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Clean Energy Program Management Highlights of 2023: DOE OCED Leading the Charge



The year 2023 has been a remarkable one for clean energy development, and the Department of Energy's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) has played a pivotal role in driving innovation and deployment. Through strategic cooperative agreements and support for a diverse range of projects, OCED has made significant strides towards achieving the nation's ambitious clean energy goals.


Key Project Highlights:

OCED has been receiving and evaluating applications for projects across a variety of program areas (e.g., Hydrogen Hubs, Direct Air Capture, Long Duration Energy Storage [LDES], etc.) throughout 2023.

Over the course of 2023, OCED has announced the selection of a number of exciting projects.

 In addition to the selections made in 2023, OCED has also further funded critical Advanced Reactor Demonstration Projects:


Advanced Reactor Demonstration Projects: Powering the Future with Clean Energy


Xe-100 Reactor: Situated in Seadrift, Texas, the Xe-100 reactor represents a significant advancement in clean energy technology. This four-unit, 320 MWe-net plant leverages high-temperature gas-cooled reactor technology, offering unparalleled flexibility and adaptability. Its ability to seamlessly adjust electricity output alongside its potential for industrial heat applications positions the Xe-100 reactor as a key player in a future grid increasingly reliant on clean energy sources.


Natrium Reactor: Rising from the landscape near the retiring Naughton coal plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming, the Natrium reactor embodies a forward-thinking approach to clean energy. This single-unit, 345 MWe-net sodium-cooled fast reactor showcases cutting-edge technology, promising efficient and reliable power generation. When coupled with thermal energy storage, the Natrium reactor offers enhanced flexibility, ensuring consistent electricity supply even when renewable sources are limited. As a testament to the potential of clean energy solutions, the Natrium reactor marks a promising step towards a more sustainable future.


These advanced reactor projects, with their innovative designs and significant power output, represent a pivotal moment in the clean energy transition. As pioneers of clean and dependable energy solutions, they hold the potential to reshape the energy landscape and pave the way for a future powered by sustainable sources.


Fueling Transformation: Hydrogen Hubs Spark a Clean Energy Future


Across the United States, a network of hydrogen hubs is emerging, igniting a revolution in the energy landscape. These hubs represent not just technological advancements, but also potent drivers of economic growth and environmental sustainability.


Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) aims to forge a regional clean hydrogen network across Appalachia. This project promises to create clean energy jobs, revitalize local economies, and propel the region towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

California Hydrogen Hub (ARCHES) leverages the state's abundant renewable resources to fuel clean hydrogen production. This initiative will not only power transportation and industrial sectors, but also advance California's ambitious clean energy goals.

Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity H2Hub) capitalizes on the well-established infrastructure and expertise of the Gulf Coast region to cultivate a thriving hydrogen hub. This project will foster innovation, accelerate the development of clean energy solutions, and establish the Gulf Coast as a leader in the hydrogen revolution.

Heartland Hydrogen Hub (HH2H) focuses its efforts on the Midwest, exploring efficient pathways for clean hydrogen production and utilization. This initiative paves the way for economic opportunities, clean energy adoption, and a greener future for the Midwest region.

Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (MACH2) envisions a robust clean hydrogen network within the Mid-Atlantic region. This project promises to advance a cleaner energy future for the area, ensuring greater energy security and resilience for communities.

Midwest Hydrogen Hub (MachH2) builds upon existing infrastructure and resources in the Midwest to establish a thriving hydrogen hub. This initiative will contribute significantly to regional decarbonization efforts, leading the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNWH2 Hub) delves into the unique energy needs of the Pacific Northwest, exploring the vast potential of clean hydrogen for transportation and industrial applications. This project holds the key to unlocking a cleaner and more sustainable future for the region.

Together, these hydrogen hubs form the backbone of a clean energy future. They represent a collaborative effort to combat climate change, create jobs, and drive economic growth across the nation. As these hubs flourish, they will undoubtedly pave the way for a more vibrant and sustainable future for generations to come.


Direct Air Capture (DAC) and its Role in Climate Mitigation


Direct Air Capture (DAC) is a groundbreaking technology designed to combat climate change by extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere. This process not only helps reduce atmospheric CO2 levels but also allows for the storage of this greenhouse gas, thereby mitigating its impact on global warming. DAC's potential in addressing climate challenges has garnered significant attention and investment, particularly in initiatives aimed at developing and enhancing its efficiency and scalability.


In 2023, the Department of Energy's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) has selected projects for award negotiations focusing on DAC technologies. These projects are pivotal in advancing DAC solutions and are set to play a crucial role in the United States' efforts to address climate change.


Project Cypress located in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, stands as a regional hub for Direct Air Capture. This project aims to capture over 1 million tons of atmospheric CO2 each year, with plans to sequester this carbon deep underground. A collaboration with Gulf Coast Sequestration (GCS) ensures proper storage and management of the captured CO2. Project Cypress is committed to local community engagement, soliciting input for its development and implementing a Community Benefits Plan. This plan focuses on creating new employment opportunities and adheres to principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. By fostering community involvement and prioritizing environmental sustainability, Project Cypress is set to become a model for future DAC initiatives.


