Skip to main content

Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center News

News from the Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center (CEMAC) and its partners.

Report Examines Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Opportunities in Power Electronics

January 25, 2018—Oak Ridge National Laboratory, funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Office, recently published a new CEMAC report that explores the Wide Bandgap Power Electronics market, applications, and potential energy savings that could be realized by the next generation of semiconductors. The study identifies key areas where further resources and investments of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy could have a positive impact on U.S. competitiveness. After considering the current market, the authors identified several potential near-term application areas as having significant market and energy savings potential with respect to clean energy applications:

  • Data centers (uninterruptible power supplies and server power supplies)
  • Renewable energy generation (photovoltaic-solar and wind)
  • Motor drives (industrial, commercial and residential)
  • Rail traction, and
  • Hybrid and electric vehicles (traction and charging).

After the initial explorative analyses, it became clear that SiC is positioned to be the principal wide bandgap power device material for the chosen markets in the near future. Access the report.

CEMAC Authors Examine System Dynamics of Polysilicon for PV in Sustainability Journal

January 18, 2018—CEMAC recently teamed up with Lexidyne, LLC and the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth to publish a new article in the Sustainability journal, System Dynamics of Polysilicon for Solar Photovoltaics: A Framework for Investigating the Energy Security of Renewable Energy Supply Chains.

The article examines high-purity polysilicon, a key material in solar photovoltaics, that has experienced significant price fluctuations, affecting the manufacturing capacity and cost of both polysilicon and solar panels. CEMAC developed and validated an initial system dynamics framework to gain insights into global trade in polysilicon. The model represents an initial framework for exploration. Three regions were modeled—China, the United States, and the rest of the world—for a range of trade scenarios to understand the impacts of import duties and non-price drivers on the relative volumes of imports and domestic supply. Read the journal article.

Report Compares International Carbon Fiber Manufacturing

July 6, 2017—Global demand for carbon fiber is projected to grow 10% per year between 2015 and 2024, but it is not clear where new manufacturing facilities will locate to meet this demand. A new CEMAC report examines some of the policy and manufacturing factors that will shape the growth of the global carbon fiber industry.

Carbon Fiber Manufacturing Facility Siting and Policy Considerations: International Comparison examines aspects related to carbon fiber manufacturing in today’s top producing countries. The report also reviews various metrics of manufacturing location decisions such as costs of labor and energy, as well as policies directed at supporting carbon fiber development, domestic deployment, and exports. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of various policy options that may encourage new carbon fiber manufacturers to locate in certain jurisdictions and foster broader end-use markets for deployment.

Back to Top

New Report Explores Methods behind Benchmarks of Global Clean Energy Manufacturing

June 5, 2017—In January 2017, CEMAC released a first-of-its-kind report to benchmark the economic impacts of global clean energy manufacturing. Now, a new report details the methodologies underlying the analysis and insights presented in Benchmarks of Global Clean Energy Manufacturing.

CEMAC Clean Energy Manufacturing Benchmark Report: Framework and Methodologies documents the methodologies used to develop and report four global clean energy manufacturing benchmarks—value added, trade flows, demand, and manufacturing capacity and production.

CEMAC analysts designed the standardized, but flexible, framework and methodologies to enable consistent comparison of a wide range of clean energy technologies and their manufacturing supply chains. Specifically, the new methodology report lays out the criteria and framework for selecting and benchmarking clean energy technologies, describes the CEMAC benchmark analysis methodologies, and discusses the application of the methodologies to the manufacturing of the four specific clean energy technologies included in Benchmarks of Global Clean Energy Manufacturing.

Back to Top

CEMAC Establishes Benchmarks for Measuring Global Clean Energy Manufacturing

January 17, 2017—Larger economies such as the United States and Japan, with more extensive domestic manufacturing supply chains and higher prevailing wages, tend to retain more value added from clean energy manufacturing than smaller economies, according to CEMAC's recently released Benchmarks of Global Clean Energy Manufacturing. The first-of-its-kind analysis can help industry and policymakers gain deeper understanding of global manufacturing of clean energy technologies. CEMAC also released interactive tools for exploring the data. Find the tools, full report, and summaries of findings here.

Back to Top

On the Path to SunShot: Assessing Opportunity in PV Manufacturing

June 24, 2016—When the SunShot Initiative launched in 2011, it set the goal of making solar electricity cost-competitive with conventional sources of electricity by 2020. Since then, solar deployment has grown more than tenfold in the U.S. with more than one million solar installations currently operating across the country. The cost of solar energy has also dropped as much as 65%. As a result, the industry is approximately 70% of the way toward meeting the SunShot 2020 goals.

