Author: US DOE Staff     Published: 9/13/2021      SETO


Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released two requests for information (RFI) seeking input on pathways to use solar energy to decarbonize industrial processes and impacts of large-scale solar plants on wildlife and ecosystems. Both topics were identified in DOE’s Solar Futures Study, which examines solar energy’s role in a decarbonized grid and lays out a blueprint where solar would contribute 40-45% of our country’s electrical supply by 2050 and contribute to the electrification of buildings, transportation, and industry.

Decarbonizing Industrial Processes with Solar Thermal RFI

Concentrating solar-thermal (CST) technologies have great potential to decarbonize the industrial sector because they can directly produce steam and other high-temperature fluids for integration with thermally driven industrial process, including steel, cement, and bulk chemicals. These three industries represent 15% of the total fossil consumption by the industrial sector and 5% of total fossil fuel consumed, which is nearly 10% of all carbon dioxide emitted in the United States.

The RFI seeks information from industry and researchers on opportunities to develop solar thermal industrial process technologies for high temperatures above 400°C that are capable of being rapidly advanced to industrial-scale demonstrations. Additionally, the RFI is interested in the production of fuels, including hydrogen, that can be generated using CST energy for simplified transportation and storage of renewable heat.

The responses will help DOE better understand the capabilities of CST technologies for use in industrial processes. DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has previously funded CST projects that use lower-temperature heat in food processing, waste management, and water desalination.

RFI submissions are due on October 13, 2021 at 5 p.m. ETVisit SETO’s website to download the full RFI and learn more about how to submit responses.

Solar Impacts on Wildlife and Ecosystems RFI

The Solar Futures Study estimates that, to meet the Biden administration’s decarbonization goals, the country would need 1 terawatt (TW) of solar capacity by 2035. This would require about 5.7 million acres of land for utility-scale solar installations. Although the land requirements are less than 0.3% of the land in the contiguous United States, minimizing the impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat—as well as maximizing the benefits—will be critical to meeting these climate goals in partnership with local communities.

Understanding these impacts will also be key to ensuring that the transition to a decarbonized electrical grid is managed in a way that is conducive to energy justice and in collaboration with local communities.

The RFI seeks information on the current practices related to siting large-scale solar energy plants and how stakeholders evaluate the impacts and potential benefits these plants may have on the surrounding environment, especially on wildlife.

Industry, government agencies, non-profits, academia, research laboratories, and other stakeholders are encouraged to respond. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is specifically interested in information on current practices and trends as well as identifying what data or resources would enable greater confidence in solar energy impact assessments.

RFI submissions are due on September 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. ETCheck out SETO’s website to download the full RFI and learn more about how to submit responses.