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ARPA-E issues open call for transformational energy technologies

The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) issued a $150-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0000670) open to all transformational energy technologies. The agency had issued an RFI on the open call at the beginning of February. (Earlier post.)

Areas of research responsive to this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) include (but are not limited to) electricity generation by both renewable and non-renewable means; electricity transmission, storage, and distribution; energy efficiency for buildings, manufacturing and commerce, and personal use; and all aspects of transportation, including the production and distribution of both renewable and non-renewable fuels, electrification, and energy efficiency in transportation.

The result of a successful ARPA-E project will be such that at the end of the project the transformational technology will be sufficiently advanced and well defined in terms of performance and risk to promote next-stage development or transfer of the project to next-stage developers.

The agency stipulated that projects under this new FOA must be aimed at more than progress toward identified project goals; the project must be aimed at actual delivery of these project goals. R&D effort on later-stage technology development projects must carry the risk reduction process for the technology to the point at which entrepreneurial decisions can be made with confidence.

ARPA-E anticipates making approximately 60-80 awards under this FOA. ARPA-E may issue one, multiple, or no awards. Individual awards may vary between $250,000 and $10 million. ARPA-E will provide support at the upper ranges only for applications with significant technology risk, aggressive timetables, and careful management and mitigation of the associated risks.

The period of performance for funding agreements may range between a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36 months. ARPA-E expects the start date for funding agreements to be 1 January 2013, or as negotiated.

ARPA-E is accepting only new applications under this FOA. Applicants may not seek renewal or supplementation of their existing awards.

ARPA-E may issue awards in one or both of the following funding categories: “Proof-of-Concept Seedling Project” and “Technology Development Project.”

  • Proof-of-Concept Seedling Project. Awards range between $250,000 and $999,999.99. These projects typically focus on early-stage, proof-of-concept level R&D efforts. ARPA-E may issue approximately 20-30 awards in this category, with an average award amount of $500,000.

  • Technology Development Project. Awards range between $1 million and $10 million. These projects typically focus on early-stage prototypes of various technology concepts for which some kind of initial proof-of-concept component demonstration already exists. ARPA-E may issue approximately 40-50 awards in this category, with an average award amount of $3 million.

This Open Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) joins ARPA-E’s other recently issued FOA—Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE) (earlier post)—which will make $30 million available to find ways to harness domestic natural gas for vehicles.

Including its most recent round of selections, ARPA-E has funded a total of more than 180 projects, for $521.7 million in awards across 12 program areas. The agency announced last year that eleven of its projects that received $40 million from ARPA-E for innovative research, were able to use this funding to demonstrate results, which allowed these teams to secure more than $200 million in outside private capital investment.


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