Applications must include a financial analysis of the total system cost including hardware, fuel, and other operating and maintenance costs. Applications must present a sound business case for the proposed technology.”

The notice indicates that DOE anticipates awarding funding for 1–2 natural gas vehicle related projects. To be eligible proposed natural gas projects must include 50 percent non-federal cost-share. DOE will hold an informational webinar on February 4, 2015, and initial concept papers must be submitted by interested organizations by February 26. For more information and application requirements, please click here.