APPLIED ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AT DOE

The DOE divides its mission according to four strategic goals—one each dealing with defense, science, environment, and energy4 (DOE, 2005a)—and seven general goals. The energy strategic goal is supported by the general goal of energy security.5 The general goal underscores the role of technology development:


Improve energy security by developing technologies that foster a diverse supply of reliable, affordable and environmentally sound energy by providing for reliable delivery of energy, guarding against energy emergencies, exploring advanced technologies that make fundamental improvement in our mix of energy options, and improving energy efficiency. (DOE, 2005a, p. 20)


The three applied energy offices implement this goal using R&D programs, intergovernmental grants, reserves of fossil fuels, and appliance efficiency standards. Within EERE, R&D programs can be considered in two more or less distinct groups. The first consists of R&D directed at biomass and biorefinery systems R&D, geothermal technology, hydrogen technology, hydropower, solar energy, and wind energy technologies. Program activities range from basic research at universities and national laboratories to cost-shared applied research, development, and field validation in partnership with the private sector (OMB, 2005). The second group within EERE R&D consists of energy conservation R&D relating to the efficient end use of fuels and electricity in vehicles, in industrial processes and manufacturing, and in building envelopes. In general, this second group of energy conservation EERE R&D programs has the objective of achieving an output of a good or service with less energy input6—that is, achieving greater energy efficiency. The FY06 appropriation for EERE was $1,173 million,7,8 the R&D component of which totaled $770 million, including $151 million for congressionally mandated R&D activities.9

Research in FE has traditionally been divided between the Office of Coal and Power Systems (CPS) and the Office of Oil and Natural Gas. CPS administers a suite of clean coal R&D, which aims at ensuring the generation of clean, reliable, affordable electricity from coal. One large planned demonstration project is FutureGen, which has as its aim the development of a zero-atmospheric-emissions power plant. Additional programs focus on all the key technologies needed for FutureGen—carbon sequestration, membrane technologies for oxygen and hydrogen separation, advanced turbines, fuel cells, technologies related to gasifiers for coal-to-hydrogen conversion, and others. The Clean Coal Power Initiative emphasizes the development of pollution controls and efficiency improvements for existing plants (DOE, 2006a). The Office of Oil and Natural Gas supports research and policy options to ensure clean, reliable, and affordable supplies of oil and natural gas for American consumers.10 The FY06 appropriation for FE was $841 million, with $592 million of it allotted for fossil energy R&D.11

NE supports innovative applications of nuclear technology and administers four principal R&D programs. The Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative and the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative, which according to the information DOE provided on its budget for FY07 (DOE, 2006b) will develop a new generation of nuclear technologies to produce cost-effective electricity and commercial quantities of economic hydrogen to support the development of a transportation infrastructure. Nuclear Power 2010 is a demonstration program applicable to untested licensing and other regulatory processes. The Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative aims to improve the efficiency and proliferation resistance of the nuclear fuel cycle.

The scope of programs subject to the NRC studies in this series has been limited to fossil energy R&D and the energy conservation portion of EERE’s R&D. Prior to FY06, funding for this group of programs fell under the jurisdiction of the Interior and Related Agencies appropriation subcommittees owing to the programs’ origins in the Department of Interior; the balance of EERE’s R&D funding, on energy efficiency, was included on a separate appropriations bill. However, in FY06, the House Committee on Appropriations restructured its subcommittees’ jurisdictions and reduced them in number from 13 to 10. Funding for all FE and EERE R&D programs was consolidated into one account subject to the jurisdiction of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies

4

The energy strategic goal is “[t]o protect our national security by promoting a diverse energy supply and delivery of reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy” (DOE, 2005, p. 7)

5

The final level in the goal cascade is the GPRA unit defining a major activity that aligns resources with a unique program goal. Some examples of GPRA units are hydrogen technology, solar energy, and wind energy.

6

Examples of this include, in the automotive industry, vehicles that obtain more miles per gallon (mpg); in the aluminum industry, production of more pounds of aluminum per Btu of energy; in lighting, more lumens per watt (NRC, 2001).

7

Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2007—Appendix, p. 390.

8

DOE. FY2007 Control Table by Organization, p. 5. Available at <http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/07budget/Content/orgcontrol.pdf>.

9

DOE. Department of Energy 2007 Budget Request: Fossil Energy and Other. Available at <http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/07budget/Content/Volumes/Vol_7_FE.pdf>.

10

Available at <http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/oilgas/index.html>.

11

The balance of budget authority within the Office of Fossil Energy went for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve ($164 million), a rescission of uncommitted balances for clean coal technology (–$20 million), and for other purposes.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement