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114th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                     {      114-680

======================================================================



 
                       SOLAR FUELS INNOVATION ACT

                                _______
                                

 July 11, 2016.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 5638]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 5638) to provide for the 
establishment at the Department of Energy of a Solar Fuels 
Basic Research Initiative, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     3
Section-by-Section...............................................     4
Explanation of Amendments........................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     4
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     5
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     5
Earmark Identification...........................................     5
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     5
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     6
Minority Views...................................................    10

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Solar Fuels Innovation Act''.

SEC. 2. SOLAR FUELS BASIC RESEARCH INITIATIVE.

  (a) Amendment.--Section 973 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 
U.S.C. 16313) is amended to read as follows:

``SEC. 973. SOLAR FUELS BASIC RESEARCH INITIATIVE.

  ``(a) Initiative.--
          ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall carry out a research 
        initiative, to be known as the Solar Fuels Basic Research 
        Initiative, to expand theoretical and fundamental knowledge of 
        photochemistry, electrochemistry, biochemistry, and materials 
        science useful for the practical development of experimental 
        systems to convert solar energy to chemical energy.
          ``(2) Leveraging.--The Secretary shall leverage expertise and 
        resources from the Basic Energy Sciences Program and Biological 
        and Environmental Research Program within the Office of 
        Science, and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable 
        Energy, as provided under subsections (b) and (c).
          ``(3) Teams.--The Secretary shall organize activities under 
        the Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative to include 
        multidisciplinary teams leveraging expertise from the National 
        Laboratories, universities, and the private sector to the 
        extent practicable. These multidisciplinary teams shall pursue 
        aggressive, milestone-driven basic research goals. The 
        Secretary shall provide sufficient resources for those teams to 
        achieve those goals over a period of time to be determined by 
        the Secretary.
          ``(4) Additional activities.--The Secretary is authorized to 
        organize additional activities under this subsection through 
        Energy Frontier Research Centers, Energy Innovation Hubs, or 
        other organizational structures.
  ``(b) Artificial Photosynthesis.--
          ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall, as part of the Solar 
        Fuels Basic Research Initiative, carry out a program to support 
        research needed to bridge scientific barriers and discover 
        knowledge relevant to artificial photosynthetic systems. In 
        carrying out activities under this subsection, the Director of 
        the Office of Basic Energy Sciences shall support basic 
        research to pursue distinct lines of scientific inquiry, 
        including photoinduced production of hydrogen and oxygen from 
        water, and the sustainable photoinduced reduction of carbon 
        dioxide to fuel products including hydrocarbons, alcohols, 
        carbon monoxide, and natural gas. The Assistant Secretary for 
        Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy shall support 
        translational research, development, and validation of physical 
        concepts developed under this subsection.
          ``(2) Standard of review.--The Secretary shall review the 
        program activities under this subsection to determine the 
        achievement of technical milestones.
          ``(3) Authorization of appropriations.--
                  ``(A) Authorization.--Subject to subsection (d), 
                there are authorized for carrying out activities under 
                this subsection for each of fiscal years 2017 through 
                2020--
                          ``(i) $50,000,000 from funds within the Basic 
                        Energy Sciences Program account; and
                          ``(ii) $25,000,000 from funds within the 
                        Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy account.
                  ``(B) Prohibition.--No funds authorized under this 
                subsection may be obligated or expended for commercial 
                application of energy technology.
  ``(c) Biochemistry, Replication of Natural Photosynthesis, and 
Related Processes.--
          ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall, as part of the Solar 
        Fuels Basic Research Initiative, carry out a program to support 
        research needed to replicate natural photosynthetic processes 
        by use of artificial photosynthetic components and materials. 
        In carrying out activities under this subsection, the Director 
        of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences shall support basic 
        research to expand fundamental knowledge to replicate natural 
        synthesis processes, including the photoinduced reduction of 
        dinitrogen to ammonia, absorption of carbon dioxide from 
        ambient air, molecular-based charge separation and storage, 
        photoinitiated electron transfer, and catalysis in biological 
        or biomimetic systems. The Associate Director of Biological and 
        Environmental Research shall support systems biology and 
        genomics approaches to understand genetic and physiological 
        pathways connected to photosynthetic mechanisms. The Assistant 
        Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy shall 
        support translational research, development, and validation of 
        physical concepts developed under this subsection.
          ``(2) Standard of review.--The Secretary shall review the 
        program activities under this subsection to determine the 
        achievement of technical milestones.
          ``(3) Authorization of appropriations.--
                  ``(A) Authorization.--Subject to subsection (d), 
                there are authorized for carrying out activities under 
                this subsection for each of fiscal years 2017 through 
                2020--
                          ``(i) $50,000,000 from funds within the Basic 
                        Energy Sciences Program and Biological and 
                        Environmental Research Program accounts; and
                          ``(ii) $25,000,000 from funds within the 
                        Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy account.
                  ``(B) Prohibition.--No funds authorized under this 
                subsection may be obligated or expended for commercial 
                application of energy technology.
  ``(d) Funding.--No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated 
under this section. This section shall be carried out using funds 
otherwise authorized by law.''.
  (b) Table of Contents Amendment.--The item relating to section 973 in 
the table of contents of such Act is amended to read as follows:

