Call for White Papers: Directed Funding Opportunity for Collaboration with National Laboratories

The Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative focuses on developing new high-performance fuels that, when combined with advanced combustion approaches, can boost engine efficiency and cut emissions. Co-Optima seeks proposals to leverage National Laboratory resources and overcome key technical challenges to advancing new liquid fuels and blendstocks, with an emphasis on biofuels from renewable and waste resources, which enable higher efficiency and lower environmental impact engines in on-highway vehicles. Proposals should address specific technical challenges and barriers that Co-Optima researchers can address to move new fuels closer to market in conjunction with advanced, high-efficiency engines.

This Directed Funding Opportunity (DFO) seeks proposals advancing the aims of Co-Optima:

Foundational and applied research and development (R&D) at the fuel-engine interface
This call seeks proposals to advance foundational knowledge at the fuel-engine interface, as well as applied R&D focused on advancing technologies that move promising bio-blendstocks and combustion approaches identified in Co-Optima closer to commercial adoption.

We are interested in proposals seeking to utilize any one or more of the capabilities listed at

Who is Eligible?

All U.S. domestic for-profit or non-profit businesses interested in Co-Optima goals and objectives in advancing fuel-engine Co-Optimization are eligible. Foreign entities, whether for-profit or otherwise, including U.S. incorporated subsidiaries with a foreign-owned parent company, are eligible to apply; however, a waiver request will be required. Approval of this waiver is subject to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) discretion and is necessary to complete the CRADA contract. All project work under this DFO must be performed in the United States (100% of all direct labor).

How to Apply

To apply, industry applicants are asked to submit a white paper project proposal (find the template here) by email to All submissions should be no more than 12 pages total in length and should succinctly describe the technical problem, the approach to developing a solution, what Co-Optima capabilities are needed, why DOE resources are necessary, and the anticipated impact towards increasing adoption of biomass-derived fuels.

Timeline for Co-Optima Directed Funding Opportunity

Slides and a recording from the December 3rd webinar are now available here.

Award Terms

Selected project awards are anticipated to be funded at $250,000 of Co-Optima National Laboratory assistance over a project duration of 12-18 months. Co-Optima anticipates a total of four funded projects as part of this DFO. Industry partners will fund their own labor, materials, and other expenses directly, which contribute toward a 20 percent minimum cost-share requirement. Contractual terms will be managed through a non-negotiable, pre-established Co-Optima Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Templates are available here:

Single Lab, single industry participant
Multiple Labs, single industry participant
Multiple Labs, multiple industry participants

Single Lab, single industry participant (LLNL only)
Multiple Labs, single industry participant (LLNL only)
Multiple Labs, multiple industry participants (LLNL only)

About Co-Optima

The DOE Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative is accelerating the introduction of clean, affordable, and scalable high-performance fuels and engines. This first-of-its-kind effort is simultaneously tackling fuel and engine R&D to maximize light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle fuel economy and performance, while mapping lower-cost pathways to reduce emissions, leveraging diverse domestic fuel resources, boosting U.S. economic productivity, and enhancing national energy security. Co-Optima brings together DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, nine National Laboratories and numerous universities, industry, and government stakeholders.

Informational Webinar

All applicants were invited to attend a December 3rd informational webinar. Slides and a recording from the webinar are now available here.


Answers to all questions from applicants will be posted here. More information can also be found in the slides and a recording from the December 3rd webinar.

Go here for more information about Co-Optima capabilities, or contact the Co-Optima program
*Federal funds allocated to DOE National Laboratories for providing Co-Optima resources only, subject to available DOE and Co-Optima budget. Industry cost share ≥ 20 percent.