Were appropriate data sources used?
Do the data used support the selection of focus areas and barriers?
Are the focus areas and barriers selected the highest priority or the most appropriate ones relative to the ITP’s mission?
How were the R&D pathways determined?
Are these pathways likely to result in the achievement of program goals?
Are the prospective subprogram portfolios the right ones to achieve the goals of the ITP?
Are there unnecessary research areas or gaps in research?
Is there a reasonable mix of near-, mid-, and far-term research?
It is important to note several aspects of the committee’s evaluations of the IOF subprograms. First, its evaluations of the individual IOF subprograms vary in length, emphasis, and level of detail. This is a reflection of the tremendous variety found in the subprograms, which in turn reflects the variations found in the industries and the history of the IOFs and industry participation.
Second, it is important to note again that the committee was asked to review the future program directions that were indicated by the documents available. The committee’s evaluations are based primarily on the documents provided and on the presentations made by ITP personnel at meetings in May 2004 (see Appendix B). Committee members did not investigate individual projects, but rather looked at the overall research directions, the basis for decision making in the selection of research directions, and compatibility of subprogram research directions with the goals of the ITP, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the DOE, and the National Energy Policy.
Finally, the EERE reorganization and the implementation of the new ITP decision-making model took place in the context of an existing, active research portfolio of several hundred projects. In the initial stages, these new decision-making criteria have been superimposed on existing projects with the intent to see which still fit and which do not. It follows that some existing projects may not fit well with the new decision-making model, and these are likely to be phased out. The committee took this into consideration and tried to recommend clearly which legacy projects should be stopped, without using the existence of these projects as a criticism of the new decision-making process.
The aluminum industry consumes approximately 800 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy per year (DOE, 2004j, p. iv), which constitutes approximately 2 percent of all U.S. manufacturing and mining fuel use (DOE, 2003c, p. 8). The aluminum subprogram is dynamic, having an excellent historical and ongoing interaction with the U.S. aluminum industry. Since its designation as an Industry of the Future in 1996, the aluminum industry, primarily through its trade organization the Aluminum Association, has actively participated in the development of overall industry visions and roadmaps. The industry vision was originally published in 1996 and updated in 2002. A number of roadmaps target specific technology or application areas. In addition, the DOE has published a baseline energy and environmental profile of the aluminum industry. This process-based profile has been used in the creation of a bandwidth analysis, which identifies energy-savings opportunities within key aluminum manufacturing processes by comparing theoretical and practical levels of minimum energy consumption with current actual values.
Four focus areas have been identified for the aluminum subprogram: alternative reduction systems, advanced Hall-Héroult cells, efficient melting technologies, and advanced forming technologies. The first two focus areas involve the primary production of aluminum—that is, the reduction of alumina to aluminum metal, otherwise known as smelting. The focus on smelting in the current aluminum R&D portfolio is supported by the bandwidth analysis (based on year 2000 data) indicating that smelting both consumes the greatest amount of energy of all aluminum processes and offers the greatest opportunity for improvement considering the difference between the theoretical minimum and actual energy