To accelerate innovation and adoption of new lightweighting technologies for on-highway vehicles, LightMAT is announcing its fifth-round opportunity for the automotive industry to leverage technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories. Through September 2020, LightMAT is seeking proposals that identify key technical challenges limiting the applicant’s use of lightweight materials in vehicles and the research needed to overcome these challenges.
Proposals should address a specific component or vehicle sub-system for lightweighting that will directly benefit from the application of an advanced material or manufacturing process to enable significant weight reduction. This call focuses on lightweighting of the glider, comprising of the body-in-white, closure panels, chassis and suspension system, interior, and wheels. Excluded from this call are applications that include batteries, battery tray, power electronics, packaging systems, powertrain components (engine, transmission). Priority will be given to proposals targeting components or sub-systems that are not currently part of the Vehicle Technology Office lightweight materials research portfolio.
Applicants are encouraged to prioritize and submit proposals addressing their most pressing lightweighting challenges and associated research needs.
All U.S. domestic businesses serving the automotive market are eligible. Foreign entities, whether for-profit or otherwise, including U.S. incorporated subsidiaries with a foreign-owned parent company, are eligible to apply; however, a waiver request will be required. Approval of this waiver is subject to DOE discretion, and is necessary to complete the CRADA contract. All project work under this opportunity must be performed in the United States (100 percent of all direct labor). Interested industry partners wanting to collaborate with research experts and leverage unique materials capabilities at the DOE national laboratories are encouraged to apply.
Selected projects will receive up to $500,000* of LightMAT national laboratory technical assistance over the project duration of two years or less. LightMAT anticipates selecting five new projects as part of this technical assistance opportunity. Industry partners will fund their own labor, materials, and other expenses directly, which will contribute towards a 50 percent minimum cost-share requirement. Contractual terms will be managed through a non-negotiable, pre-established LightMAT Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)
How to Apply
Industry applicants are asked to submit a proposal package that includes 1) an application requesting technical assistance and 2) a detailed statement of work describing the technical tasks to be performed. Additionally, applicants need to identify the LightMAT capabilities that can assist in accelerating the development of solutions. Applicants can either identify a single or multiple preferred national laboratories to work with, or alternatively describe the type of research capabilities needed, in which case LightMAT will recommend the most appropriate national lab(s) with the capability and experience to help address the proposed research.
All applications should succinctly describe the opportunity for market impact, the technical barrier and approach to developing a solution, the impact anticipated towards vehicle lightweighting goals, and what LightMAT capabilities are needed and why DOE resources are necessary. A template is available for download from the LightMAT website that includes instructions and the evaluation criteria associated with this LightMAT opportunity.
Applications need to provide a detailed accounting of how the proposed lightweight material and/or process will contribute towards meeting the DOE program goal of 25 percent reduction in vehicle glider weight by 2025, and at no more than a $5/lb-saved cost penalty. Details about the expected weight reduction of the targeted component/sub-assembly should clearly describe how the percentage of weight reduction will be achieved as compared to a 2015 model year mid-sized sedan.
The statement of work will be used to augment the application and provide details to aid reviewers in understanding the approach that will be taken to achieve the project objectives. Additionally, if the application is selected for award, the statement of work will be utilized for the CRADA Annex A: Statement of Work. Proposal packages will be evaluated on a rolling basis as they are received. Applicants should expect an award decision within three weeks of submission. If the funds available for this call are fully allocated prior to September 2020, then the call will be closed at that time with a notification on the LightMAT website.
The Lightweight Materials National Laboratory Consortium, or LightMAT, is a network of 11 national laboratories with technical capabilities relevant to lightweight materials research and development. LightMAT provides straightforward access to resources and capabilities in this network via a single point of contact and works to match industry research needs with expertise and equipment found at the national laboratories.