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ARPA-E issues $125M open solicitation for energy R&D; transportation and stationary applications

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a $125-million open Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). OPEN 2015 (DOE-FOA-0001261) will support the development of potentially disruptive new technologies in all areas of energy research and development, for both transportation and stationary applications.

OPEN 2015 is the third open funding solicitation issued by the agency. Open solicitations ensure that ARPA-E does not miss opportunities to support potentially transformational projects outside the scope of existing ARPA-E programs. The projects selected under OPEN 2015 will pursue novel approaches to energy innovation and support the development of potentially disruptive new technologies across the full spectrum of energy applications.

Because of the enormous breadth of energy technologies solicited under an OPEN FOA, it is impossible to provide the well‐defined technical targets contained in an ARPA‐E FOA for a focused technology program. Rather, 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?”

—OPEN 2015

Although the solicitation is open, the agency is seeking applications that address one or more of its Mission Areas; concepts may span multiple disciplinary boundaries. The solicitation broadly covers eight technology categories:

  1. Renewable power, non-bio
  2. Bioenergy
  3. Transportation
  4. Conventional generation, non-renewable
  5. Grid
  6. Building efficiency
  7. Other
  8. None of the above

The Bioenergy category comprises seven sub-categories:

  1. Biomass Production. Technologies that improve biomass characteristics, such as yield and sustainability, and decrease cost of production and/or water use.

  2. Biofuel Production ‐ Biological Methods. Technologies that utilize a biological agent in one or more principal step(s) of feedstock conversion to fuels.

  3. Biofuel Production ‐ Non-biological Methods. Technologies that do not utilize any biological agent in the conversion of organic feedstock to fuels, such as thermochemical and hybrid approaches or biomimetics.

  4. Bioenergy Supply Chain. Technologies critical to supply chain development, such as feedstock collection and handling.

  5. Bioenergy - other. Technologis for bioenergy which do not fit in one of the above subcategories. Including but not limited to bioreactors, balance of plant, bioproducts, microbial fuel cells, sensors.

The Transportation category comprises 11 sub-categories:

  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 ultra-lightweight 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 hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (EVs).

  10. Non‐Battery Storage For Transportation. Technologies that apply thermal storage, and non‐battery electric storage, such as supercapacitors and others specifically for transportation application.

  11. Transportation - other. Transportation energy technologies that do not fit one of the above categories.

Individual awards may vary between $1 million and $10 million. The deadline to submit a Notice of Intent for OPEN 2015 is 5 p.m. ET on 20 February 20, 2015.

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