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Please Note that a Letter of Intent is due Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Program Area Overview


The Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. The results of BES-supported research are routinely published in the open literature.

A key function of the program is to plan, construct, and operate premier scientific user facilities for the development of novel nanomaterials and for materials and chemical characterization through x-ray and neutron scattering; the former is accomplished through five Nanoscale Science Research Centers and the latter is accomplished through the world's largest suite of light source and neutron scattering facilities. These national resources are available free of charge to all researchers based on the quality and importance of proposed nonproprietary experiments.

A major objective of the BES program is to promote the transfer of the results of our basic research to advance and create technologies important to Department of Energy (DOE) missions in areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, improved use of fossil fuels, the mitigation of the adverse impacts of energy production and use, and future nuclear energy sources. The following set of technical topics represents one important mechanism by which the BES program augments its system of university and laboratory research programs and integrates basic science, applied research, and development activities within the DOE.

For additional information regarding the Office of Basic Energy Sciences priorities, click here.



Maximum Phase I Award Amount: $150,000

Maximum Phase II Award Amount: $1,000,000

Accepting SBIR Applications: YES

Accepting STTR Applications: YES


The Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES), in support of the DOE Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy’s Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development and Demonstration (SubTER) Crosscut Initiative, seeks to developing advanced methods to access the subsurface.

While subsurface sources constitute the Nation’s primary source of energy (providing more than 80 percent of total U.S. energy needs today), they are also critical to the Nation’s low-carbon and secure energy future. Next generation advances in subsurface technologies will enable access to more than 100 gigawatt-electric (GWe) of clean, renewable geothermal energy, as well as safer development of domestic natural gas supplies. The subsurface provides hundreds of years of safe storage capacity for carbon dioxide (CO2) and opportunities for environmentally responsible management and disposal of hazardous materials and other energy waste streams. The subsurface can also serve as a reservoir for energy storage for power produced from intermittent generation sources, such as wind and solar. These opportunities are directly linked to Administration priorities and to broader societal needs. Clean energy deployment and CO2 storage are critical components of the President’s Climate Action Plan and are necessary to meet the 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 83 percent below 2005 levels. Increasing domestic hydrocarbon resource recovery in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner is also an Administration goal that enhances national security and fuels economic growth. Thus, discovering and effectively harnessing subsurface resources while mitigating impacts of their development and use are critical pieces of the Nation’s energy strategy moving forward.

Grant applications are sought in the following subtopics:

a.     Development of Advanced Methods to Access the Subsurface in High-Temperature and High-Pressure Environments

Grant applications are sought to research, develop, and deploy new and original processes, techniques, tools, and/or sensors that support the SubTER crosscut initiative’s thrust areas of wellbore integrity and drilling technologies. Geothermal energy resources are often more difficult to access compared to other subsurface energy resources due to deep drilling through high-temperature, high-pressure, hard crystalline lithologies.


Responsive applications to this subtopic could include techniques to address wellbore instability, reduce lost circulation, or drill in the presence of CO2 (or other gasses). The innovations sought range from well log/petrophysical analyses to new packers, liners, and other completion tools.


Applicants must quantify and support their predicted improvement over current state of the art. The technologies of interest must have a pathway toward operations in high temperature (> 250°C) and high pressure (> 1500 bar) environments.


Questions – Contact: Josh Mengers,


b.     Other

In addition to the specific subtopic listed above, the Department solicits applications in other areas that fall within the specific scope of the topic description above.


Questions – Contact: Josh Mengers,



1.     Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Earth Sciences Division, Wellbore Integrity and Drilling Technologies, Subsurface Crosscut, SubTER: Subsurface and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration. (

2.     Finger, J., and Blankenship, D., 2010, Handbook of Best Practices for Geothermal Drilling, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque. (

3.     Rivenbark, Mark, et al., 2011, Deep Geothermal Well Completions: A Review of Downhole Problems and Specialized Technology Needs, Proceedings 36th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, Stanford, California, p. 4. (


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