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ARPA-E issues $100M OPEN funding opportunity announcement to support early-stage energy R&D

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA‑E) latest OPEN funding opportunity. (DE-FOA-0001858) ARPA-E issued previous OPEN solicitations in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Open solicitations enable ARPA-E to support transformational projects outside the scope of existing ARPA-E focused programs.

ARPA-E seeks to support early-stage, but potentially transformational research in all areas of energy R&D, covering transportation and stationary applications. Areas of research responsive to this FOA include (but are not limited to) electricity generation by both conventional and 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.

Rather than specifying well-defined technical targets as in an ARPA-E FOA for a focused technology program, for the OPEN solicitation, ARPA-E asks applicants to address the potential impact of the proposed technology on the agency’s Mission Areas: reducing imported energy, reducing energy-related emissions, and improving energy efficiency.

The critical question for applicants to consider in assessing potential impact is:
“If it works, will it matter?”

Under the Transportation Technical Category, ARPA-E lists 11 subcategories:

  1. Alternative fuels (non-bio). Technologies that create fuels that are substitutes for gasoline/diesel, but are not bio-based.

  2. Engines - transportation. Technologies for improved internal combustion engines and other engine types (e.g., turbines) specifically for transportation applications.

  3. Electric motors - transportation. Technologies for improved electric motors specifically for transportation applications.

  4. Fuel cells - transportation. Technologies for improved fuel cells specifically for transportation applications.

  5. Advanced vehicle designs and materials. Advanced or alternative vehicle designs and/or key enabling technologies. Examples could include ultralightweight vehicles, advanced components, new vehicle designs and architectures, etc.

  6. Transportation management. Technologies for traffic management, transportation behavior, self-driving cars and other advanced transportation management scenarios.

  7. Power electronics - transportation. Technologies that include advances in semiconductor materials, substrates, circuit topologies, magnetic materials, inductors, dielectric materials, capacitors, transistors, device packaging, etc. or optimizations of electronic systems applied specifically to transportation applications.

  8. Non-vehicular transportation. Technologies for advanced airplanes, human-powered vehicles, marine vessels, trains, etc.

  9. Batteries - transportation. Technologies for improved batteries for a wide range of vehicle applications, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).

  10. Non-battery storage for transportation. Technologied that apply thermal storage, and non-battery electric storage, such as supercapacitors and others, specifically for transportation applications.

  11. Other. Transportation energy categories that do no fit one of the above categories.

The deadline to submit a concept paper is 12 February 2018.

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