U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced $125 million across 41 cutting-edge energy technologies awarded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). These new projects are funded under ARPA-E’s OPEN 2015 program. The announcement was made at D.C. technology incubator 1776 at an event that focused on leveraging America’s top innovators to find technological solutions to combat climate change, enhance security and solve pressing energy challenges around the globe.
Open solicitations – also issued in 2009 and 2012 – serve as an open call to scientists and engineers for transformational technologies across the entire scope of ARPA-E’s energy mission. Through both open and focused solicitations, ARPA-E funds innovative technologies that display promise for both technical and commercial impact, but are too early for private-sector investment. The OPEN 2015 projects come from 21 states and encompass 10 technical categories, including transportation, electricity generation and delivery and energy efficiency.
“The ARPA-E projects selected today highlight how American ingenuity can spur innovation and generate a wide range of technology options to address our nation’s most pressing energy issues,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As we look beyond COP21, the energy technologies the Department of Energy invests in today will provide the solutions needed to combat climate change and develop a global low-carbon economy in the future.”
To view the complete list of selected OPEN 2015 projects, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/cTHVW
The 41 projects selected under OPEN 2015 will pursue novel approaches to energy innovation across the full spectrum of energy applications, with approximately 36 percent of the projects led by universities, 39 percent by small businesses, 10 percent by large businesses, 10 percent by national labs, and 5 percent by non-profits.
Examples of the new projects are below:
Dioxide Materials, Inc., Boca Raton, FL ($2,000,000) – High Efficiency Alkaline Water Electrolyzers for Grid Scale Energy Storage
Dioxide Materials, Inc. will develop an alkaline water electrolyzer for an improved power-to-gas system, which is used to store energy in the hydrogen chemical bond. High conductivity membranes that can function under alkaline conditions could lead to a 10x lower electrolyzer stack cost because they allow higher current densities and enable systems that do not require platinum catalysts.
The Mackinac Technology Company, Grand Rapids, MI ($2,500,000) – Retrofit System for Single Pane Glazing
The Mackinac Technology Company will develop a novel, cost effective, retrofit window insulation system that will significantly reduce heating energy losses. The window system will utilize a durable conducting oxide window film that is highly transparent to visible light (>90 percent), but reflects ultraviolet and thermal-infrared energies to reduce heat loss in winter. This window retrofit technology could save nearly one quad of energy if fully implemented across the United States.
Marine BioEnergy, Inc., San Diego, CA ($2,146,988) – Disruptive Supplies of Affordable Biomass Feedstock Grown in the Open Ocean
Marine BioEnergy, Inc. will develop an open ocean cultivation system for macro algal biomass, which can be converted to a liquid fuel precursor. The system cycles between nutrient-rich deep water and sunlight at the ocean’s surface to produce the biomass, and can also submerge to avoid storms and ships. The team’s technology could enable energy crop production in significant regions of the open ocean, with an initial focus on the U.S. Economic Exclusion Zone off California.
Ocean Renewable Power Company, Portland, ME ($2,248,223) – Deployment and Retrieval System for Cross-flow Hydrokinetic Turbines
Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) will develop an innovative deployment and retrieval capability that will significantly reduce costs for cross-flow design marine hydrokinetic systems, in which a turbine generates power from tides and/or rivers. The turbine blades will employ active pitch control to allow for thrust generation in deployment/retrieval mode and higher efficiency in power generation mode. If successful, this project could reduce the cost of the installation process in which ORPC’s turbine could be placed in the water near shore, self-propel to the deployment location, and hold itself in place on the seafloor through redirected downward thrust.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, TX ($4,600,000) – Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for Enhanced Root and Soil Organic Carbon Imaging
Texas A&M AgriLife Research will develop ground penetrating radar antenna arrays for 3D root and soil organic carbon imaging and quantification. Visualization of root traits with one mm resolution in soils could enable breeders to select climate-resilient bioenergy crops that provide higher yields, require fewer inputs, improve soil health, and promote carbon sequestration.
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO ($3,955,218) – Paintable Heat-Reflective Coatings for Low-Cost Energy Efficient Windows
The team led by University of Colorado Boulder will develop an inexpensive, polymer-based energy-saving material that can be applied to windows. The coating can self-assemble into a photonic crystal that will reflect near-infrared wavelengths but pass visible light, thus reducing solar heat gain for most windows, thereby reducing building cooling requirements. The paintable nature of this technology means that deployment can be faster, less expensive, and wide-spread.
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA ($3,569,580) – 50 MW Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotors for Wind Energy
The team led by the University of Virginia will design a 50 Megawatt (MW) wind turbine featuring downwind morphing to reduce blade loads and allow ultralight segmented blades. They will also build and field test an aeroelastically-scaled version to demonstrate this novel technology. The 50 MW turbine design could enable a 10x increase in power compared to today’s largest production turbines. The 200-meter long blades can be fabricated in five to seven segments, and assembled at the point of use. The hurricane-resistant design can enable low-cost, off-shore wind energy for the United States.