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The Department of Energy today announced major funding for 37 ambitious research projects – including some that could allow intermittent energy sources like wind and solar to provide a steady flow of power, or use bacteria to produce automotive fuel from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.
Innovative projects in Pennsylvania selected for awards include:
Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA) - Catalyst-coated titanium dioxide nanotube membranes to convert sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into methane and other hydrocarbon fuels.
DOE share: $1,900,067
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA) - Electric field swing adsorption for carbon capture using high surface area conductive solid carbon sorbents. Uses electric fields to change the interaction of molecules on a surface, capturing and then releasing the CO2 using far less energy than current approaches.
DOE share: $566,641
The $151 million in funding is being awarded through the Department’s recently-formed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (“ARPA-E”). ARPA-E’s mission is to develop nimble, creative and inventive approaches to transform the global energy landscape while advancing America’s technology leadership. This is the first round of projects funded under ARPA-E, which is receiving total of $400 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In announcing the selections, Secretary Chu said: “After World War II, America was the unrivaled leader in basic and applied sciences. It was this leadership that led to enormous technological advances. ARPA-E is a crucial part of the new effort by the U.S. to spur the next Industrial Revolution in clean energy technologies, creating thousands of new jobs and helping cut carbon pollution.”
The grants will go to projects with lead researchers in 17 states. Of the lead recipients, 43% are small businesses, 35% are educational institutions, and 19% are large corporations. In supporting these teams, ARPA-E seeks to bring together America's brightest energy innovators to pioneer a low cost, secure, and low carbon energy future for the nation.
ARPA-E was originally established under the America Competes Act of 2007. In April, President Obama announced $400 million in initial funding for the agency. The projects unveiled today are part of the first solicitation from ARPA-E’s $400 million in total Recovery Act funding. The 37 selected projects, which are receiving an average of approximately $4 million each, span the energy sector, including potentially transformative innovations in energy storage, biofuels, carbon capture, renewable power, building efficiency, vehicles, and other energy technology areas.
Inspired by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPA-E was created to support high risk, high reward energy research that can provide transformative new solutions for climate change and energy security.
This first ARPA-E solicitation was highly competitive and oversubscribed, with over 3,600 initial concept papers received. Of those, approximately 300 full applications were requested and ultimately 37 final awardees through a rigorous review process with input from multiple review panels composed of leading U.S. energy science and technology experts and ARPA-E’s program managers. Evaluations were based on the potential for high impact on ARPA-E’s goals and scientific and technical merit.
The project selections announced today can be found here.
A second set of ARPA-E funding opportunities will be announced later this fall. Please visit www.arpa-e.energy.gov for more information about these selections, upcoming technical workshops, and new funding opportunities.