FY 2013 Request for DOE Office of Science and ARPA-E

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Publication date: 
15 February 2012

“Investing  in science and innovation to promote our nation’s economic prosperity” and “Accelerating  the transformation of America’s energy system and securing U.S. leadership in  clean energy technologies” are identified as two of three priorities in the FY  2013 Department of Energy request sent to Congress on Monday.  The department is requesting $27,155.1  million, an increase of 3.2 percent or $855.5 million for the new fiscal  year.  Of that, $4,992.1 million would be  allocated to the Office of Science, with another $350.0 million requested for  the Advanced Research Projects-Agency.

Office  of Science:

Introductory  material (page 9) in the “Budget Highlights” submitted as  part of DOE’s Congressional Budget Justification for Fiscal Year 2013 describes  the emphasis on research on new clean energy technologies that the Office of  Science (SC) will be making:

“In  FY 2013, SC 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 increases in SC is research directed at  approaches to creating new technologies for a clean energy future that address  competing demands on our environment. These efforts, coordinated with the DOE  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.”

Material  science funding is emphasized:

“Advances  in clean energy, particularly non-carbon energy sources, frequently are driven  by advances in material science whether it be inventing a new material or  understanding the interface between materials or the chemical reactions of  materials. Therefore, SC places a       strong  emphasis on searches for new materials and the characterization of their  properties relevant to solar photovoltaics, batteries or storage elements, or  for active responses such as carbon capture and sequestration. SC will advance  materials discovery and characterization through predictive modeling using high  performance computing and using the world-leading characterization capabilities  at our national Laboratories.”

Bioenergy  is also discussed:

“SC  will advance genomics-based research creating synthetic biology tools to  underpin bio-based energy solutions such as biofuels through the Bioenergy  Research Centers, which are nationally recognized for their advances. SC will  place additional emphasis on finding alternative approaches to carbon capture,  which is fundamental to our energy future. We will continue our Energy Frontier  Research Centers, which are bringing a new approach to university-based  research in energy technologies. Finally, SC supports two Energy Innovation  Hubs, one for fuels from sunlight and the other for batteries and energy  storage.”

Foundational  science is described as follows:

“The  budget request also provides for foundational science in condensed matter and  materials physics, chemistry, biology, climate and environmental sciences,  applied mathematics, computational and computer science, high energy physics,  nuclear physics, plasma physics, and fusion energy sciences, and it provides  for research facilities and capabilities that keep U.S. researchers at the  forefront of science. The request supports targeted increases in computational  materials and chemistry by design and in integrated application-hardware-software  co-design for achieving Exascale and positioning the U.S. to secure a  competitive advantage in high-tech industries and maintain international  leadership in scientific computing. Underlying these investments is the  education and training , through core research activities, of thousands of  scientists and engineers who contribute to the skilled scientific workforce  needed for the 21st century innovation economy.”

The  “Budget Highlights” has a six-page description of the ten programs supported by  the Office of Science starting on page 18.   Brief program highlights and significant funding changes are  provided. 

Total  Office of Science funding would increase 2.4 percent or $118.4 million from  $4,873.6 million to $4,992.1 million.

The  following are requested changes in funding levels for physics-related programs:

Advanced  Scientific Computing funding would increase 3.3 percent or $14.7 million from  $440.9 million to $455.6 million.

Basic  Energy Sciences funding would increase 6.6 percent or $111.5 million from $1,688.1  million to $1,799.6 million.

Biological  and Environmental Research funding would increase 2.6 percent or $15.8 million  from $609.6 million to $625.4 million.

Fusion  Energy Sciences funding would decline 0.7 percent or $2.7 million from $401.0  million to $398.3 million.

High  Energy Physics funding would decline 1.8 percent or $14.3 million from $790.9  million to $776.5 million.

Nuclear  Physics funding would decline 3.7 percent or $20.5 million from $547.4 million  to $526.9 million.


The  “Budget Highlights” document provides three pages of information on the FY 2013  request for Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, starting on page  24.  In discussing its current portfolio,  the document explains that ARPA-E programs focus on:

“New  Areas of Science and Technology - for example, ARPA-E’s current Electrofuels  program. The goal of this program is to create a biological non-photosynthetic  process to produce liquid fuels. This is not being done anywhere else in the government,  and, if successful, could create an entirely new industry.

“New  Generation Technology - for example, ARPA-E’s current program called Batteries  for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation, or BEEST. While DOE and most  outside R&D is focused on lithium batteries, ARPA-E is looking for other battery  chemistries that, if successful, would yield batteries that are less expensive  and provide longer range and storage capabilities than today’s approaches.”

ARPA-E  funding would increase 27.3 percent or $75.0 million from $275.0 million to $350.0  million.

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