Department of Energy will invest $300 million in green transportation research

The agency will offer grants in three different areas.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has set aside nearly $300 million, split across three separate funding opportunities, in new grants to promote the development of sustainable transportation tech. The first of the funds will see the DOE's Vehicles Technologies Office offer up to $133 million in grants to groups that pitch new battery, engine and fuel technologies.

The second, meanwhile, has the agency's Fuel Cells Technologies Office prepared to give up to $64 million to support the development of new hydrogen fuel cell technologies. Lastly, the department's Bioenergy Technologies Office has $100 million to finance alternative fuel advancements. The goal here is to support breakthroughs that reduce the cost of biofuels like ethanol.

To be considered for a grant, the DOE is asking applicants to first submit a concept paper and then a full application. The first set of papers are due on February 21st, with the final application deadline on April 30th.

It would likely be a mistake to ascribe today's funding announcement to a sudden change of heart from President Trump on the subject of climate change. It appears the DOE was instead exclusively motivated by economic concerns to support a growing industry. In the agency's press release, DOE Under Secretary Mark Menezes said the Trump administration "is committed to providing new energy and efficiency opportunities for manufacturers and consumers that will continue growing this ever-changing market."