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ARPA-E Selects 6 Projects for $9.6M in Funding, Including Improving Efficiency and Power Density of Electric Machines

10 September 2010

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has selected six more potentially transformational energy research and development projects. Funded with $9.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new projects bring the total of ARPA-E projects to 121, for a total of $363 million in funding.

The latest funding is going to projects that could improve energy efficiency in buildings by reducing loads on air conditioners; reduce costs associated with generating electricity from solar power; and improve efficiency and power density of electric machines.

Transformational Nanostructured Permanent Magnets. Among the selected projects, General Electric Global Research (GE) will develop cost-competitive next-generation permanent magnets with magnetic energy product of at least 80 MGOe and 80% less rare-earth mineral content. To increase the magnet’s energy product, GE will develop bulk proprietary nanostructured consolidated and fully dense microstructures and will demonstrate for the first time a bulk exchange-spring nanocomposite permanent magnet.

This transformational permanent magnet performance result will exceed the maximum theoretical energy product of the state-of-the-art Nd2Fe14B at 64 MGOe. The impact of these new magnets is to increase the efficiency and power density of electric machines while reducing raw material cost. These magnets will enable further market penetration of hybrid vehicles and wind turbine generators, while enhancing US competitiveness in rare-earth mineral based products.

The Transformational Nanostructured Permanent Magnets project will receive $2.2 million in funding. Other projects selected include:

  • Makani Power, Inc. (Alameda, CA): Airborne Wind Turbine. An Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT), which is a high performance wing connected to the ground by a tether, will be developed to demonstrate autonomous flight, power generation, and flight modes under a wide range of wind conditions. Due to its enhanced performance at lower wind speeds, the AWT technology has the potential to expand the area suitable for wind power and deliver energy at a significantly lower cost than conventional horizontal-axis wind turbines. This project will receive $3 million in funding.

  • University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) (Los Angeles, CA): Thermal Energy Storage with Supercritical Fluids. Two-tank molten salt is currently the preferred state-of-the-art thermal energy storage for solar thermal power plants. The UCLA-led team will develop and implement a supercritical fluid based thermal energy storage system which will potentially increase the energy density by over a factor of two compared to the two-tank molten salt system, with a cost less than 70% of the molten salt system. This project will receive $2.4 million in funding.

  • Sustainable Energy Solutions (Provo, UT): Cryogenic Carbon Capture. Cryogenic carbon capture, a process by which flue gas from a power plant is cooled so that carbon dioxide changes directly from gas to a solid, will be demonstrated as a new option for capturing carbon dioxide. This process is a radically different method to capture carbon dioxide, and offers the potential for improved efficiency and lower capture costs. This project will receive $750,000 in funding.

  • Dais Analytic Corporation (Odessa, FL): Nanotechnology Membrane-Based Dehumidifier. In warm and humid climates the efficiency of air conditioning decreases significantly in removing the moisture out of the air. This project proposes to dehumidify moist air using a nano-structured solid polymer which is permeable to moisture but not permeable to air. This technology would enable higher efficiencies and significant cost savings in cooling technologies. This project will receive $680,000 in funding.<

  • Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC (Thousand Oaks, CA): Optofluidic Solar Concentrators. Currently tracking of solar radiation in concentrated photovoltaic systems is provided by mechanical means with multiple moving parts, which raises reliability concerns. These systems are also bulky. This project will develop an electrowetting-based dynamic liquid prism to track both the daily and seasonal changes of the Sun's orbit for concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) and reduce capital costs through increased operational efficiency by eliminating bulky mechanical tracking. This project will receive $500,000 in funding.

September 10, 2010 in ARPA-E, Motors, Nanotech | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)


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If these technologies really have the potential to be transformational then it's sad to see such paltry funding. But better than nothing.

These small sums may be what's needed to prove a concept for the next round of funding. Some interesting ideas here. Optofluidics has potential not only for PV solar tracking but - it would seem in astronomy and satellite optics.

