DOE Awards $9.6 Million for Transformational Energy Research Projects
September 15, 2010
DOE announced on September 10 that it has selected six transformational energy research and development projects to receive a total of $9.6 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The selections, made by DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), include a dehumidifier based on a nano-structured solid polymer that is permeable to moisture but impermeable to air; next-generation permanent magnets with a lower content of critical rare-earth metals, to increase the efficiency and power density of electric machines; a cryogenic carbon capture system for fossil-fuel power plants; an airborne wind turbine, consisting of a high-performance wing that carries a turbine and is tethered to the ground; a dynamic liquid prism that can be adjusted using an applied electric field, allowing concentrating photovoltaic systems to track the sun without the use of mechanical systems; and a thermal energy storage system for concentrating solar power systems that uses supercritical fluids to potentially store twice the energy of an equivalent-size molten-salt system. Supercritical fluids are substances at temperatures and pressures above their critical point, which means that distinct liquid and gas phases of the substance have ceased to exist. See the DOE press release, the technical descriptions of the selected projects, and DOE's ARPA-E Web site.