On the Path to SunShot is a series of eight reports that examines the lessons learned in the first five years of the initiative and the challenges and opportunities the industry faces in the final five. One of the reports—Emerging Opportunities and Challenges in U.S. Solar Manufacturing—finds that improvements to standard PV modules have produced deep cost reductions, but dramatic innovations in module design and manufacturing are required for cost reductions to continue. That finding could mean opportunity for U.S. PV and CSP manufacturers, as the United States is a global leader in PV and CSP R&D and patent production.

On the Path to SunShot reports were produced through a collaborative effort by researchers at four national laboratories: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Argonne National Laboratory. The NREL researchers who led the manufacturing assessment also contribute to CEMAC.

Back to Top

AEMC Summit Spotlights CEMAC Carbon Fiber Analysis and Program Director Engel-Cox

May 12, 2016 — CEMAC’s latest clean energy analysis was highlighted today at the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness 2016 Northeast Regional Summit in New York. Global Carbon Fiber Composites Supply Chain Competitiveness Analysis identifies key opportunities in the carbon fiber supply chain where resources and investments can help advance the clean energy economy.

The report focuses on four application areas—wind energy, aerospace, automotive, and pressure vessels—that top the list of industries using carbon fiber and carbon fiber reinforced polymers and are particularly relevant to the mission of U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE EERE). For each of the four application areas, the report addresses the supply and demand trends within that sector, supply chain, and costs of carbon fiber and components.

The report was prepared for CEMAC by Sujit Das, Josh Warren, and Devin West of the U.S. Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Susan M. Schexnayder of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

CEMAC Program Director Jill Engel-Cox also participated in the AEMC summit as a panelist in a session titled “Fireside Chat: Mapping out Global Energy & Manufacturing Trends.” Organized by the Council on Competitiveness, the 2016 AEMC summit is the fourth premier, annual, event dedicated to building momentum around American innovation, progress and competitiveness in energy and manufacturing.

Back to Top

Do You Have New Windows? CEMAC Needs Your Help

April 18, 2016—Did you recently replace the windows in your home? If so, you can help advance research that could reduce the cost of replacement windows.

CEMAC is studying the costs of installing energy-efficient windows in homes—from the cost of the windows themselves to costs for installation and labor—and we're collecting as much data as possible. We are searching for copies of actual invoices from energy-efficient window installations.

We are particularly interested in receiving invoices that break out the cost of the windows from the installation costs, but invoices that show total costs will also be helpful. Our team is only interested in cost information and wants to ensure your privacy is respected; please black out any personal information and submit your invoice to Catherine Burke.

This research is being done as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative for the Building Technologies Office.

Please contact Maggie Mann with any questions.

Back to Top

Built, Regional Cost Factors Drive Lithium-ion Battery Manufacturing Location Competitiveness

April 8, 2016—CEMAC's newest report, Automotive Lithium-ion Cell Manufacturing: Regional Cost Structures and Supply Chain Considerations, explores factors that drive regional competitiveness in automotive lithium-ion battery (LIB) cell production by modeling cell manufacturing cost and minimum sustainable price and examining development of LIB supply chains and current LIB market conditions. The study shows that factors driving the cost competitiveness of LIB manufacturing locations are mostly built, though some regional costs are significant and should be considered. Learn more about this study.

Back to Top

How Will c-SI PV Production Affect Silver Demand and Prices?

A new article in PV-Tech (subscription required) explores how increased c-Si PV module production might affect future silver demand and prices, as well as the impacts on total c-Si module manufacturing costs. To evaluate how PV's changing demand for silver might affect future silver prices, and the impact in terms of manufacturing costs, researchers from Colorado School of Mines and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory compiled some scenarios of silver's contribution to c-Si PV cell manufacturing costs on the basis of projected changes in demand and price as a result of changes in material intensity.

The analysis indicates that an expansion of c-Si production from 55GW/year to 250GW/year results in a 0.05-0.7¢/W increase in manufacturing costs because of higher silver prices.

Back to Top

FY15 Research Highlights: Discuss Findings in April 5 Webinar

Update: April 6, 2016—This webinar has concluded, but you can still view the webinar slides and contact us for an audio recording.

March 11, 2016—Join CEMAC staff and analysts in a webinar (register now) to discuss findings and insights from CEMAC's FY15 Research Highlights.

