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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

DOE moving forward with $11.1M in funding for three ARPA-E projects

May 19, 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is honoring commitments to several previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees, with funding of a combined $11.1 million. They are among the first awardees to move forward following the Department’s review of all taxpayer funded grants and projects, intended to ensure that each award applied good governance principles consistent with the new Administration’s policy directives.

The projects moving forward are part of ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) (earlier post) and Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) (earlier post) programs. Additional awardees are expected to move forward in the coming weeks.

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Trump’s proposed FY 2018 budget cuts overall DOE budget 5.6%; eliminates ARPA-E, ITLGP, ATVMP

March 16, 2017

The Trump Administration has released its “America First” budget blueprint for the FY 2018 budget. The core of the blueprint is a $54-billion increase in defense spending in 2018 that is offset by targeted reductions in other areas.

For the Department of Energy (DOE), the blueprint requests $28.0 billion—a $1.7-billion (5.6%) decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level. Within that, the proposed budget would provide a $1.4-billion increase above the 2017 annualized CR level for the National Nuclear Security Administration—an 11% increase. The new budget proposal focuses resources toward early-stage research and development of energy technologies and reflects increased reliance on the private sector to fund later-stage research, development, and commercialization.

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ARPA-E to award up to $20M in new CIRCUITS program for redesigned WBG power electronics

January 10, 2017

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) will award up to $20 million to projects under the new Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuits Using Inventive Topologies and Semi Conductors (CIRCUITS) program (DE-FOA-0001727). CIRCUITS seeks to accelerate the development and deployment of a new class of efficient, lightweight, and reliable power converters based on wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors through transformational system-level advances that enable effective operation at high switching frequency, high temperature, and low loss.

ARPA-E is also awarding up to $10M in a companion SBIR/STTR FOA for CIRCUITS (DE-FOA-0001736). The submission deadline for concept papers is 20 February 2017.

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ARPA-E awards $35M to 16 REFUEL projects for energy-dense carbon-neutral liquid fuels; leveraging ammonia

December 17, 2016

The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has selected 16 projects for a combined $35 million in funding under the new program “Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL)”. (Earlier post.) The 16 REFUEL projects seek to develop scalable technologies for converting water and molecules from the air into energy-dense, carbon-neutral liquid fuels (CNLFs) using electrical energy from renewable sources. REFUEL projects will convert low-cost renewable energy into a transportable chemical fuel and use these fuels for transportation applications, while reducing production costs and environmental impact.

Most of the selected REFUEL projects target the production of ammonia or its conversion to hydrogen or electricity, due ammonia’s attractiveness as a hydrogen and energy carrier. State-of-the-art industrial ammonia production using the Haber-Bosch process requires a hydrogen source (usually natural gas), remains highly capital and energy intensive, and is only economical at a large scale. Many projects seek to overcome these limitations to enable economically competitive, distributed production of this prototypical CNLF.

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ARPA-E to award $25M for macroalgae projects; seaweed biomass to be cost-competitive with terrestrial biomass at energy-relevant scales

December 16, 2016

ARPA-E announced up to $25 million in funding for the MacroAlgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program (DE-FOA-0001726). The program will focus on developing advanced cultivation technologies that enable the cost and energy efficient production of macroalgal biomass in the ocean at a scale suitable as feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. The deadline to submit a Concept Paper for MARINER is 5 pm ET, 14 February 2017.

The US has the world’s largest marine Exclusive Economic Zone—an area of ocean along the nation’s coast lines which is equivalent to the total land area of all 50 states. The US has the potential to utilize this resource to build and grow a thriving marine biomass industry for the production of fuels, chemicals, feed, and food. Growing macroalgal biomass in the oceans offers a unique opportunity to sidestep many of the challenges associated with terrestrial biomass production systems, particularly the growing competition for land and freshwater resources, which are likely to result from the 50 to 100% increase in demand for food expected for 2050.

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Peloton in ARPA-E NEXTCAR project to cut HD truck fuel use by 20% with smart powertrains and platooning

November 15, 2016

Peloton Technology, a connected and automated vehicle technology company developing platooning technology for heavy-duty trucks (earlier post), is participating in the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). (Earlier post.)

The Peloton project, led by Purdue University (earlier post) will apply next-generation truck platooning technology and concepts for smart, cloud-connected powertrains to achieve 20% fuel savings for tractor-trailers.

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ARPA-E awards $32M to 10 new projects to improve connected and automated vehicle efficiency

November 03, 2016

The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $32 million in funding for 10 innovative projects as part of the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.) With a goal of reducing individual vehicle energy usage by 20%, NEXTCAR projects will take advantage of the increasingly complex and connected systems in today’s—and tomorrow’s—cars and trucks to improve their energy efficiency.

Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology utilizes on-board or cloud-based sensors, data and computational capabilities to help a vehicle better process and react to its surrounding environment. This knowledge could include the location of stop signs and intersections, the actions of nearby vehicles, the location of congested areas, and much more. Currently, CAV technologies predominantly improve upon vehicle safety and add driving convenience. NEXTCAR projects will leverage these rapidly evolving technologies to greatly reduce vehicle energy use.

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ARPA-E launches PNDIODES program to boost power electronics work

October 28, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has launched a new program—Power Nitride Doping Innovation Offers Devices Enabling SWITCHES (PNDIODES) (DE-FOA-0001691)—to fund transformational advances and mechanistic understanding in the process of selective area doping in the III-Nitride wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor material system.

PNDIODES, with $6.5 million in funding, seeks demonstrations of arbitrarily placed, reliable, contactable, and generally useable p-n junction regions that enable high-performance and reliable vertical power electronic semiconductor devices. The microscopic mechanistic understanding and transformational technologies resulting from successful projects in the program would address the major obstacle in the fabrication of vertical GaN power electronic devices experienced by most of the teams in the ARPA-E SWITCHES (Strategies for Wide Bandgap, Inexpensive Transistors for Controlling High-Efficiency Systems) program.

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24M and partners awarded $3.5M from ARPA-E to develop ultra-high-energy density batteries with new lithium-metal anodes

September 16, 2016

As part of its new IONICS (Integration and Optimization of Novel Ion Conducting Solids) program awards (earlier post), the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awarded $3.5 million in funding to a team that includes 24M, Sepion Technologies, Berkeley Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University. The funds will be used to develop novel membranes and lithium-metal anodes for the next generation of high-energy-density, low-cost batteries.

24M’s core technology is semi-solid lithium-ion, a new class of lithium-ion batteries that will be initially deployed in stationary storage. With this ARPA-E program, 24M and its partners will extend the capabilities of semi-solid electrodes to ultra-high-energy density cells that use lithium-metal anodes.

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ARPA-E awards $37M for IONICS projects; improving solid-state batteries and fuel cells

September 14, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $37 million in funding for 16 innovative new projects as part of a new ARPA-E program: Integration and Optimization of Novel Ion-Conducting Solids (IONICS). IONICS project teams are paving the way for technologies that overcome the limitations of current battery and fuel cell products.

By creating high performance parts built with solid ion conductors—solids in which ions can be mobile and store energy—the IONICS program will focus on new ways to process and integrate these parts into devices with the goal of accelerating their commercial deployment. In particular, IONICS projects will work to improve energy storage and conversion technologies in three categories: transportation batteries, grid-level storage, and fuel cells.

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ARPA-E to issue funding opportunity for advanced technologies for seaweed cultivation for fuels and chemicals

September 09, 2016

The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA–E) intends to issue a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA ) in November, 2016, for the development of advanced cultivation technologies that enable profitable and energy efficient production of macroalgal-biomass (seaweeds) in the ocean. ARPA–E held a workshop on this topic in February 2016.

These technologies are expected to be deployed and support cultivation of macroalgal-biomass feedstocks at a scale relevant for the production of commodity fuels and chemicals. The primary challenge is to reduce capital and operating cost of macroalgae cultivation dramatically, while significantly increasing the range of deployment by expanding into more exposed, off-shore environments.

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ARPA-E issues RFI on lower-grade waste heat recovery technologies; focus on solid-state systems

August 19, 2016

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a request for information (DE-FOA-0001607) on lower-grade waste heat recovery technologies. Consistent with the agency’s mission, ARPA-E is seeking clearly disruptive, novel technologies, early in their R&D cycle, and not integration strategies for existing technologies.

In 2015, 59.2 quadrillion BTU of energy was wasted mainly in the form of heat. Much of the waste heat has been characterized by its source and its temperature, particularly in the transportation and power generation sectors. Through aggregated analysis of waste heat data from the literature, ARPA-E found that approximately 85% of work potential from waste heat sources across all sectors in the United States comes from waste heat sources at or below 400 °C. Thus, ARPA-E is keenly interested in waste heat conversion in this temperature range.

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