``Sec. 973. Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative.''.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    This legislation replaces Section 973 (Catalysis Research 
Program) of Title IX of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 
U.S.C. 16313) with new policy direction and program authority 
for the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science. 
Section 973 will now direct DOE to prioritize basic research in 
chemistry and materials science relevant to experimental solar 
fuels systems by establishing a solar fuels basic research 
initiative.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On June 15, 2016, the Energy Subcommittee of the Committee 
on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing entitled 
``Innovation in Solar Fuels, Electricity Storage, and Advanced 
Materials,'' which explored opportunities in basic and early 
stage research for experimental solar fuels systems.
    On June 17, 2015, the Energy Subcommittee of the Committee 
on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing entitled, 
``Department of Energy Oversight: Energy Innovation Hubs,'' 
which scrutinized the effectiveness of the DOE's model for 
energy innovation through the leveraging of expertise from the 
DOE laboratories, universities, and the private sector.

                            COMMITTEE VIEWS

    Under this Act, the DOE will organize its basic research 
efforts to advance artificial photosynthesis, photosynthesis 
replication, and related processes to produce chemical energy, 
otherwise known as solar fuels, under the new Solar Fuels Basic 
Research Initiative (the Initiative). The Initiative provides 
direction for the DOE Office of Science to concentrate its 
approach to solar fuels through basic research carried out by 
multidisciplinary teams. The Initiative may leverage 
established organizational structures, including energy 
frontier research centers and DOE's Energy Innovation Hub on 
fuels from sunlight, known as the Joint Center for Artificial 
Photosynthesis. The Committee encourages DOE to consider new 
mechanisms to efficiently make accessible the milestone driven 
research that will result from this initiative in order to most 
effectively engage with the research community.
    The Initiative also provides authority for a seamless 
transition from basic research to applied research and 
development. Once the Office of Science makes the determination 
that its work has met the objectives and bounds of its basic 
research mission, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable 
Energy is authorized to carry out the necessary translational 
research to validate and demonstrate the concepts envisioned by 
the research teams supported by the Office of Science to the 
private sector and other interested stakeholders.

                           Section-by-Section


Sec. 1. Short title

    The short title of this legislation is ``Solar Fuels 
Innovation Act.''

Sec. 2. Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative

    This section amends Section 973 of the Energy Policy Act of 
2005 by striking outdated program direction and replacing it. 
This section establishes a Solar Fuels Basic Research 
Initiative that will support basic and early stage research to 
advance fundamental scientific knowledge of photochemistry, 
electrochemistry, biochemistry, and materials science relevant 
to experimental solar fuels systems. This section provides 
statutory direction and authorizes appropriations for the 
Secretary of Energy to leverage expertise from the Office of 
Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to 
carry out research activities. No additional funds are 
authorized as all activities under this section are to be 
carried out using existing funding. Also, no funds authorized 
under this section are to be used for commercialization 
activities.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    The Committee agreed by voice vote to an amendment that 
explicitly makes clear that the DOE may organize activities 
under the Initiative through energy innovation hubs.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 7, 2016, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 5638, as amended, by 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill directs DOE to prioritize basic research in chemistry 
and materials science relevant to experimental solar fuels 
systems by establishing a solar fuels basic research 
initiative. As such this bill does not relate to employment or 
access to public services and accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    H.R. 5638, the Solar Fuels Innovation Act, directs DOE to 
prioritize basic research in chemistry and materials science 
relevant to experimental solar fuels systems by establishing a 
solar fuels basic research initiative.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 5638 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting H.R. 5638 does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 5638 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, an estimate 
and comparison prepared by the Director of Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974 was not submitted to the Committee before the filing of 
the report.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                       ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Energy 
Policy Act of 2005''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is 
as follows:

     * * * * * * *

                   TITLE IX--RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

     * * * * * * *

                           Subtitle G--Science

     * * * * * * *
[Sec. 973. Catalysis research program.]
Sec. 973. Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE IX--RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subtitle G--Science

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


[SEC. 973. CATALYSIS RESEARCH PROGRAM.

