Call for Proposals: Materials for Clean Fuels and Artificial Intelligence for Design Challenge

An exciting opportunity for CPE members, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is launching a call for proposals in their Materials for Clean Fuels and Artificial Intelligence for Design Challenge programs. 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.

This call consists of 2 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 3 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.

Expressions of interest are due June 30, 2022. For all the application details, see the NRC call: