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ARPA-E trying to assist non-funded applicants find other funding sources; energy storage, biofuels and renewable power the top categories

Since its first funding opportunity announcement in April 2009, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy) has received scores of promising ideas for the next generation of energy technologies. However, ARPA-E can only fund a fraction of these promising ideas at the levels required.

The agency has now set up a feature on its website, “Fostering Applicant Connections” to try to connect its “Encouraged Applicants” that were not selected for an award and potential investors, partners and customers. The listing, which includes 85 organizations as of 22 January, is grouped into 13 categories, with the largest categories being energy storage (29 applicants); biofuels (17); and renewable power (13):

“Encouraged Applicants” includes those applicants who were encouraged by ARPA-E to submit a full application to one of its funding opportunity announcements, but were not selected for funding. All Encouraged Applicants listed elected to post information regarding their technologies. The descriptions on the website were composed by the applicants and edited by ARPA-E, as appropriate. Neither the Department of Energy nor ARPA-E endorses or sponsors the individuals, organizations and/or technologies identified.

ARPA-E currently has six main funded programs underway (topic):

  • Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation (BEEST). In this topic, ARPA-E seeks to develop a new generation of ultra-high energy density, low-cost battery technologies for long electric range plug in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs). The goals for this program are largely based upon the aggressive long-term EV battery goals set forth by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), a public-private collaboration between the US Department of Energy and leading US automotive companies. ARPA-E’s objective is to fund high-risk, high reward research efforts that will promote leadership in this emerging EV battery market.

  • Innovative Materials & Processes for Advanced Carbon Capture Technologies (IMPACCT). The objective of this topic is to fund high risk, high reward research efforts that will revolutionize technologies that capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants, thereby preventing release into the atmosphere.

  • Grid-Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage (GRIDS). GRIDS seeks to develop revolutionary modular storage systems that provide the energy, cost, and lifecycle of pumped hydropower, and can be widely implemented across the power grid. Specifically, GRIDS considers two areas: 1) proof–of-concept storage-component projects focused on validating new, over-the-horizon, electrical energy storage concepts, and 2) advanced system prototypes that address critical shortcomings of existing grid-scale energy storage technologies.

  • Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (ADEPT). ARPA-E seeks to invest in materials for key advances in soft magnetics, high-voltage switches, and reliable, high-density charge storage. Combined with advanced circuit architectures and scalable manufacturing, these investments could potentially leapfrog existing power converter performance and reduce costs. Specifically, ADEPT will consider three levels of performance and integration: 1) fully-integrated, chip-scale power converters for applications, including: compact, efficient drivers for solid-state lighting, distributed micro-inverters for photovoltaics, and single-chip power supplies for computers; 2) kilowatt-scale package-integrated power converters by enabling applications such as low-cost, efficient inverters for grid-tied photovoltaics and variable speed motors; and 3) lightweight, solid-state, medium-voltage energy conversion for high-power applications such as solid-state electrical substations and wind turbine generators.

  • Electrofuels. ARPA-E is seeking new ways to make liquid transportation fuels without using petroleum or biomass by using microorganisms to harness chemical or electrical energy to convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuels. ARPA-E specifically seeks the development of organisms capable of extracting energy from hydrogen, from reduced earth-abundant metal ions, from robust, inexpensive, readily available organic redox active species, or directly from electric current. Theoretically such an approach could be 10 times more efficient than current photosynthetic-biomass approaches to liquid fuel production.

  • Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices (BEETIT). ARPA-E seeks to develop energy-efficient building cooling technologies that will reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions from: (a) overall cooling and (b) refrigerants used in vapor compression systems. ARPA-E seeks innovative research and development approaches in the following areas: 1) cooling systems that use refrigerants with low global warming potential; 2) energy-efficient air conditioning (AC) systems with an increased coefficient of performance (COP) for warm and humid climates; and 3) vapor-compression AC systems for recirculating air loads with an increased COP in hot climates.



The electrofuels area looks interesting. Most research focuses on conversion of H and CO2 directly or in steps to fuels like alcohol or lipids.

We suspect that at any scale problems that plague aquatic species like algae will arise for these microorganisms. The most typical appears to be how to prevent your organism from killing itself on its own excretions.

Still, these are visionary grants and ARPA-e is to be applauded for their support of high risk, innovative ideas.

Which is to say, "Thanks Mr. President."


I have an about if our government stops spending money on this kind of stuff until the budget is balanced!!!!! Stop the madness!!!!


Easy. Just fire half the fed employees.


Start with all of Obama's unappointed Czars & all of their support staffs....


Right! Lisa Jackson can go first.


The electrofuels are quite promising. After the recent discovery that archaea can use electricity to convert CO2 to CH4 at 80% efficiency, this needs to be investigated in detail.

And all of the Tea Partiers who rant about "government waste" need to consider what happens when you eat the seed corn.

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