  [(a) Establishment.--The Secretary, acting through the Office 
of Science, shall support a program of research and development 
in catalysis science consistent with the statutory authorities 
of the Department related to research and development.
  [(b) Components.--The program shall include efforts to--
          [(1) enable catalyst design using combinations of 
        experimental and mechanistic methodologies coupled with 
        computational modeling of catalytic reactions at the 
        molecular level;
          [(2) develop techniques for high throughput 
        synthesis, assay, and characterization at nanometer and 
        subnanometer scales in-situ under actual operating 
        conditions;
          [(3) synthesize catalysts with specific site 
        architectures;
          [(4) conduct research on the use of precious metals 
        for catalysis; and
          [(5) translate molecular understanding to the design 
        of catalytic compounds.
  [(c) Duties of the Office of Science.--In carrying out the 
program, the Director of the Office of Science shall--
          [(1) support both individual investigators and 
        multidisciplinary teams of investigators to pioneer new 
        approaches in catalytic design;
          [(2) develop, plan, construct, acquire, share, or 
        operate special equipment or facilities for the use of 
        investigators in collaboration with national user 
        facilities, such as nanoscience and engineering 
        centers;
          [(3) support technology transfer activities to 
        benefit industry and other users of catalysis science 
        and engineering; and
          [(4) coordinate research and development activities 
        with industry and other Federal agencies.
  [(d) Assessment.--Not later than 3 years after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into an 
arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to--
          [(1) review the catalysis program to measure--
                  [(A) gains made in the fundamental science of 
                catalysis; and
                  [(B) progress towards developing new fuels 
                for energy production and material fabrication 
                processes; and
          [(2) submit to Congress a report describing the 
        results of the review.]

SEC. 973. SOLAR FUELS BASIC RESEARCH INITIATIVE.

