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The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced $35 million in funding to support early-stage research and development of innovative technologies and solutions for the manufacturing industry.

The funding will be used through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office to support some 24 projects.

The funding will support research and development of new and advanced manufacturing technologies, which if implemented will help manufacturers to improve their competitiveness and enhance their energy efficiency.

The project will reduce technical uncertainty and will focus on advanced materials, advanced processes and modeling and analysis tools for materials and manufacturing.

Projects shortlisted can use the funding, which range between $250,000 and $2.5 million, to collaborate on research and development with third parties.

Projects selected to receive financial assistance include the Idaho and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories,  Iowa State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and United Technologies Research Center.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’ will use DoE's $1 million funding to optimise the performance of copper-based catalysts by improving the energy efficiency and selectivity of these catalysts to convert carbon dioxide, an industrial waste product, into methane, a versatile fuel that is readily integrated into efforts to fuel vehicles and power plants.

The Idaho National Laboratory will be conducting research to develop a new pathway to produce hydrocarbon feedstocks and fuels from ethane via an electrochemical process, as well as generating hydrogen.  For ethylene production, the new process has the potential to reduce process energy by 65% over traditional steam cracking technologies.