Cryogenic Carbon Capture.. doesn't a thermo law make CO2 -> solid uneconomical?


No there is no thermal law that stops CO2 from going to solid from gas this the reverse of sublimation without getting into some heavy physics assuming you have an ideal heat exchanger you could cool an incoming gas stream below the triple point of the co2 in the gas and go directly to a solid phase of CO2 then warm the remaining gas in said 100% efficient heat exchanger and only the entropy of the phase change of the CO2 from gas to solid need be provided to the system as cooling entropy this energy is a whole lot less than the existing pressure swing methods or absorption or adsorption methods. Go read there tech reports this is interesting technology the math looks sound too it all comes down to compressor efficiency and heat exchanger efficiency since the cooling is done by pressure expansion of the gasses and only a small external refrigerant loop for some pretty technical heat exchanger issues.

I'm !00% behind this hope it works as we use large quantities of supercritical CO2 in our Tertiary EOR projects getting cheap CO2 by the ton increases our profit margin a good bit.

Before the usual CO2 Cassandra’s cry about using CO2 for oil recovery we are carbon negative it takes more CO2 in liquid form to push a barrel of oil out than the oil will release when burned and since oil reservoirs are always covered with a impermeable cap rock which by definition is impermeable to gases and liquids the CO2 is locked there for all time if the natural gas that is almost always found capping oil deposits has not leaked out in 50 million years the CO2 will stay in the space left over for just as long.

I believe there are (coal) power stations positioned near potential starage sites, but thats a far cry to your, oil recovery application.
I was wondering what you were babbling about, and where the CO2 were to come from,unless it is transported in cryogenic or high pressure containers.

But I guess you just had to put in your usual two cents worth.

There is no need for rational people to argue against theoretical optimal heat exchangers as part of a system that is based on some heavy physics - Mother nature uses that sort of stuff all the time, most of us can't even imagine it let alone believe we will live to se it though.
But hey , if it helps your bottom line then we'd be silly to worry our little brains about it now wouln't we?

My point is there is already a paying market for high pressure liquid CO2 in bulk, we get ours in 9000 gallon tanker trucks or rail cars depending on our site locality relative to rail lines and if we have the right of ways to lay temporary surface CO2 pipelines from a rail terminus to our site. CO2 is liquid at 10 MPA & <300K above that it’s a supercritical fluid its easy to store as a fluid supercritical or not. 300K is 80’F 9bar is ~1200 psi

Ideally it would be nice to have a pipeline from a large coal plant to our sites this would slash our transportation costs for bulk CO2. As for the physics they have 3rd party verification and technical spec available for those who are willing to sigh none disclosure agreements and an investing prospectus arm chair scientists need not apply. I got an immediate reply, as we are a target market for them and I am a licensed Geoscientist in my state. The elegance of this technologies is leveraging the advances in heat exchanger and adiabatic compressor technologies of the last 5 years to eliminate a large portion of the energy necessary to extract and “liquefy” CO2 it comes down to the entropy of phase change for CO2 from gas to solid with a small amount of pumping of a liquid not a gas to final storage pressure elegant is just the right wording. Now if this ever going to go commercial is a matter of political will to capture CO2 not the technologies needed to do it. I don’t drink the koolaid for AGW but any source of cheap CO2 helps my bottom line and I’m all for that.

I'm all for technological development esp[ when the bottom line helps preserve the environment.

The bottm line re CCS is "not viable using current technologies", so to dismiss that on any basis other than a lack of belief in climate science (as the best science can offer) would not be credible.
I'm glad you stated your position as that allows dialogue based on differing perspectives. Nothing wrong with that.
I can only say that the scientific consensus is that the climate change argument is not really in question amongst those scientists within the relevant fields.

That certainly is not you or I.

