DOE Issues Notice of Intent for New Fluid Power Research Program

Eric Lanke headshot 2017


By Eric Lanke
NFPA President/CEO

In follow-up to my recent post on my experience at the DOE workshop held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to discuss the formation of a new, $5 million hydraulics research program for off-highway vehicles, two important documents have just been released.

The first is a summary from the workshop organizers at NREL of their key observations from the workshop. I told you my takeaways from the event, as well as my predictions on what kind of projects might get funded, but this is information direct from the horse’s mouth. Among other things, their observations include the need for:

  • Characterization of duty cycles
  • Definition and measurement of performance and efficiency
  • Development and definition of standardized equipment-level test methods
  • New technologies to increase power density of stored energy
  • New architectures to recover and apply stored energy
  • New technology to reduce fluid power system losses
  • New architectures to level and reduce the peak system load requirements
  • Fluid development and evaluation
  • Component design
  • Integration of fluid monitoring and advanced component design

In addition to this revealing document, the DOE itself has issued a Notice of Intent to Issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for this program. The FOA will be entitled “Energy Efficiency R&D for Fluid-Power Systems in Off-Road Vehicles.”

The notice references the NREL workshop and the key observations just issued, and envisions awarding multiple financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements. The full FOA will be issued in October 2017 via the following website: Applicant teams, which should include both universities and off-road vehicle or fluid power systems manufacturers, are asked to register at the site at their earliest opportunity.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a major new initiative for the fluid power industry. The academic and industry leadership of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) were instrumental in creating this opportunity. Its success is a direct result of that unique organization and the NSF and industry funding it has received for the last twelve years. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make this program a reality.

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