The Energy Department has launched aÂ Solar National Laboratory initiative for clean energy calledÂ Energy Materials Network.
The department saidÂ Wednesday EMN received $40Â millionÂ in federal funds and was introducedÂ at aÂ White HouseÂ event co-sponsored by DOEâs Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the White House National Economic Council.
âManufacturing better materials for clean energy products has the potential to revolutionize whole industries, but only a small fraction of the materials investigated in the laboratory currently make it to widespread market deployment,â said DOE under secretary Franklin Orr.
EMN seeks to develop and discoverÂ clean energy materials by soliciting proposals for collaborative research and development effortsÂ with related industries and the academe, DOE said.
DOEÂ added it will develop fourÂ initial consortia to address specific classes of materials and related industry challenges.
The Lightweight Materials Consortium,Â to beÂ led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,Â aims to increaseÂ vehicle fuel efficiency throughÂ specialized alloys and carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites that can be manufactured on a large scale.
The Electrocatalysis Consortium,Â to beÂ overseenÂ by Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, will seekÂ new ways to substituteÂ rare and expensiveÂ platinum group metals used in hydrogen fuel cells with more accessibleÂ and economical counterparts.
The Caloric Cooling Consortium, under Ames Laboratory, aimsÂ to improve refrigerant materials.
DOE said anotherÂ consortium will be introduced later this year whichÂ will focus on producingÂ new materials to make durable and cost-effective solar photovoltaic modules.
EMN also serves as answer to the President’sÂ Materials Genome Initiative, the department said.