FY 2012 Department of Energy Office of Science, ARPA-E Requests

Share This

Publication date: 
22 February 2011

With  every initiative the Department undertakes, sound science is at the core.”  So states an FY 2012 Department of Energy  budget document submitted to Congress.   Under the request, the budget for the Department of Energy would  increase by 11.8 percent or $3.1 billion, as compared to the FY 2010 current  appropriation level, to $29.5 billion.  Funding  for the Office of Science would increase by 9.1 percent.  The Administration is requesting $550.0  million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy.

President  Obama is continuing the effort started by President Bush in 2006 to double the  budgets of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science  Foundation, and the research programs of the National Institute of Standards  and Technology.  Research supported by  these agencies has been identified as vital to ensuring U.S. leadership in science  and technology.  Recommendations to  double the funding for these agencies were made in the Rising Above the  Gathering Storm reports, and were the foundation for the original America  COMPETES Act, and its recent reauthorization. 

The  DOE “Budget Highlights”  document explains the critical role of science as follows:

“As  the President has articulated, innovation is essential to America’s economic  competitiveness. To meet the challenge of ‘our generation’s Sputnik moment,’  the Department . . . [will] support a coordinated strategy for research and  development across all of its programs. With every initiative the Department  undertakes, sound science is at the core. In FY 2012, we will increasingly  emphasize cross-cutting initiatives to link science throughout the Department,  specifically with energy and national security programs in order to deliver  results to the American taxpayer. In the Office of Science, the Department requests  $5.4 billion, a 9.1 percent or $452 million increase over the FY 2010 current  appropriation levels, to support an       elevated  focus on the advancement of the United States’ leadership in fundamental  research. Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) is building on  established gains since its creation in FY 2009 to perform transformational  research for ARPA-E to sustain investment in new energy technologies.

“Energy  Innovation Hubs play a key role in solving specific energy challenges by  convening and focusing top scientific and engineering talent to focus on those  problems. The Department is proposing to double its commitment to this research  approach by requesting three new Hubs to focus on batteries and energy storage,  critical materials, and Smart Grid technologies and systems. The Department  will continue funding the three Energy Innovation Hubs introduced in FY 2010 to  focus on developing fuels that can be produced directly from sunlight,  improving energy efficient building systems design, and using modeling and simulation  tools to create a virtual model of an operating advanced nuclear reactor. Each  of these Hubs will bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers in an  effort to speed research and shorten the path from scientific discovery to  technological development and commercial deployment of highly promising  energy-related technologies.  Complementing  the Hubs, the Department plans in FY 2012 to continue coordination with the  Office of Science’s Energy Frontier Research Centers, which exemplify the  pursuits of broad-based science challenges for energy applications.”


The  document states:

“In  FY 2012, SC [Office of Science] continues to support fundamental research for  scientific discovery, but today our country needs to move strongly to solve our  energy problems. Therefore, the central theme of this year’s budget in SC is  research in new technologies for a clean energy future that address competing  demands on our environment. These efforts, coordinated with the DOE applied  technology programs and with input from the scientific community and industry,  will emphasize research underpinning advances in non-carbon emitting energy  sources, carbon capture and sequestration, transportation and fuel switching,  transmission and energy storage, efficiency, and critical materials for energy  applications.”

The  section in the Budget Highlights document on the Office of Science can be found  on page 17.  The following requested  amounts are as compared to the FY 2010 appropriation:

Total  Office of Science:

Up  9.1 percent or $452.2 million, from $4,963.9 million to $5,416.1 million.

The  FY 2010 appropriation contained $74.7 million for congressionally directed  projects for which the Department did not requesting funding. 

Advanced  Scientific Computing Research:

Up  21.5 percent or $82.4 million from $383.2 million to $465.6 million.

Basic  Energy Sciences:

Up  24.1 percent or $386.0 million from $1,599.0 million to $1,985.0 million.

Biological  and Environmental Research:

Up  22.1 percent or $129.9 million from $588.0 million to $717.9 million.

Fusion  Energy Sciences Program:

Down  4.3 percent or $18.0 million from $417.7 million to $399.7 million.

High  Energy Physics:

Up  0.8 percent or $6.4 million from $790.8 million to $797.2 million.

The  budget document states: “The Tevatron Collider at Fermi National Accelerator  Laboratory (Fermilab) completes operations by FY 2012. Its record-breaking  performance over the last     few  years means it remains competitive with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in  Geneva, Switzerland, for significant discoveries. The Fermilab accelerator  complex will operate for part of FY 2012 to support the neutrino program and then  shut down to install planned upgrades to the neutrino beam lines.”

Nuclear  Physics:

Up  15.9 percent or $82.8 million from $522.5 million to $605.3 million.

The  budget document states: “The  FY 2012 request continues support for the two highest priorities in the 2007  Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science: an energy upgrade of the Continuous Electron  Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) and construction of the Facility for Rare  Isotope Beams. These investments in forefront facilities for new research  capability, the first in the NP program in over ten years, will secure global  U.S. leadership in research on the quark structure of nucleons, nuclear  structure, and nuclear astrophysics. The increases required for these two high  priority projects have required strategic decisions elsewhere in the program,  most notably the closure of the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility (HRIBF)  in FY 2012.”


The  budget document’s section on ARPA-E can be found on page 23.  It states:

“ARPA-E  is a priority for the administration. ARPA-E was created to be a catalyst for  innovation. ARPA-E’s objective is to tap into the risk-taking American ethos  and to identify and support the pioneers of the future. With the best research  and development infrastructure in the world, a thriving innovation ecosystem in  business and entrepreneurship, and a generation of youth that is willing to  engage with fearless intensity, the U.S. has all the ingredients necessary for  future success. The goal of ARPA-E is to harness these ingredients and make a  full-court       press  to address the U.S.’s technological gaps and leapfrog over current energy  approaches.

“In  accordance with ARPA-E’s statute, the agency will focus on overcoming long-term  and high-risk technological barriers in the development of energy technologies.  These technologies are those that are too risky for the private sector to  invest in, but if overcome they will address the statutory goals: (i) to reduce  foreign imports of energy; (ii) to increase energy efficiency across all  economic sectors; (iii) to reducing emissions; and (iv) to ensure US  technological lead in developing and deploying advanced technologies.”

ARPA-E  did not receive an FY 2010 appropriation.   It did receive funding under the economic stimulus act.  For FY 2012, the Administration is requesting  $550.0 million.  The document explains: “An  additional $100 million in mandatory funding is proposed from the Wireless  Innovation Fund for developing cutting-edge wireless technologies.”

Explore FYI topics: