The Department of Energy made two major funding announcements today. One regards $575 million going to 22 advanced carbon-capture R&D projects. The other announcement is of $8.5 million for projects related to integrating solar energy with the nation’s electrical grids.

The carbon-capture projects are being funded from Recovery Act monies, and are targeted at four specific areas of work:

  • Large scale testing of advanced gasification technologies ($313 million);
  • Advanced turbo-machinery to lower emissions from industrial sources ($123 million);
  • Post-combustion CO2 capture with increased efficiencies and decreased costs ($90 million); and
  • Geologic storage site characterization ($50 million).

Many of these projects, such as those in the area of oxy-combustion technologies, are of direct interest to ceramic and related materials scientists and engineers (e.g., developing ceramic oxygen transport membranes). ($35 million to Praxair). Others are going to be of interest to those in ceramic-related industries, such as cement producers, in which researchers will be trying to develop membrane systems for post-combustion CO2 capture ($15 million to Membrane Technology and Research Inc.).

The DOE’s grid integration award involves four projects that have reached Stage III of the Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems program. Including matching contractor funding, the total projects will $20 million for the work.

According to the DOE, SEGIS is a partnership that includes DOE, Sandia National Laboratories, industry, utilities and universities to develop complete system. Today’s awards are follow-on selections from the first two stages of the SEGIS program. DOE says the projects were selected “based on the highest likelihood of commercialization of reliable products that will best enable and accelerate the integration of solar PV technologies into an intelligent electrical grid.”

The SEGIS Stage III selections being announced today:

Main awardee Partners Funding Purpose
Florida Solar Energy Center, University of Central Florida Satcon Technology Corporation, SENTECH Inc., SunEdison, Cooper Power Systems EAS, Northern Plains Power Technologies and Lakeland Electric Utilitie $660,329 Implementation of a larger “shared” inverter serving multiple residential or commercial PV systems.
Petra Solar South University of Central Florida, Public Service Electric & Gas, PEPCO Holdings and BP Solar $2,729,712 Utility-grid interactivity, system reliability and safety through low cost, easy-to-install, modular inverters.
Princeton Power First Energy Corp., Center for Power Electronics Systems, International Battery Inc., Tectonic Corp. and Process Automation Corp. $2,729,897 Design for a 100-kilowatt “Demand Response Inverter”
PVPowered Portland General Electric, Northern Plains Power Technologies and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories $2,408,276 Next-generation controls and advanced communications technologies that enable distributed PV systems to communicate with power utilities