Nominations Open for 2021 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards
TDEC is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2021 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, which honor outstanding accomplishments that support the protection and enhancement of Tennessee’s natural resources. Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2021 awards, which include the following categories: Building Green; Clean Air; Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach (for both school and non-school projects); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; Sustainable Performance; Agriculture and Forestry; Natural Resources; Water Quality; and Lifetime Achievement.
The use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies, or other sustainable transportation projects could be eligible for an award under several categories, including Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources, or Agriculture and Forestry. Any individual, business, organization, educational institution, or agency is eligible for nomination, provided it is located in Tennessee and the project was completed during the 2020 calendar year. A panel of judges will select award recipients based on criteria including level of project or program completion, innovation, and public education. The deadline for nominations is April 1, and winners will be announced in May. Contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or with any questions.
Federal Alternative Fuel Tax Credits Extended Through 2021
In December, President Trump signed the FY 2021 Omnibus Spending Bill, which included tax credit extensions for alternative fuels through 2021. The bill calls for a one-year extension of the $1.01 per gallon credit for production of second-generation biofuel, as well as an extension of the credit for renewable natural gas in both compressed and liquefied applications. The Alternative Fuels Tax Credit also extends the $0.50 per gallon fuel credit for the use of natural gas and propane autogas as transportation fuels. For more information on these credits, see the relevant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) page here.

Additionally, the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit extends the 30% investment tax credit, up to $30,000, for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property. For more information on this credit, see the relevant IRS page here.
Metro Nashville Receives Funding for Smart City Infrastructure Improvements 
Less than a month after Metro Council approved Mayor John Cooper’s $1.6 billion transportation plan, U.S. DOT announced that Nashville was one of ten U.S. cities selected to receive an award for advanced transportation and congestion management technology projects. The city will receive $1.5 million to deploy infrastructure improvements along Charlotte Avenue, a highly-trafficked corridor that suffers from some of the city’s slowest average travel times. Funds will be used to carry out technology upgrades along the corridor under the approved transportation plan, including the installation of transportation sensors and updated traffic signals to better monitor and respond to changing traffic patterns throughout the day. The project is estimated to take 24 to 30 months to complete and will benefit the 16,000 residents and 88,000 workers located within a half-mile of the corridor. TDOT has committed $1 million to the project and another $500,000 is budgeted in Metro Public Works’ capital spending plan. Read the full press release here.
ORNL Research Advances EV Battery Density, Reduces Cost
ORNL researchers have developed a new family of cathodes with the potential to replace cobalt-based cathodes typically found in today’s lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power electric vehicles. This new class of cathodes called NFA (a.k.a., nickel-, iron-, and aluminum-based) is designed to be fast charging, energy dense, cost effective, and longer lasting. Cobalt is rare and largely mined overseas, making it costly and difficult to acquire and produce cobalt-based cathodes. As a result, finding cost-effective cobalt alternatives, like NFA, has become a major battery research priority. Though research on the NFA cathodes is in its early stages, preliminary results suggest that cobalt may not be needed for next-generation lithium-ion batteries. 
U.S. DOE Releases Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap
U.S. DOE recently released the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) Roadmap, the department’s first comprehensive energy storage strategy for America. In addition to concerted research efforts, the Roadmap calls for a faster transition of technologies from the lab to the marketplace, focusing on ways to competitively manufacture energy storage technologies (including battery storage technologies for use in the transportation sector) at scale in the U.S., and ensuring secure supply chains to enable domestic manufacturing. The Roadmap includes an aggressive but achievable goal: to develop and domestically manufacture energy storage technologies that can meet all U.S. market demands by 2030. U.S. DOE has also released two companion ESGC reports: the 2020 Grid Energy Storage Technology Cost and Performance Assessment and the Energy Storage Market Report 2020. These reports provide data that informed the Roadmap and accessible information for the entire energy stakeholder community. Click here to read more. 
