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DOE Announces $34.5 Million for Data Science and Computation Tools to Advance Climate Solutions

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Can Boost Clean Energy Technologies, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Modeling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $34.5 million to harness cutting-edge research tools for new scientific discoveries, including clean energy and climate solutions. Two new funding opportunities will support researchers using data science and computation-based methods—including artificial intelligence and machine learning—to tackle basic science challenges, advance clean energy technologies, improve energy efficiency, and predict extreme weather and climate patterns.

“Today we have computers and tools that can collect, crunch, and decode mind-blowing amounts of data—and when you pair that power with America’s brilliant scientists, there is no problem we can’t solve,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By aiming these resources square at our toughest challenges, including the climate crisis, we can discover the most effective solutions and deploy them faster for the American people.”

In recent years, the explosion of accessible data and new computation-based analysis tools has helped scientists and researchers better understand and predict the nature of complex scientific processes. These tools have been used to figure out how solar cells can be designed to absorb light more efficiently, or how captured carbon dioxide can be converted in usable products instead of re-entering the atmosphere.

“Artificial intelligence is already shaping our lives in countless ways, and the biggest upsides to AI remain in the future. That’s why we must continue to invest in this generation-defining technology in ways that can help us combat the biggest issues of our day, like the climate crisis. The Department of Energy has a long history of funding foundational research, and I’m proud it is taking a major lead in providing federal funding for AI R&D. This funding will galvanize groundbreaking discoveries to improve lives and ensure our country remains a global leader in technology and science,” said Representative Anna Eshoo.

DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) will award up to $21 million over three years for research applying data science methods, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to basic chemical and materials science challenges—such as the discovery and development of new materials and chemical processes to harvest, store, and use energy more efficiently, while limiting emissions. For more information, visit the BES funding opportunity page.

DOE’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) will award an additional $13.5 million over three years for efforts to use computer-based models and networking infrastructure to help research facilities across the nation collaborate and accelerate scientific discovery. Potential applications include tools for improving energy usage, and climate and weather forecasting. For more information, visit the ASCR funding opportunities page.

A total of up to $11.5 million will be provided for the two efforts in the current fiscal year, with outyear funding contingent on Congressional appropriations.