There is always a degree of scepticism in scientific communites and that scepticism pretty much defines science.
If those sceptical authorities are of the view that Anthropological greenhouse gasses are ~95% likely responsible and that the risk of dangerous climate change as a better than 70% likely outcome, then any one who downplays the seriousnes of those implications must either put up a case for review or suffer the loss of credibility.
Science relies on scientific challenge, but without a science based alternative theory, one should assumne that the contrary view lacks any credibility.

With all the debate over stimulous and govt spending,the current govt is apparently targetting 'roads to recovery and energy research as priorities.The amounts seem small but well targeted compared to the previous rounds that were more about financial stimulous IE just get money into the economy.
Science has always been an investrment in the future and is critical to the US economy in particular and at this time in its history more so.

Sadly there are many tea party advocates of dumb and dumber in education health and human values (rights)
That can claim ~ 50% of voter interests.
thats democracy in action.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, that is why I believe it is important to contribute to the debate and encourage the politicians to loosen some purse strings in a targetted way.

Unfortunately there are many well funded interests with powerful lobbying ability that would rather see wars on 'every other thing that can't be won' and that often make things worse.

Its good to see much serious investigation and thought on this site that reaches into many matters of importance.

From their own public literature the cryomethod is retrofit-able and significantly cheaper than any other form of CCS tech, they publicly show a increase in LCOE of 3 cents a Kw/hr this is very small so small that using dirty cheap coal with this tech is much cheaper than natural gas power.

Strictly from the environmental benefit of 100% capture of all the other nasties in coal fuel gas this is win-win. I as an earth scientist do want clean air to breathe and fish without mercury. The cryoprocess scrubs out Hg,SO,NO2,NOx PM2.5 the whole lot is process at low temps and condenses out, the only gases that comes out the stack is N2 and trace amounts of argon and the other noble gases not condensed. This would make coal the most benign source of cheap 24/7 power at least in air quality the CO2 benefit is just gravy.

While I don't agree with AGW and yes this is most certainly in my scientific field you get that I am a Geoscientist right? My masters thesis was in marine palo-biology as oil is almost always found in sedimentary formations of palo-marine algae so I have done quite a bit of paloclimate research as only certain climatic conditions are favorable to these oil precursor algae you need paloclimate to know in what formations to look for oil by the depositional climate at the time plus a whole slew of other variables, heat curve over time, pressure curve over time did the sediments enter and stay in the oil window and for how long, is there a cap formation over the source rock ect. There is a reason that we scientists make mid 6 figures the educational level to get here is far beyond what most will ever achieve in a lifetime.

That said arguing AGW is arguing beliefs which means it’s arguing religion as I am a fully qualified licensed Geoscientist, my professional stance in dissent is part of the scientific process. The fact that there is professional dissent means the debate is not closed and no consensus has been reached sorry but this is how science works, about 30000 other Geoscientists agree with me too. Thus the debate still is being waged much to the anger of the greens in know but enough of the banter though this is America we get to vote bring it to the ballot box if you convince enough people that your side is right with all the associated economic fallout; then you win pass all the laws you want, if not sorry but the citizens have spoken and time to go home this is not China where the leaders can go against the will of the people we have the 2nd amendment to remedy that problem. The consent of the government is a natural right given by God no man can take that away and to attempt to do so only invites war and bloodshed as men have the right to choose our form of government always.

If you accept that your full post in context is imediately before, then it is far to say in this instance I cannot be misquoting or being selective.
How can you say:
"That said arguing AGW is arguing beliefs which means it’s arguing religion as I am a fully qualified licensed Geoscientist,"

And follow with:
"The consent of the government is a natural right given by God no man can take that away and to attempt to do so only invites war and bloodshed"

Not that I disagree with strong western democracies, just that you seem to be flipping around a bit.

That you seem to be claiming a belief in "god given rights" I can only think to ask if you believe in literal translations from the bible too or which authority do you refer to?
IE any particular god viz the many religions and versions of each?

