On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced approximately $100 million in funding will be available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for Innovative Research Projects. This Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (“ARPA-E”) funding opportunity focuses on grid-scale energy storage, electrical power technology and building energy efficiency. Certain details of these program areas are outlined below.
- Grid-Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage (“GRIDS”): This program focuses on developing new energy storage technologies to help balance the peaks and valleys in renewable energy generation. ARPA-E expects to fund up to $30 million in grid-scale energy storage technology research and development projects. ARPA-E will consider and accept Concept Papers and Full Applications in two award categories: 1) proof of concept storage component projects focused on validating new, over-the-horizon electrical energy storage concepts; and 2) advanced system prototypes that address critical shortcomings of existing grid-scale energy storage technologies. This program will focus on technology prototyping and proof-of-concept R&D efforts rather than pilot demonstration projects. Program details can be viewed here.
- Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (“ADEPT”): This program provides funding of up to $35 million for advanced power converter technology research and development projects. ARPA-E will accept Concept Papers and Full Applications in two award categories: 1) a “Proof of Concept Seedling” category; and 2) an “Advanced Device Prototyping” category. The program seeks to invest in materials for fundamental advances in soft magnetics, high voltage switches, and reliable, high-density charge storage. Specifically, three categories of performance and integration level will be considered: 1) fully-integrated, chip-scale power converters for applications including, but not limited to, compact, efficient drivers for solid-state lighting, distributed micro-inverters for photovoltaics, and single-chip power supplies for computers; 2) kilowatt scale package integrated power converters by enabling applications such as low-cost, efficient inverters for grid-tied photovoltaics and variable speed motors; and 3) lightweight, solid-state, medium voltage energy conversion for high power applications such as solid-state electrical substations and wind turbine generators. Program details can be viewed here.
- Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices (“BEET-IT”): This program seeks to develop energy efficient cooling technologies and air conditioners (AC) for buildings to save energy and reduce GHG emissions from primary energy consumption due to space cooling and refrigerants used in vapor compression systems. ARPA-E expects to fund up to $30 million in advanced building cooling technology research and development projects. ARPA-E will accept Concept Papers and Full Applications in two award categories: 1) a “Proof of Concept Seedling” category; and 2) an “Advanced Device Prototyping” category. ARPA-E seeks innovative research and development approaches to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions due to cooling of buildings in the following areas: 1) cooling systems that use refrigerants with low global warming potential; 2) energy efficient air conditioning (AC) systems for warm and humid climates with an increased coefficient of performance (COP); and 3) vapor compression AC systems for hot climates for re-circulating air loads with an increased COP. Program details can be viewed here.