The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001198) for approximately $25 million for a new program: GENSETS (GENerators for Small Electrical and Thermal Systems). GENSETS seeks to fund the development of potentially disruptive generator technologies that will enable widespread deployment of residential Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems.
For this purpose, ARPA-E defines CHP as the distributed generation of electricity from piped-in natural gas fuel at a residence or a commercial site complemented by use of exhaust heat for local heating and cooling. If adopted widely by US residential and commercial sectors, GENSETS CHP systems could lead to annual primary energy savings of more than 5 quadrillion BTU (quads). GENSETS systems could also provide annual CO2 emissions reductions of more than 200 million metric tons—roughly 10% of the CO2 produced annually from US electricity generation and 4% of total US annual CO2 emissions.
The GENSETS Program seeks transformative generators/engines with 1 kW of electrical output (kWe) that have high efficiency (40% fuel to electricity); long life (10 years); low cost ($3,000 per system); and low emissions.
Heat engines and generators capable of achieving these targets may include internal and external combustion engines, turbines, and solid state devices such as thermophotovoltaics, thermionic emitters, and thermoelectrics.
ARPA-E anticipates that the same technologies developed for 1-kWe engines in GENSETS could be adapted to build larger engines with even higher efficiencies for various commercial sectors of the US.
The agency expects that awards may vary between $250,000 and $10 million.