Accelerated Materials Innovation for Clean Fuels – Call for Proposals – National Research Council – 2022

Sponsor

National Research Council (NRC)

Program

Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge

For More Information

Please refer to the program guidelines

Description

Overview

In support of Canada's goal in attaining its 2030 emissions targets, the National Research Council of Canada's (NRC) Materials for Clean Fuels and Artificial Intelligence for Design Challenge programs are launching a call for proposals. This call aims to enable collaboration between leaders in academia and industry to catalyze the discovery and development of materials that can assist in decarbonizing Canada's heavy emissions sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemical, fertilizers, etc.

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program focuses on the development of new materials for the renewably powered production of chemicals and fuels for heavy-emission industries (oil, gas, petrochemical, fertilizer, cement, steel, etc.). Specifically, it targets the development of new catalyst, membrane and reactor materials for electro, thermo and photocatalytic conversion of captured carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into hydrogen and/or other renewable hydrocarbon base molecules. The program uses machine learning and robotics enabled accelerated materials discovery to synthesize, test, characterize and scale new materials faster than ever before.

The Artificial Intelligence for Design (AI for Design) Challenge program develops and provides AI technologies and capabilities to accelerate discovery, research and development, and innovation processes. The AI for Design Challenge program advances algorithms, methods and datasets to assist engineers, researchers and scientists with design and scientific discovery.

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program, hosted by the Energy, Mining, and Environment Research Centre, and the Artificial Intelligence for Design Challenge program, hosted by the Digital Technologies Research Centre, together leverage expertise from across the NRC.

Call Objectives and Scope

This call consists of two streams (discovery and development) of technology research and development intended to have a strong and demonstrable potential to achieve a cleaner, more sustainable Canadian energy and chemical industry through materials innovation. Under these streams, the NRC will collaborate with and provide funding to academic researchers, research organizations and industrial partners to facilitate the discovery and adaptation of these technologies for use and adoption by stakeholders, and facilitate their implementation.

This funding call focuses on advancing materials research and development in three strategic areas:

  • CO2 conversion – Using renewable energy to convert CO2 captured from point sources or the atmosphere into valuable fuels and chemical feedstocks.
  • Clean H2 production – Reducing the cost of low-carbon hydrogen produced from renewable energy.
  • Accelerated materials discovery – Combining robotics, artificial intelligence and high-throughput experimentation to accelerate the rate of materials discovery.

Projects under the strategic areas of CO2 conversion and clean H2 production span the technology readiness level (TRL) scales from 1 to 6, including discovery of new catalysts to the integration of these materials into devices and systems. Accelerated materials discovery encompasses platform building and multi-disciplinary projects such as advanced materials characterization, machine learning algorithms and robotics for materials discovery, and techno-economic / life cycle analysis models.

Only projects which improve the sustainability, productivity and global competitiveness of the Canadian carbon capture, utilization and storage, and hydrogen sectors or that demonstrate an acceleration in materials discovery will be considered.

Projects must:

  • include either a materials component or an artificial intelligence / machine learning component applied to materials discovery/application.
  • align with at least 1 of the program's 3 strategic areas: CO2 conversion, clean H2 production, and/or accelerated materials discovery.
  • meet the requirements of the targeted program stream listed below.

Eligibility

Collaborators working with the NRC who are eligible for funding under this call include:

  • Discovery stream:
    • Canadian and international academic institutions.
    • Canadian and international non-profit research organizations.
    • Indigenous governments and representative organizations.
       
  • Development stream:
    • Canadian and international academic institutions.
    • Canadian and international non-profit research organizations.
    • Indigenous governments and representative organizations.
    • Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises.

Applicants must be either an academic researcher, research organization or an SME (less than 500 employees), working in partnership with an NRC researcher.

Applicants are invited to consult the Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research guide.

Funding Availability

The program is planning to make available up to $7,000,000 (CAD) over 3 years to support projects under this call. The projects funded under the discovery stream are expected to be situated between $50,000 and $250,000 per year per project and the development stream to be between $250,000 and $750,000 per year per project, shared between the recipients.

Indirect Costs

10% of total eligible costs. 

Project Duration

Funding will support projects up to three years. 

Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.

Deadlines

If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

TypeDateNotes
Internal Deadline

Completed EOI and signed OR-5 form due to research.services@uoguelph.ca.

External Deadline

Completed EOIs with required attachments are to be submitted to the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program no later than 8 pm ET on June 30, 2022 at NRC.energymaterials-materiauxpourenergie.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca. Subject line: Materials for Clean Fuels EOI proposal.

Internal Deadline

If invited to the full proposal stage, please submit a copy of the completed full proposal to research.services@uoguelph.ca (no new OR-5 form is required).

External Deadline

Full proposal due to the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program. Full proposal submission details will be provided at time of invitation. 

How to Apply

Completed EOIs with required attachments are to be submitted to the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program no later than 8 pm ET on June 30, 2022 at NRC.energymaterials-materiauxpourenergie.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca. Subject line: Materials for Clean Fuels EOI proposal.

Through the EOI, the applicants will have to provide the following information:

  • Applicant information: Including primary contacts, mailing address, organization information.
  • Project information: Sector, focus area, project type, project details, letter of support, project timeline(s).
  • Budget and partners: Total program amount requested, all anticipated financial and non-financial partners, federal research centre support (if applicable).
  • Project summary: Methodology, project team, alignment with scope, addressing a gap, innovativeness, uptake potential, environmental impact, economic and/or social impact.

In addition to the project outline, project teams must submit:

  • an abridged curriculum vitae (CV) for the academic principal investigator (PI), the NRC PI, and Canadian SME PI. The project team must also include CVs for any other key members of the team. The CVs must be a maximum of 4 pages (letter size 8"1/2 x 11"). The abridged CV must clearly indicate the individual's current affiliated organization and their status within that organization.
    • All CVs must be saved together and submitted in a single PDF.
  • the NRC PI must provide evidence of NRC research centre support for the submission by means of a letter or a PDF copy of an electronic communication (email) from their corresponding director of research and development.

An applicant may withdraw its EOI at any stage of the evaluation process by notification in writing via email. Applicants must submit an EOI to be eligible to submit a proposal for further funding consideration.

To obtain a copy of the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program EOI form, to submit an EOI, or for additional information, please contact the program at NRC.energymaterials-materiauxpourenergie.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.

Full details can be found in the Program Guidelines

For Questions, please contact

To obtain a copy of the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program EOI form, to submit an EOI, or for additional information, please contact the program at NRC.energymaterials-materiauxpourenergie.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.

Office of Research

Devon Staaf, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Office of Research Services
dstaaf@uoguelph.ca

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