Energy for Sustainability
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Important Information for Proposers
A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 17-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.
The goal of the Energy for Sustainability program is to support fundamental engineering research that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and fuels. Processes for sustainable energy production must be environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources.
Current topics of interest include:
- Biomass Conversion, Biofuels & Bioenergy: Fundamental research on innovative approaches that lead to the intensification of biofuel and bioenergy processes is an emphasis area of this program. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to: biological, thermochemical, or thermocatalytic routes for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to advanced biofuels beyond cellulosic ethanol; microbial fuel cells for direct production of electricity from renewable carbon sources; hydrogen production from autotrophic or heterotrophic microorganisms; hydrocarbons and lipids from phototrophic or heterotrophic microorganisms. Proposals that focus primarily on chemical reactor analysis related to biomass conversion should be submitted to Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics (CBET 1403), and proposals related to the combustion of biomass should be sent to Combustion and Fire Systems (CBET 1407). Proposals that focus on the fundamentals of catalysis or biocatalysis should be submitted to Catalysis and Biocatalysis (CBET 1401).
- Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Energy: Fundamental research on innovative processes for the fabrication and theory-based characterization of future PV devices is an emphasis area of this program. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to: nano-enabled PV devices containing nanostructured semiconductors, plasmonic materials, photonic structures, or conducting polymers; earth-abundant and environmentally benign materials for photovoltaic devices; photocatalytic or photoelectrochemical processes for the splitting of water into H2 gas, or for the reduction of CO2 to liquid or gaseous fuels. Proposals that focus on the fundamentals of photocatalysis should be submitted to Catalysis and Biocatalysis (CBET 1401). The generation of thermal energy by solar radiation is not an area supported by this program, but may be considered by Thermal Transport Processes (CBET 1406).
- Advanced Batteries for Transportation and Renewable Energy Storage: Radically new battery systems or breakthroughs based on existing systems can move the US more rapidly toward a more sustainable transportation future. The focus is on high-energy density and high-power density batteries suitable for transportation and renewable energy storage applications. Advanced systems such as lithium-air, sodium-ion, as well as lithium-ion electrochemical energy storage are appropriate. Work on commercially available systems such as lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride batteries will not be considered by this program. Fuel-cell related proposals should be directed to other CBET programs, depending on emphasis: electrocatalysis (Catalysis and Biocatalysis, CBET 1401); membranes (Chemical and Biological Separations, CBET 1417); systems (Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics, CBET 1403).
- Wind Energy: This program no longer supports wind, wave, tidal, or hydrokinetic energy research. The proposer is encouraged to contact the program director for suggestions on a possible program for proposal submission.
NOTE: For proposals involving any aspect of chemistry, including but not limited to biochemistry or physical chemistry, consider making proposal submissions to this program (7644) with the Proposal Title as: ‘SusChEM: Title of Your Proposal'. For more information on SusChEM-related proposals please click here. The same applies for proposals involving sustainable engineering.
Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas can be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review or transferred to another program.
The duration of unsolicited awards is typically three years. The typical award size for the program is $100,000 per year. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.
INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS
Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.
Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged. Award duration is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information.
Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.
Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found here. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.
COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.
Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.