Energy & Biosciences Institute/Shell - High Risk/High Reward RFP - Energy & Biosciences Institute

Energy & Biosciences Institute/Shell – High Risk/High Reward RFP

Announcement 26th Mar, 2024
POSTED: 26th Mar, 2024

The EBI is inviting discipline agnostic “high-risk/high-reward” proposals that address the need for future energy and chemical carrier breakthroughs to meet climate neutral and sustainability targets set forth by the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. While recent advancements in energy pathways have reduced the carbon intensity of electricity generation (e.g. solar, wind) and utilization (e.g. electric vehicles, biofuels), the world will require additional advancement of sustainable energy and chemical pathways to not exceed 1.5oC average temperature rise compared to pre-industrial levels.

The EBI is looking to fund short-term projects that offer significant potential for sustainability and decarbonization compared to current technologies, while being economically viable, globally scalable, and socially acceptable. Since the projects will have a maximum duration of 18 months, we specifically seek proposals that test the technical and economic feasibility of a “high-risk/high-reward” idea in sustainable energy and chemistry. We anticipate that the principal investigators (PIs) of successful projects will be invited to submit proposals for a second phase of funding.

At this time, we invite PIs at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to submit proposals that outline steps for testing the feasibility of a “high-risk/high-reward” idea in the areas of interest described below. Only PIs or Co-PIs with primary appointments at these partner institutions are eligible for funding.  PIs with Howard Hughes Medical Institution (HHMI) or equivalent appointments are not eligible to participate. With a commitment of $400,000 to this specific call, project funds will be capped at $130,000 for the duration of the project. Because the problems posed are complex, we envision that some of the proposals will involve multiple investigators who will contribute complementary expertise to a team approach to the problem. However, each proposal should have a single PI who can serve as a point person for the interaction between EBI and the team.

Themes of Interest

  1. Energy carriers and supporting infrastructure for transportation (road, marine, and aviation) and industry;
  2. Low-carbon technologies for industrial heating (e.g., chemical/refining, steel, cement) or upgrading low-grade heat;
  3. Circular (bio)chemical production using waste streams with equivalent or superior functionality compared to existing production;
  4. Energy storage technologies for transportation, industrial, and grid applications (mechanisms for conversion to/from carriers should be explicitly considered); and
  5. Carbon removal and long-term storage technologies.
Proposal SubmissionApril 26th, 2024
Proposal Review and funding decisionsJune 15th, 2024
Earliest Project Funding BeginsAugust 1st, 2024

For more information, please review and download the RFP and required budget template that must be submitted with your proposal.


For further technical questions, please contact the following individuals:

EBI: Christopher V Rao, +1 (217) 244-2247

Shell: David Kordonowy, +1 (281) 544-9266

For administrative or general support questions, please contact: Shelley Brozenick,


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