ARPA-E Awards $66 Million for Transformational Technologies

September 25, 2013

The Energy Department announced on September 19 that 33 breakthrough energy projects will receive approximately $66 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The support comes under two new programs, one designed for recycling metals for lightweight vehicles, and the other to develop biological technologies to convert biogas to liquids for transportation fuels. Funding will go to recipients in 15 states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

The Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems (METALS) program provides $32 million to find cost-effective and energy-efficient manufacturing techniques to process and recycle metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and titanium, which are ideal for creating lighter vehicles that can save fuel and reduce carbon emissions. For example, the Palo Alto Research Center in Palo Alto, California will develop a new electrochemical diagnostic probe that can identify the composition of light metal scrap for efficient sorting, which could reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and costs by enabling recycling of typically discarded light metal scrap.

The Reducing Emissions using Methanotrophic Organisms for Transportation Energy (REMOTE) program provides $34 million to find advanced biocatalyst technologies that can convert biogas to liquid fuel for transportation. This program aims to lower the cost of gas to liquid conversion while enabling the use of low-cost, low-carbon, domestically-produced natural tgas. For example, GreenLight Biosciences, in Medford, Massachusetts will develop a cell-free bioreactor that can convert large quantities of methane-to-liquid fuel in one step, which could enable mobile fermenters to access remote sources of natural gas for low-cost conversion of natural gas to liquid fuel. See the Energy Department press release and the complete list of projectsPDF.