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ARPA-E announces $150M to develop systems that provide abundant primary energy, enable intermodal energy transport, and sustainably meet demand for polymers & other materials

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $150 million in funding to develop groundbreaking technologies to realize ARPA-E’s vision of the energy future. (DE-FOA-0003387)

This vision includes three goals that are critical to achieve a sustainable energy and carbon transition with: 1) greenhouse gas (GHG)-free abundant primary energy; 2) an intermodal energy superhighway that transports diversified forms of primary energy; and 3) a carbon transition that sustainably meets the demand for polymers and other materials.

Since the inception of ARPA-E, the OPEN program has served as an opportunity to advance transformative energy breakthroughs in critical areas that fall outside the scope of ARPA-E’s technology-focused programs. Now, as the Agency celebrates 15 years, ARPA-E unveiled Vision OPEN 2024, a funding opportunity that represents a revolutionary view of the energy future.

The three goals set forth by Vision OPEN 2024 require disruptive and ambitious technologies:

  • GHG-Free Abundant Primary Energy: This first goal seeks to provide a path to a complete transition of global primary energy supply to GHG-free forms by 2050, while increasing the primary energy supply. This will be realized through innovations that accelerate deployment of GHG-free primary energy and advance both new and nascent technologies.

  • Intermodal Energy Superhighway: The goal is to develop an intermodal energy superhighway to transfer energy through several modalities—not just electrical power. A wide range of primary energy will be transferred through various networks (e.g., electrical, chemical, and thermal) designed to support its efficient, reliable, and inexpensive distribution.

  • Carbon as a Sustainable Building Block of the Future: ARPA-E envisions a path to a transition from carbon as a source of unsustainable energy to a source of valuable materials. This will be realized through innovations, including engineering plants and algae into “living refineries” of atmospheric carbon; transforming fossil refineries into low-GHG materials factories; applying advanced carbon allotropes to energy technologies and sequestration; and scaling up new polymers that are recyclable by design.


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