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Important Information for Proposers
A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after June 1, 2020. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 20-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.
The Electrochemical Systems program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which includes also 1) Catalysis; 2) Molecular Separations; and 3) Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics.
The goal of the Electrochemical Systems program is to support fundamental engineering research that will enable innovative processes involving electro- or photochemistry for the sustainable production of electricity, fuels, and chemicals. Processes for sustainable energy and chemical production must be scalable, environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources. Research projects that stress fundamental understanding of phenomena that directly impact key barriers to improved system or component-level performance (e.g., energy efficiency, product yield, process intensification) are encouraged. Processes for energy storage should address fundamental research barriers for the applications of renewable electricity storage or for transport propulsion. For projects involving energy storage materials, proposals should involve hypotheses that involve device or component performance characteristics that are tied to fundamental understanding of transport, kinetics, or thermodynamics. Advanced chemistries are encouraged.
Proposed research should be inspired by the need for economic and impactful conversion processes. All proposal project descriptions should address how the proposed work, if successful, will improve process realization and economic feasibility and compare the proposed work against current state-of-the-art. Highly integrated multidisciplinary projects are encouraged.
Current topics of interest include:
Electrochemical Energy and Chemical Production Systems
Radically new battery systems can move the U.S. more rapidly toward a more sustainable transportation future. The focus is on high-energy density and high-power density batteries suitable for transportation and renewable energy storage applications. Advanced systems such as lithium-air, sodium-ion, as well as lithium-ion electrochemical energy storage are appropriate. Work on commercially available systems such as lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride batteries will not be considered by this program.
Advanced fuel cell systems with advanced components for propulsion for transportation are considered. Novel systems with non-commercial components are appropriate. Flow batteries for energy storage applications are appropriate. Photocatalytic or photoelectrochemical processes for the splitting of water into H2 gas or for the reduction of CO2 to liquid or gaseous fuels are appropriate. If the innovation is fundamental understanding of the catalyst site, then the CBET Catalysis program would be more appropriate (CBET-1401). Novel electrochemical systems for the production of chemicals are considered. Emphasis is placed on those systems that improve process intensification and process modularization. Emphasis of all projects is placed on fundamental molecular-level understanding of the key chemical reaction and transport phenomena barriers to improved system level performance.
Organic Photovoltaics Devices and Processing
Low-cost, environmentally benign organic photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity projects are considered. The program emphasis is for fundamental research on innovative processes for the fabrication and theory-based characterization of future organic PV devices (OPVs). Devices of interest include polymer and small molecule organic photovoltaics for electricity generation. Inorganic or hybrid perovskite based PV chemistries are not considered by this program.
Referrals to other programs within NSF:
- Proposals that focus on electric-field driven separations such as dielectrophoresis should be directed to the Molecular Separations program (CBET 1417).
- Proposals that focus on thermal management of energy storage devices and systems should be submitted to the Thermal Transport Processes Program (CBET 1406).
- Proposals that focus on thermal catalytic or thermal noncatalytic biomass conversion and advanced biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass should be directed to the Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics (PRM) (CBET 1403)
- Proposals related to the combustion of biomass, gasification, or the production of synthesis gas (syngas) should be sent to Combustion and Fire Systems (CBET 1407).
- Proposals that focus on the fundamentals of catalysis for biomass conversion should be submitted to Catalysis (CBET 1401).
- Proposals that focus on the biological production of fuels or electricity (e.g., biocatalysis, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology in the context of bioenergy, biological fermentations) should be directed to the Cellular and Biochemical Engineering program (CBET 1491).
- Proposals that focus on improving device and system performance of primarily inorganic and hybrid PV technologies (including perovskites) may be considered in other ENG Divisions, including the Division of Electrical, Communications, and Cyber Systems. PV materials proposals that focus on the material science may be considered in the Division of Materials Research of the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences.
- Proposals that focus on the generation of thermal energy by solar radiation may be considered by
- Thermal Transport Processes (CBET 1406).
The duration of unsolicited awards is typically one to three years. The typical award size for the program is $100,000 per year. Collaborative proposals that include a strong multi-disciplinary component are typically $150,000 per year. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.
INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS
Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.
Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged. Award duration is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information.
Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.
Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found here. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.
COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.