U.S. DOE Announces FY2021 Funding Opportunity for Vehicle Technologies Research
U.S. DOE recently published a $60 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that seeks research projects to address the following vehicle technologies areas: batteries and electrification; materials; technology integration and energy efficient mobility systems; energy-efficient commercial off-road vehicle technologies; and co-optimized advanced engine and fuel technologies to improve fuel economy. Detailed technical descriptions of the specific areas of interest (AOI) are provided below:
  • Next-generation Liquid Electrolytes for Li-ion Cells Under Extreme Conditions
  • Liquid Electrolytes for Li-S Cells Introduction
  • Development of State-of-the-art Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Air Battery Cells
  • High Power Density Inverters
  • Integrated Simulation of Combustion and Aftertreatment - Optimizing for Near-Zero Emissions (ISCA-ONE)
  • Demonstration of Lightweight Multi-Material Glider System
  • Low-cost Infrastructure-based Enablers for Cooperative Driving Automation
  • Implementation of Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Technologies into Real-World System Applications
  • Transportation and Energy Analysis
U.S. DOE anticipates making approximately 20 to 32 awards under this FOA; individual awards may vary between $300,000 and $5,750,000, depending on the AOI selected. Concept papers are due February 5 with full applications due April 7. To read the full FOA, click here. To learn more about this funding opportunity, click here.
2021 Keeling Curve Prize
Applications are now being accepted for the 2021 Keeling Curve Prize, which awards $25,000 to outstanding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible applicants include those working on active, ongoing projects in the following categories: Social & Cultural Pathways; Energy; Finance; Transport & Mobility; and Capture & Utilization. Two winners will be selected in each category. Applications are due by 6:00 PM Central on February 10Click here to view the application form.
2021 DERA National Grants
Each year, the U.S. EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program allocates funds nationwide to implement projects aimed at reducing emissions from older diesel engines. In 2021, U.S. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $46 million in DERA grant funding to eligible applicants across the country. The maximum amount of federal funding that may be requested per application varies by region. Tennessee applicants fall into EPA Region 4 and are eligible to request up to $2 million in grant funds per project. Eligible applicants include:
  • Regional, State, local, or tribal agencies/consortia or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality;
  • Nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or have the promotion of transportation or air quality as their principal purpose; and
  • School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), cities, and counties, to the extent that they fall within the bulleted definitions above.
Grant funds may be used for clean diesel projects such as EPA- and/or CARB-verified technologies or certified engine retrofits; idle-reduction technologies; aerodynamic technologies and low-rolling resistance tires; and engine, vehicle, or equipment replacements. Eligible diesel vehicles, engines, and equipment include school buses; Class 5-8 heavy-duty highway vehicles; locomotive engines; marine engines; and non-road equipment used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining, or energy production. Replacement projects can include the replacement of highway and non-road diesel vehicles/equipment with new, cleaner diesel, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicles/equipment (alternative fuels including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, or zero tailpipe emissions technologies such as battery or fuel cell vehicles where applicable). Funds under this program cannot be used to fund emission reductions mandated by federal law.
Applications for the Clean Diesel National Grants are due to U.S. EPA by March 16. U.S. EPA will be holding a series of informational webinars on January 26 at 1:00 PM Eastern, February 3 at 3:00 PM Eastern, and February 11 at 2:00 PM Eastern. To apply, visit For more information on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit To view the full Request For Applications, click here.
First Responder Safety Training: Intro to Alternative Fuel Vehicles
U.S. DOE Clean Cities will host an introductory webinar on January 26 at 1:00 PM Central titled “First Responder Safety Training: Intro to Alternative Fuel Vehicles.” Attendees will learn the basics on alternative fuel vehicles—for example, propane, natural gas, and plug-in electric vehicles—and how to identify these vehicles in the field. Indianapolis Fire Department Engine Captain Chris Womack will highlight how these vehicles can be used in first responder applications and will provide tips on responding to incidents using these vehicles. Click here to register.
Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report
The Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report is a quarterly report designed to keep Clean Cities Coalitions and other interested parties up to date on the price of alternative and conventional vehicle fuels in the U.S. The report presents current fuel cost data as well as price comparisons among fuel types and geographic regions. The most recent report summarizes fuel prices submitted by Clean Cities Coordinators, fuel providers, and other Clean Cities stakeholders between October 1 and October 15, 2020. Click here to view the report.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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