The 2022 Solar Manufacturing Incubator Funding Opportunity, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), seeks to develop next-generation solar technologies and strengthen American solar manufacturing. To do so, the prize helps accelerate the commercialization of innovative product ideas that enable continued solar cost reductions, especially in cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaics.
Excavation methods used during the underground construction process generate excess spoils that must be properly treated and disposed of. This is often a multi-step process in which spoils are transported to one facility for treatment prior to disposal at a second location.
- Ability to treat spoils on-site or otherwise streamline disposal process and minimize cost
- Minimize the volume of spoils created during the excavation process or generation of giveaway-ready spoils
Category 5: Spoils management
Undergrounding construction unavoidably disturbs soil at the site, generating excess spoils that must be properly disposed of. These spoils must be handled according to specific requirements and often must be hauled off-site for processing, remediation, or disposal. Moving soils back and forth for processing and disposal between off-site locations that are often far from dig sites requires time and resources that could be spent elsewhere. This process is particularly costly in cases where disturbed soil contains hazardous materials.
Solutions of interest include those with the potential to facilitate on-site processing of excess spoils such as filtering debris or recycling water for wet spoils. Novel construction methods that disturb less soil are also of interest, especially for use at sites where hazardous material is present, as well as methods that generate giveaway-ready spoils (i.e., additional processing is not required).
|Industrywide Market Gap||Potential Solution Category|
|Existing excavation method generate |
significant amounts of excess soils which
require processing and disposal
|Methods to reduce amount of spoils generated
Methods that create spoils that require
minimal or no processing
|Processing excess spoils occurs off-site, |
incurring additional labor and
transportation costs to move large
volumes of debris from remote sites
|Technology that enables on-site spoils processing|
Known approaches not of interest
- Procedural / management solutions are not of interest.
Key success criteria
- Demonstrated improvement over current state-of-the-art technology
- Ability to reduce the volume of spoils created during excavation by 35%
- Demonstrated ability to process spoils in compliance with applicable regulatory standards
- Commercially deployable within 3 years