  (a) Initiative.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall carry out a 
        research initiative, to be known as the Solar Fuels 
        Basic Research Initiative, to expand theoretical and 
        fundamental knowledge of photochemistry, 
        electrochemistry, biochemistry, and materials science 
        useful for the practical development of experimental 
        systems to convert solar energy to chemical energy.
          (2) Leveraging.--The Secretary shall leverage 
        expertise and resources from the Basic Energy Sciences 
        Program and Biological and Environmental Research 
        Program within the Office of Science, and the Office of 
        Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, as provided 
        under subsections (b) and (c).
          (3) Teams.--The Secretary shall organize activities 
        under the Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative to 
        include multidisciplinary teams leveraging expertise 
        from the National Laboratories, universities, and the 
        private sector to the extent practicable. These 
        multidisciplinary teams shall pursue aggressive, 
        milestone-driven basic research goals. The Secretary 
        shall provide sufficient resources for those teams to 
        achieve those goals over a period of time to be 
        determined by the Secretary.
          (4) Additional activities.--The Secretary is 
        authorized to organize additional activities under this 
        subsection through Energy Frontier Research Centers, 
        Energy Innovation Hubs, or other organizational 
        structures.
  (b) Artificial Photosynthesis.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall, as part of the 
        Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative, carry out a 
        program to support research needed to bridge scientific 
        barriers and discover knowledge relevant to artificial 
        photosynthetic systems. In carrying out activities 
        under this subsection, the Director of the Office of 
        Basic Energy Sciences shall support basic research to 
        pursue distinct lines of scientific inquiry, including 
        photoinduced production of hydrogen and oxygen from 
        water, and the sustainable photoinduced reduction of 
        carbon dioxide to fuel products including hydrocarbons, 
        alcohols, carbon monoxide, and natural gas. The 
        Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable 
        Energy shall support translational research, 
        development, and validation of physical concepts 
        developed under this subsection.
          (2) Standard of review.--The Secretary shall review 
        the program activities under this subsection to 
        determine the achievement of technical milestones.
          (3) Authorization of appropriations.--
                  (A) Authorization.--Subject to subsection 
                (d), there are authorized for carrying out 
                activities under this subsection for each of 
                fiscal years 2017 through 2020--
                          (i) $50,000,000 from funds within the 
                        Basic Energy Sciences Program account; 
                        and
                          (ii) $25,000,000 from funds within 
                        the Energy Efficiency and Renewable 
                        Energy account.
                  (B) Prohibition.--No funds authorized under 
                this subsection may be obligated or expended 
                for commercial application of energy 
                technology.
  (c) Biochemistry, Replication of Natural Photosynthesis, and 
Related Processes.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall, as part of the 
        Solar Fuels Basic Research Initiative, carry out a 
        program to support research needed to replicate natural 
        photosynthetic processes by use of artificial 
        photosynthetic components and materials. In carrying 
        out activities under this subsection, the Director of 
        the Office of Basic Energy Sciences shall support basic 
        research to expand fundamental knowledge to replicate 
        natural synthesis processes, including the photoinduced 
        reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia, absorption of 
        carbon dioxide from ambient air, molecular-based charge 
        separation and storage, photoinitiated electron 
        transfer, and catalysis in biological or biomimetic 
        systems. The Associate Director of Biological and 
        Environmental Research shall support systems biology 
        and genomics approaches to understand genetic and 
        physiological pathways connected to photosynthetic 
        mechanisms. The Assistant Secretary for Energy 
        Efficiency and Renewable Energy shall support 
        translational research, development, and validation of 
        physical concepts developed under this subsection.
          (2) Standard of review.--The Secretary shall review 
        the program activities under this subsection to 
        determine the achievement of technical milestones.
          (3) Authorization of appropriations.--
                  (A) Authorization.--Subject to subsection 
                (d), there are authorized for carrying out 
                activities under this subsection for each of 
                fiscal years 2017 through 2020--
                          (i) $50,000,000 from funds within the 
                        Basic Energy Sciences Program and 
                        Biological and Environmental Research 
                        Program accounts; and
                          (ii) $25,000,000 from funds within 
                        the Energy Efficiency and Renewable 
                        Energy account.
                  (B) Prohibition.--No funds authorized under 
                this subsection may be obligated or expended 
                for commercial application of energy 
                technology.
  (d) Funding.--No additional funds are authorized to be 
appropriated under this section. This section shall be carried 
out using funds otherwise authorized by law.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    Last month this Committee held what I thought was a 
worthwhile hearing that helped illuminate the importance of 
strengthening our support for research in solar fuels. This is 
clearly the aim of the Solar Fuels Innovation Act, and I 
appreciate that the Majority is attempting to advance 
technologies that could go a long way to improving our energy 
security and to addressing the serious threat of climate 
change.
    However, I am concerned about what may be some of the 
unintended consequences of the language in this bill, and the 
Department of Energy echoed these concerns to Majority and 
Minority Committee staff this week. DOE noted that labeling 
research as either ``basic'' or ``applied'' in legislation 
could be problematic given that the distinction can be unclear 
and subjective, and the activities described in this bill can 
easily be considered ``applied'' research given current 
guidance by the Office of Management and Budget. So language 
attempting to restrict the initiatives authorized in this bill 
to ``basic'' research activities could create an inherent 
conflict in their implementation.
    I would note that at that hearing last month, I actually 
asked the witnesses about whether it is realistic to assert--
and attempt to build policy around--a separation between basic 
and applied research. All of the witnesses agreed that such a 
division is nonexistent, and policymakers should not try to 
divide these two categories of research or pit them against one 
another.
           Dr. Nathan Lewis said, ``To the extent that 
        the use-inspired fundamental research has an outlet 
        into practical implementation, there should be no 
        boundary.''
           Dr. Daniel Hallinan agreed and said, ``The 
        questions that we need to answer are well-defined by 
        the applied side and then we can approach them from a 
        fundamental perspective . . . There is not really a 
        clear line between basic and applied.''
           Dr. Daniel Scherson said, ``10% of the cost 
        of an actual battery goes into materials and 90% into 
        manufacturing, so you know we have to be able to bridge 
        the gap between what we regard as fundamental research 
        and applied research. I'm afraid companies may not want 
        to take the risk.''
           And Dr. Collin Broholm noted the example of 
        the legendary Bell Labs, a model for research that the 
        private sector no longer supports, saying, ``Those who 
        are working in the discovery realm need to have the 
        ability to view some of the challenges that exist in 
        the real world as well so this artificial barrier is in 
        fact very unfortunate.''
    Lastly, I would note that one of the letters of support 
that the Chairman submitted for the record, from a company 
called Opus 12 based in Berkeley, California, highlighted 
significant concern with this bill's limitation to basic 
research activities. The letter concludes by stating that 
``[t]he Solar Fuels Innovation Act can be more than just a way 
to sponsor basic research. It can be a way for America to take 
the first steps toward a new frontier of commercially available 
solar fuels.'' I think that's the whole point of this bill.
    So given the expert testimony from Majority and Minority 
witnesses that we received on this issue just a few weeks ago 
as well as the constructive guidance that the Department and 
leading innovators provided to us this week on this bill, I 
hope we can all agree that such labels aren't helpful--and can 
be harmful. Rather, our goal is to guide and support energy 
research that the private sector is unlikely or unwilling to 
pursue at a sufficient pace to meet national economic, 
environmental, and energy security needs. Any arbitrary barrier 
to that goal, even if it's well-intentioned, is a step in the 
wrong direction.
                                                       Mark Takano.

                                  [all]