As a scientist with a sense of planetary evolution, I assume you are not one that takes many historical religious written work as a singular truth?
The next bit is also badly written and confusing.
"The consent of the government is a natural right given by God no man can take that away and to attempt to do so only invites war and bloodshed as men have the right to choose our form of government always."

There are rulers out there to this day insisting that god gave the right to them to do as they "say" some even hold regular democratic elections.

As I did not bring the God or religion issue up, and you seem content to allow it to be a part of your reasoning, can I ask how you reconcile your "beliefs with scientific discipline.

I much prefer the simpler matter of CCS which was the original context of our discussion.

@ TXGeologist:

Back to using CO2 to extract oil. My understanding was that by creating an oil/CO2 solution, the viscosity is reduced (relative to pure petroleum), so the solution flows better. But doesn't that mean that much of the CO2 you pump down comes right back up again through your well?

TX and Arnold: good dialogue. Illuminating.

"we have the 2nd amendment to remedy that problem."

That is an extreme view.

Dakota Gasification makes methane (natural gas) out of air, coal and water. They also make ammonia out of air, coal and water. The sulphur in the coal is mostly captured and combined with the ammonia to make ammonium sulphate fertilizer. Sulphur is a necessary element for plant growth as is nitrogen, so nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides are needed in the soil, but not in the air. What is most interesting is that the Carbon-Dioxide that is also made from the coal in these processes is put into a pipeline and shipped over a hundred miles into Canada to maintain the production of an oilfield. Any CO2 that comes up with the oil could be recycled, but not much does. Sulphur compounds are also piped with the CO2 to increase the demonstrated efficiency of the process. It is possible that liquid or dissolved CO2 can also be transported along with oil products in some pipelines or it might even make crude oil cheaper to transport.

Whilst not very energy efficient, C302 could be produced from coal and air and CO2 and put into depleted oil fields as a liquid or polymerised solid.

The present oilfield in Canada does not require all of the carbon-dioxide produced by Dakota, but the pipeline could possibly be extended. There are many underground minerals that can combine with CO2 permanently so the gas could not be recovered unless at great expense. If the underground temperatures are low, liquid or even supercritical CO2 can dissolve heavy hydrocarbons to liquify them. In the ultimate case, pure oxygen and CO2 can be used to make gas out of many remaining hydrocarbons at high temperatures and there is reason to believe that microorganisms can do this conversion at low temperatures, but more CO2 is produced.

In a very few days or even hours, Dakota Gasification could demonstrate a system that generated electricity from coal without releasing any CO2 into the air. They could even start producing more hydrogen and convert their neighboring power plant to burning pure hydrogen, but they would have to find a market for their CO2 and perhaps build new and bigger CO2 pipelines as well as building the new hydrogen production reactors.

The Alberta tar sands project could absorb much CO2 if the extraction process for the surface deposits used liquid CO2 inside pressure vessels instead of water and a solution of bitumen and CO2 might be easier to pump to the refinery. The CO2 could be returned in a parallel pipeline or released for oil fields in the area. There is a CO2 pipeline that feeds CO2 to greenhouses in Europe. The ability to make combination steel and plastic pipelines for high pressures exists. Alupex is similar for low presure gas tight plastic pipes.

Many comments about the acidification of the Ocean are false on their very idea as the ocean is very alkaline with its contained magnesium and calcium. The great volume of the ocean has much magnesium and calcium and these are necessary to build the shells and reefs but so is CO2. The surface waters of the ocean, even, have never become acid but they have become less alkaline.

Instead of requiring ships to use low sulphur fuels, they should be required to have a system that deposits the sulphur oxides in the water and this is easily done because the ocean has an alkaline reaction. This sulphur is necessary for ocean photosynthesis. The same can be said about nitrogen oxides. Perhaps the ships can be required to carry iron and deposit it in the ocean as iron sulphate or sulphite which will greatly increase the photo synthetic production of the ocean. ..HG..

