Industrial Demonstrations Program: Deep pockets for decarbonization

Through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the White House is formally proceeding with a previously announced $6 billion funding program to accelerate decarbonization projects in energy-intensive industries and provide American manufacturers a competitive advantage in the emerging global clean energy economy. Funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, 2021) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA, 2022), the Industrial Demonstrations Program will focus on the highest emitting industries where decarbonization technologies will have the greatest impact, such as cement and concrete, iron and steel, plus aluminum. Widespread demonstration and deployment of decarbonization projects within these industries is key to achieving the White House’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050, officials contend, and will help strengthen and secure America’s global leadership in manufacturing for decades to come. 

Companies or organizations submitting Industrial Demonstrations Program funding candidates
will be required to prepare a techno-economic analysis to illustrate the long-term financial viability of their proposed projects.

“The announcement is yet another step in the race to fully decarbonize our heavy industries, and will help drastically reduce harmful pollution while ensuring America’s manufacturing sector is strong and competitive,” says DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “Transformational investments in innovation and clean energy are supporting American industries as they create new economic opportunities across the country while leading the world in clean manufacturing technologies.” 

The DOE Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, in collaboration with the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains and the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office, manages the program and will underwrite up to 50 percent of each project. The agency seeks first-of-a-kind or early-stage commercial-scale candidates and expects to award projects from the highest emitting industries involving cross-cutting technologies that have the greatest potential, directly or indirectly, to achieve significant decarbonization domestically and globally. 

The DOE funding announcement represents more than a $12 billion opportunity to dramatically reduce industrial emissions, which includes $430 million from the IIJA and $5.46 billion from the IRA, combined with $6 billion-plus in projected private sector cost share. To maximize funds’ transformative potential, DOE will prioritize a portfolio of projects that: 

  • Accelerate industry towards deep decarbonization; 
  • Spur follow-on investments for widespread adoption of the demonstrated technologies; 
  • Enable new markets for cleaner products; and,
  • Benefit local communities. 

Interested applicants will be required to submit a Community Benefits Plan to ensure they are meaningfully engaging with the surrounding project stakeholders while creating quality jobs and investing in the American workforce. Concept papers are due this month and full applications by early August.