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ARPA-E invests $60M in 22 new projects to detect and measure methane emissions and develop local thermal management systems

DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $60 million in funding for 22 new projects aimed at detecting and measuring methane emissions and developing localized thermal management systems that reduce the energy needed to heat and cool buildings. The projects are funded through ARPA-E’s two newest programs: Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR) and Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA).

  • Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR) – $30 Million. ARPA-E’s MONITOR program focuses on reducing methane emissions associated with energy production to build a more sustainable energy future. The program plans to provide $30 million to support 11 project teams in developing low-cost, highly sensitive systems that detect and measure methane associated with the production and transportation of oil and natural gas.

    An example of a selected MONITOR project: Bridger Photonics will develop a light-detection and ranging (LiDAR) system capable of rapid and precise methane measurements resulting in 3D topographic information about potential leak locations. A novel near-infrared fiber laser will enable long range detection with high sensitivity and can be deployed on a range of mobile platforms to survey multiple sites per day. This mobile LiDAR system will dramatically reduce the cost to identify, quantify and locate methane leaks compared to currently available technologies.

  • Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA) – $30 Million. ARPA-E’s DELTA program will develop localized heating and cooling systems and devices to expand temperature ranges within buildings. The program plans to provide $30 million to support 11 project teams in developing technologies that can regulate temperatures focused on a building’s occupants and not the overall building. This localization of thermal management will enable buildings to operate in wider temperature ranges while still ensuring occupant comfort, which would dramatically reduce the building’s energy consumption and associated emissions.

    An Example of a selected DELTA project: Syracuse University will develop a near-range micro-environmental control system transforming the way office buildings are thermally conditioned to improve occupant comfort. The system leverages a high-efficiency micro-scroll compressor in a micro vapor compression system, whose evaporator is embedded in a phase-change material. This material will store the cooling produced by the micro vapor compression system at night, releasing it as a cool breeze to make occupants more comfortable during the day. This micro-environmental control system could save more than 15% of the energy provided for heating and cooling.


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