The bulk of the weight of solar collectors is necessitated by the area required to collect solar energy. Mass produced small units such as INFINIA's are part of the eventual solution to solar electricity where it is needed; computers are complex with moving parts yet are highly reliable. Solar heating of homes and water can be done with vacuum tube stationary collectors and the Bubble-Action-Pump, and it is almost economically practical in some locations such as Hawaii where it is required. Solar cooling could be implemented in many parts of Arizona also with vacuum tube collectors and thermal cooling processes, perhaps lithium iodide and lithium bromide systems.

Containerised ice storage systems can immediatly defer all or most of the cooling load to night and is possibly the cheapest way to store electricity in a negative kind of way because electricity used at night for ice does not have to be produced in the day. Ice can be produced at higher efficiency at night and with optimized equipment. If heavy water were cheap, heavy water ice would be even cheaper to produce and use because it is made and used at higher but still low enough temperatures.

Ice storage for airconditioners could be the cheapest way to reduce all electric consumption and far cheaper than solar electricity or windmills and far easier to install.

Combined cycle microturbines are also a much more capital and energy efficient way of reducing fuel use where natural gas is otherwise used to produce grid energy. All airconditioning in large buildings can be a combined microturbine and compressor and heat using absorbtion systems, and the microturbine electricity does not have to be connected to the grid with expensive converters and most HVAC compressor and fan drives can be fed with rectified AC directly.

Water vaporization system (swamp) cooling can be used in combination with all home and business compressor cooling systems to save much energy in many location but can be designed still to function with high humidity at higher power. The vaporized water is not put into the building but only cools the coolant when possible. Easy to change water vaporization pad cartriges can be much cheaper than electricity, as they would resemble furnace filters. They can be changed only one or twice a year. Other systems are also possible. ..HG..

It is near the end of the time when alternating current is the major way to put electrical energy into buildings to run lights and motors. Most lights being installed now can run on direct current with no or slight modifications and the old carbon and tungsten lights can do it as well. Motors now use electronic drives to match the speed with the mechanical energy actually needed for fans and pumps. LG has even eliminated the motor from some of its refrigerators and uses electromagnetically propelled free pistons at much higher efficiency.

All of this means that electronically switched reluctance motors and generators can replace induction motors and permanent magnet motors with higher efficiency and lower cost, they and lighting can use direct current along with many other loads such as computers. An IBM data center at a university now has direct current distribution.

The silicon electronic switches can be produced at low prices in large quantities. There may be some limited places where switched reluctance motors are not suitable, but especially the free piston compressor from LG can be switched reluctance. Switched reluctance motors have been used for their reliability in aircraft for many years.

DC systems in buildings waste less power in the conduits and a large flywheel connected to a switched reluctance motor can be used to provide power until diesel generators can be brought on line. Even the wiring system stores power in a DC system. Batteries can also be used. Even cheap old DC motors with flywheels can keep power flowing for a few seconds for computers while the grid recovers.

Electronics allow the use of inverters of all types and sizes to be used to power older devices from the DC system with higher reliability than the grid does, even desktop and laptop computers. Many, or even most, electronic inverters now made have a high voltage direct current intermediate section that can be fed high voltage directly. Many computer power supplies can do this too. Many CFLs can do this as well. ..HG..

Henry, you ramble too much, and following up on your own comments is in bad taste.

Something stinky fishy about a person claiming to have done a thesis on palo anything as the word does not exist.
TX is not what he claims to be.- "I am a fully qualified licensed Geoscientist," (no such thing)
There are similar charlatans like him on this site so people, BE AWARE.

"While I don't agree with AGW and yes this is most certainly in my scientific field you get that I am a Geoscientist right? My masters thesis was in marine palo-biology as oil is almost always found in sedimentary formations of palo-marine algae so I have done quite a bit of paloclimate research as only certain climatic conditions are...." Blather Blather.

On the web anyone can pretend to be anyone they want. Nothing unusual about that, it is the person that tries to do that who is a bit...unusual.

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