The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is a federal government’s program that awards funding to select green energy technologies in the private sector that are still in their infancy. Two new such programs recently received a total of $40 million from the Department of Energy (DOE), which administers ARPA-E. The recipients are each involved in the transportation segment.
Twenty million tax payer dollars have been awarded to the “Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems” program, or METALS. As its acronym neatly implies, METALS is looking for ways to make processing aluminum, magnesium, and titanium ores as affordable as steel. The program is also looking for cost-saving methods to recycling them as well. Such light-weight, high-strength, materials could be used in future cars and vehicles to make them more fuel efficient and emit less greenhouse gases.
Speaking of those gases, the “Reducing Emissions using Methanotrophic Organisms for Transportation Energy” (REMOTE) program also receives $20 million from ARPA-E. REMOTE will look for ways to convert gases like, well, natural gas, into a liquid form useable by vehicles. One method hinted by REMOTE is the use of “biological” agents in such technologies. Unfortunately, ARPA-E was vague on specifics.
Regardless, ARPA-E has high hopes for the two projects. States Cheryl Martin, deputy director for ARPA-E: “These innovative programs will leverage the ingenuity of U.S. scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to develop breakthrough technologies to fuel cars with natural gas and to process and recycle metals. Breakthroughs in these areas could transform America’s energy economy by enhancing advanced manufacturing and utilizing domestic energy sources to power our vehicles, and reducing carbon pollution and other harmful emissions.”
ARPA-E was established in 2009, and has already funded over 285 various programs. Some of these include energy grid storage, power electronics, and cooling systems; biofuels; and the use of methane as a source of fuel. Over $700 million in funds have been awarded so far since the agency’s inception.