By Khaled Masri, Program Manager, NEMA
Earlier this year, the U.S. Administration announced President Biden’s goals to create an electric grid free of carbon pollution by 2035 and reach a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. To help encourage innovation, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office is offering $4.5 million in awards to develop new materials that achieve significant improvements in electrical conductivity. The department will award the funds through the Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric applications (CABLE) prize.
The DOE also asked Khaled Masri, the NEMA Program Manager for the Wire and Cable Section, to lend his expertise as one of the selection judges for this important program.
To give competitors more time to submit proposals on ways to manufacture new, affordable and higher conductivity materials for electrical or thermal applications, the Stage 1 submission deadline was extended to August 3.
In Stage 1, DOE will award up to 10 competitors $25,000 in cash prizes and a stipend for third-party testing of their material(s) during Stage 2.
According to Wire & Cable Technology International magazine, Tina Kaarsberg, Technology Manager at the U.S. Department of Energy, believes this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rewire the American economy.
“The demands of the climate crisis require that we push back against all rules of thumb and conventional wisdom about using energy—including the idea that we can’t increase the conductivity of copper and aluminum or find new affordable materials or combination of materials that beat them,” Kaarsberg said in the article. “Recent advances in nanoscience and metallurgy developments have shown that we can and we must.”
Wires and cables represent the infinite network of highways that transport energy from one location to another. As the U.S. explores greater electrification through initiatives such as the CABLE Prize, NEMA is also expanding the role of its Wire and Cable Section, which covers products used in applications that include aerospace, shipbuilding, medicine, construction, and utilities.
This Section is comprised of four distinct sub-groups, each focusing on a specific area:
- Advanced Technology Wires and Cables: This group focuses on developing requirements for wire and cable used in power and communication, including voice and data, aerospace, military, shipboard, and transit wire and cable applications.
- Building Wires and Cables: Nearly every commercial, industrial, and residential building relies on products made following Standards that cover building wiring. This group works closely with Underwriters Laboratories and other Standards-developing organizations for armor cables, flexible metal conduits, metal-clad cables, nonmetallic sheath cables, and other types of building wires used and specified in the United States and National Electrical Code®.
- Power and Control Cables: This section covers both signal cables and high-voltage utility cables. This group tracks developments in the power and control cables technologies and advocates for the positions of NEMA Members on relevant issues to ensure industry needs are known for international trade and tariff issues.
- Flexible Cords: Nearly every appliance has a power cord. This group develops Standards related to power cables used in electric vehicles, which are a growing need. It also develops Standards for industrial, portable power cables, in addition to power cords for appliances.
For more information, email NEMA Program Manager Khaled Masri or call 703.841.3278.