The FY15 Research Highlights report showcases key findings from four major studies on the manufacturing of clean energy technologies. Three of these focused on the end product: solar photovoltaic modules, wind turbines, and automotive lithium-ion batteries. The fourth area focused on a key material for manufacturing clean energy technologies, carbon fiber.

Webinar Details

The FY15 Research Highlights report also previews work that is underway to support CEMAC's mission: to provide robust, data-rich insights on clean energy markets and global trade flows. In 2016 CEMAC and our partners plan to conduct new or additional analysis on technologies such as:

  • Biomass-derived chemicals and products (NREL, Argonne National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
  • Carbon fiber for lightweighting (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NREL)
  • Conventional and advanced heat pumps (NREL)
  • Energy-efficient insulated windows (Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, NREL)
  • Geothermal binary power plants (NREL)
  • Hydrogen filling stations (NREL, Argonne National Laboratory)
  • LED commercial lighting (NREL)
  • Small hydropower generation (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NREL)
  • Solar PV (NREL)
  • Vehicle lithium-ion batteries (NREL, Argonne National Laboratory)
  • Wide bandgap devices for clean energy technologies (NREL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

Back to Top

NREL Patents Method for Continuous Monitoring of Materials During Manufacturing

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was recently issued a patent for a novel method that rapidly characterizes specialized materials during the manufacturing process. This approach significantly improves on standard quality control techniques by allowing for complete monitoring of materials without interrupting workflow.

"This technique enables materials manufacturers to detect potential problems early without slowing or stopping the manufacturing process," said Bhushan Sopori, an NREL materials performance scientist and inventor of the On-line Monitoring in Solar Cell and Fuel Cell Manufacturing technology. Commercial benefits of implementing this invention could extend to a number of industries including manufacturing of fuel cell components, semiconductor wafers, glass, and coatings.

Learn more.

Back to Top

Jill Engel-Cox Brings 25 Years of Clean Energy Experience to CEMAC

October 5, 2015—Jill Engel-Cox joins CEMAC today as its first program director. Engel-Cox brings a wide array of clean energy technology experience to the CEMAC team. As program director, Engel-Cox will lead and direct CEMAC's program plan and research, and manage CEMAC's overall analytical strategy, study methodologies, and results. Engel-Cox has been an engineer, researcher, program manager, and strategic planner for a diverse suite of renewable energy, clean technology, and environmental programs. Most recently, Engel-Cox was the director of international research and development planning at Battelle. She holds a doctoral degree in environmental science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University. Read Jill Engel-Cox's full bio.

Back to Top

Join CEMAC at the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit

CEMAC and its work will be highlighted in Washington, D.C. on September 15–16 at the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness (AEMC) Summit. The Summit is dedicated to building momentum around American innovation, progress, and competitiveness in energy and manufacturing. The Summit will galvanize public and private sector leaders to take concrete actions to enhance U.S. productivity and prosperity. The event is free and open to the public, but you must register to attend. Just enter "aemcsummit" as the username and password.

Back to Top

CEMAC Featured in NREL's Continuum Magazine

CEMAC technical director Maggie Mann discusses why manufacturing analysis matters.

July 10, 2015—CEMAC is featured in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) newest issue of Continuum. "[CEMAC is] examining clean energy industry trends; cost, price, and performance trends; market and policy drivers; and the future outlook for these technologies," says CEMAC technical director Maggie Mann. "My hope is that we can continue to add manufacturing analysis to our way of thinking. This would allow us to provide insights to help DOE program offices and our other clients allocate their [research and development] funds in such a way as to increase the likelihood that clean energy technologies developed in the United States will be manufactured in the United States." Read more.

Back to Top

United States Can Competitively Manufacture Automotive Lithium-ion Batteries

June 23, 2015—The Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center (CEMAC) today announced the release of its first research product, Automotive Lithium-ion Battery Supply Chain and U.S. Competitiveness Considerations, an analysis showing how, with increasing demand for electric and hybrid electric vehicles and U.S. vehicle manufacturers' proximity to customers, there is opportunity for the United States to compete globally in the automotive lithium-ion battery (LIB) market. The analysis takes a critical look at the LIB supply chain and U.S. competitiveness in relation to the global market for LIBs. With lower costs in areas such as materials, it finds potential for the United States to succeed in the $8.95 billion global LIB market, which is expected to reach $14.3 billion by 2020. Learn More.

Back to Top