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Updated 16 September 2005

Vision and Framework for Strategy and Planning
Published August 2005




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System for photobiological algal hydrogen production: Courtesy of DOE/NREL, Credit – Warren Gretz



Genomes to Life Logo: Human Genome Project



Cellulase Molecular Machine, Converting Cellulose to Glucose Precursors, Genomes to Life, Office of Science, U.S. DOE



Zymomonas mobilis, a metabolically engineered bacteria used for fermenting both glucose and xylose to ethanol: Courtesy of DOE/NREL, Credit – Min Zhang



Chemist’s Beaker: Courtesy of DOE/NREL, Credit – Warren Gretz



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CCTP Goal 6: Bolster Basic Science Contributions to Technology Development

Basic scientific research is fundamental to progress in applied technology research and development. The dual challenges—addressing global climate change and providing the energy supply needed to meet future demand, and sustain economic growth—will likely require discoveries and innovations well beyond what today’s science and technology can offer. Science must not just inform decisions, but provide the underlying knowledge foundation on which new technologies are built. The CCTP framework aims to strengthen the basic research enterprise so that it will be better prepared to find solutions and create new opportunities. Building on the foundations of fundamental research, CCTP focuses on two ways to meet this goal:

Strategic Research.

The CCTP portfolio includes a broad set of ongoing applied technology R&D programs, and more are poised to start in the future. These ongoing and future research activities need to be supported by basic scientific research. Basic research can lead to fundamental discoveries (e.g., new properties, phenomena, or materials) or scientific understanding. Basic research can also be inspired by technical challenges in the applied R&D programs. Results from basic research can then be applied to solving specific problems impeding progress and advancement of technologies in energy supply and end-use, carbon capture, storage and sequestration, non-CO2 GHGs, and monitoring and measurement.

Exploratory Research.

Innovative concepts are often too risky or multi-disciplinary for one program mission to support. Sometimes they do not fit neatly within the constructs of mission-specific program goals. Therefore, not all of the research on innovative concepts for climate-related technology is, or should be, aligned directly to one of the existing Federal R&D mission-related programs. The climate change challenge calls for new breakthroughs in technology that could dramatically reduce GHG emissions or change the way energy is produced, transformed, and used in the global economy. Basic exploratory research of innovative and novel concepts, not elsewhere covered, is one way to uncover such “breakthrough technology” and strengthen and broaden the R&D portfolio.

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