Obama awards funds to U.S. firms to promote energy efficiency

Jun 29, 2012

The Obama administration awarded more than $54 million for multiple projects across the country in the latest effort to promote energy efficiency and reduce costs in the manufacturing industry. The Department of Energy said it would fund 13 projects, with Dow Chemical Co. winning the largest award of $9 million.

Dow, in collaboration with Ford Motor Co. and DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will collaborate on a project that will use a better feedstock to make carbon fiber materials for automobiles, wind turbines and other applications. DOE says that using the new feedstock — polyolefin — will reduce production costs by 20% and carbon dioxide emissions by 50%.

General Motors will receive $2.7 million in DOE funds for a project designed to reduce the weight of car doors by upward of 60%. By using magnesium inner plates instead of steel, the company says the lighter doors will require less energy to manufacture, while also boosting vehicle fuel economy.

A slew of other projects selected for the award will use the funds to continue developing more efficient production methods by streamlining processes and creating single-step systems for manufacturing resources like iron and gallium nitride. The 13 companies receiving DOE funds will contribute some of their own money to the projects, totaling $17 million.

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