Today is the last day of ARPA-E’s first big public event – the Energy Innovation Summit. Yesterday, DOE Secretary Steven Chu used the conference to announce that ARPA-E is allocating an additional $100 million in stimulus funds, “to accelerate innovation in green technology, increase America’s competitiveness and create new jobs.”
This is the third round of funding rooted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Chu said the new monies would be tartgeted in three areas:
Grid-Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage (GRIDS): Efficient grid-scale energy storage systems, “that provide energy, cost and cycle life comparable to pumped hydropower, but which are modular and can be widely implemented at any location across the power grid.” In particular, ARPA-E is asking for technology prototyping and proof-of-concept R&D efforts for both existing storage technologies and “over-the-horizon” storage concepts.
Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (ADEPT): Materials for advances in soft magnetics, high-voltage switches and high-density charge storage. In particular, ARPA -E is looking for three things from the ADEPT program: 1) integrated chip-scale power converters for solid-state lighting, microinverters for photovoltaics and single-chip power supplies for computers; 2) cost-effective, kilowatt-scale inverters for grid-tied photovoltaics and variable-speed motors; and 3) solid-state medium-voltage energy converters for solid-state electrical substations and wind-turbine generators.
Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices (BEET-IT): New approaches to air conditioning buildings that can be retrofitted into existing systems. In particular, ARPA-E is seeking 1) systems with refrigerants with low global-warming potential; 2) more efficient air conditioning systems for warm and humid climates; and 3) vapor compression AC systems for hot climate.
ARPA-E has already funded 37 projects from its first solicitation for proposals related to energy storage, biofuels, carbon capture, renewable power, building efficiency and vehicles. The DOE division says it is still evaluating nearly 500 concept papers sent in from its second solicitation that focus on biofuels, carbon capture and batteries for electric vehicles.