Technology continues to evolve at breakneck paces, but a nice financial boost often means the difference between a major leap and an iterative step. During this morning’s inaugural U.s. Dept. of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that an additional $100 million in Recovery Act funding will be made available to propel green technology research.
The funding, intended to not only propagate green innovation but also keep America competitive in that field and create a number of new jobs, will be put toward ARPA-E’s three-tiered innovation plan. Firstly, the development new technologies that will enable the widespread deployment of cost-effective energy grid storage. Specifically, the key is to create innovative and efficient storage systems that are modular and capable of being implemented across the power grid. Secondly, advances in soft magnetics, high-density and reliable charge storage, and high voltage switches. ARPA-E believes that the development of advanced power electronics could bring about a 25-30 percent reduction in electricity consumption. Finally, a focus on developing energy efficient cooling technologies and air conditioners in order to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Their objective in this regard is to research and develop cooling systems that use employ refrigerants with low global warming potential.
This funding opportunity is ARPA-E’s third, the first two of which were announced in early 2009 and December 2009, respectively. The combined results for the first two solicitations encompass over 500 concept papers focused on new approaches for biofuels, carbon capture, and electric vehicle batteries; as well as 37 funded projects concerning transformational innovations in energy storage, biofuels, carbon capture, renewable power, building efficiency, vehicles, and other areas.