South Texas DAC Hub situated in Kleberg County, Texas, is a pioneering project developed by 1PointFive, a subsidiary of Occidental. This hub aims to demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of DAC by removing up to 1 million metric tons of CO2 annually. Emphasizing regional economic, environmental, and social benefits, the project includes a Community Benefit Plan to ensure meaningful engagement, support workforce development, and promote diverse local hiring. The first DAC plant at this hub is expected to create around 2,500 jobs, contributing significantly to the local economy. The South Texas DAC Hub's approach to DAC technology not only addresses climate change but also focuses on social justice and community development.


Bridging the Gap: Diverse LDES Solutions for a Clean Energy Future


As the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid increases, the need for reliable and efficient long-duration energy storage (LDES) becomes ever more critical. In 2023, OCED has made significant investments in this area, supporting the development of diverse and innovative LDES technologies capable of bridging the gap between renewable energy generation and reliable energy delivery.


Communities Accessing Resilient Energy (CARES) tackles the challenge of multi-day energy storage head-on. This project investigates and tests a combination of technologies, paving the way for communities to access resilient and reliable energy supplies.

Rural Energy Viability for Integrated Vital Energy (REVIVE) focuses on developing a dedicated LDES system specifically tailored to the unique needs of rural communities. This project promotes equitable distribution of clean energy resources and ensures energy security for populations often overlooked in the transition to a clean energy future.

Second life sMARt sysTems (SMART) breathes new life into retired electric vehicle batteries by repurposing them for LDES applications. This project exemplifies the potential of circular economy principles within the clean energy sector, demonstrating how responsible waste management can contribute to a more sustainable future while addressing the growing issue of e-waste.

STOred Rechargeable Energy Demonstration (STORED) delves into the promising realm of zinc-air technology, testing its viability for LDES applications. This project's exploration of a clean and sustainable alternative to traditional energy storage methods holds immense potential for future energy solutions.

Children’s HospitAL Resilient Grid with Energy Storage (CHARGES) demonstrates the power of LDES in critical care settings. This project showcases a microgrid equipped with long-duration energy storage, ensuring uninterrupted operation and safeguarding the well-being of patients and staff during potential grid outages.

Front-of-the-meter Utilization of Zinc bromide Energy Storage (FUZES) explores the integration of innovative zinc-bromide technology with solar power generation. This project seeks to optimize the utilization of renewable resources, maximizing their efficiency and impact.

Columbia Energy Storage Project demonstrates the effectiveness of pumped hydro energy storage, a well-established technology, in the Pacific Northwest. This project leverages the region's unique geography to provide reliable and cost-effective LDES solutions, strengthening local energy security.

Pumped thermal energy storage in Alaska Railbelt (POLAR) investigates the feasibility of this technology for Alaska's unique and demanding energy needs. This project paves the way for clean and reliable energy solutions in challenging environments, promoting sustainable development even in the most remote regions.

Multiday Iron air Demonstration (MIND) pushes the boundaries of LDES by developing and demonstrating a multi-day iron-air energy storage system. This innovative approach showcases the potential for long-term energy storage, further strengthening the foundation for a clean energy future.


Looking Ahead:


OCED's commitment to clean energy innovation and deployment is unwavering. Moving forward, the office plans to invest in the next generation of clean energy technologies.

·        Expanding the use of clean energy in underserved communities.

·        Partnering with other government agencies, private companies, and non-profit organizations to accelerate clean energy progress.

·        Programs to be announced in 2024 include: industrial decarbonization, carbon capture pilot and demonstration projects, clean energy on mine lands, and energy improvements in rural and remote areas.


Management Solutions: Partnering for Clean Energy Success


In 2023, Management Solutions played a key role in supporting DOE OCED in achieving its ambitious goals. Awarded a $192 million contract, Management Solutions provided programmatic support to OCED headquarters and its third-party advisors.


Management Solutions was brought on to help OCED successfully oversee what will be hundreds of cutting-edge technology projects simultaneously. This oversight is essential to not only the projects’ success, but also to the market liftoff of a wide range of emerging technologies that will transform local economies across the US. 


Through our expertise in program management, Management Solutions has helped OCED:

·        Streamline administrative processes, allowing OCED to focus on project development and deployment.

·        Leverage technical expertise to inform project selection, award, and oversight.

·        Develop and implement effective communication strategies to engage stakeholders and the public.


Our commitment to clean energy solutions and strong track record in project management made Management Solutions an invaluable partner for OCED in 2023. Our contributions have helped to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative clean energy technologies, which will benefit the environment and our economy for years to come.


(Photo: Rendering of TerraPower's Natrium facility: https://www.energy.gov/oced/advanced-reactor-demonstration-projects-0)


Additional Resources:

Department of Energy Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations: https://www.energy.gov/oced/office-clean-energy-demonstrations

 

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