October 26, 2009

ARPA-E kicks into gear with $151m in awards

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced the first funding awards for high-risk, high-reward energy research, with $151 million going to 37 projects.

The Department of Energy agency is tasked with supporting cutting-edge research that could lead to technologies that transform the nation's energy systems. ARPA-E is slated to disperse $400 million allocated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Projects include six on energy storage, five on biomass energy, five on direct solar fuels, five on vehicle technologies, five on carbon capture, four on renewable power generation, three on building efficiency, two on waste heat capture, one on oil and gas and one on water. (list of projects)

Highlights include

  • biofuel from seaweed
  • a carbon nanotube-based ultracapacitor
  • a jet engine-like wind turbine
  • a shape memory alloy for recovering waste heat energy
  • grid-scale liquid metal batteries
  • a carbon catalyst for splitting water
  • colonies of symbiotic bacteria that produce liquid fuels from sunlight, water and CO2

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