Today, we will hear from a panel of experts on advanced manufacturing technology development and discuss the Department of Energy (DOE)’s and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s roles in enabling fundamental research and development in support of this rapidly evolving field.

Advanced manufacturing covers a wide range of applications – from additive manufacturing and creating advanced controls and sensors, to developing waste heat recovery systems and wide bandgap semiconductors for power electronics. 

Innovation in advanced manufacturing is critical to America’s continued international competitiveness. Today’s hearing is another opportunity to evaluate whether we are effectively targeting federal efforts to ensure that the United States remains a leader in science and technology.

DOE primarily funds advanced manufacturing research through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office.

AMO funds R&D projects at the DOE national labs and enables early-stage, technical partnerships with American universities and industry stakeholders in order to improve the energy efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturing processes.

For example, the DOE-managed Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) works with national labs and university partners to accelerate R&D in manufacturing advanced polymer composites for use in vehicles and wind turbines.

Similarly, at the Oak Ridge National Lab Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, researchers host partners from industry to apply advanced manufacturing technologies in order to lower their production costs, create new products, and reduce life-cycle energy needs. 

Today we will hear from one of these industry partners – Dow Chemical Company. 

Dow Chemical is a diversified chemical company that leverages advanced manufacturing R&D to drive innovation over a broad range of chemical products and services – some of which are produced by the over 6,000 Dow Chemical employees and contractors in the 14th district of Texas. 

Dow Chemical relies on the deep bench of basic research capabilities that only the federal government can provide.  Since 2015, Dow Chemical has entered into 26 different collaborations with DOE, and 10 collaborations with NIST on complex research challenges.

Partnerships like this between the federal government, the national labs, academia, and industry on advanced manufacturing can modernize and transform many U.S. sectors.

But in our search for breakthroughs, we must focus the taxpayer’s investments on the things the federal government is good at doing – which we all know isn’t everything.  With that in mind, DOE should continue to prioritize investments in user facilities, and the basic and early-stage research that provides the critical data and analytical tools industry needs to commercialize groundbreaking technologies. 

I want to thank the Chairman for holding this hearing and the witnesses for their testimony, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the right priorities for federal investment in advanced manufacturing today.