SAN FRANCISCO, CA --- The U.S. Department of Energy on Oct. 26 announced $151 million in funding for 37 ambitious research projects -- some of which have long-term potential for greening fleets.
ARPA-E funding was originally established under the America Competes Act of 2007. In April of this year, President Obama announced $400 million in funding for ARPA-E through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Some of the projects awarded funding include:
- Agrivida Inc. -- $4.5 million for a biomass energy project. Research will focus on cell wall-degrading enzymes grown within the plant itself that are activated after harvest, dramatically reducing the cost of cellulosic biofuels and chemicals.
- Arizona State University, Fluidic Energy Inc. -- $5.1 million for an energy storage project. Research will focus on a new class of metal-air batteries using ionic liquids, with many times the energy density of today's lithium-ion batteries. Could enable long-range, low-cost plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
- Delphi Automotive Systems LLC, International Rectifier, Oak Ridge National Laboratory -- $6.7 million for a vehicle technologies project. Research will focus on new power electronics technology based on a Gallium Nitride on Silicon process with innovative thermal management that can enable up to 50 percent more efficient power delivery from batteries to electric motors.
- General Motors Co., University of Michigan, HRL Laboratories LLC, Dynalloy Inc. --- $2.6 million for a vehicle technologies project. Research will focus on a shape memory alloy energy recovery device to convert waste heat from car engines into electricity. This could significantly increase fuel efficiency in cars and could be used in other heat recovery applications.
- Inorganic Specialists Inc., Ultramet Inc., EaglePicher, Southeast --- $1.9 million for an energy storage project. Research will focus on a silicon-coated carbon nanofiber paper for the anode of next-generation lithium-ion batteries. These low-cost batteries could accelerate the deployment of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
- Michigan State University -- $2.5 million for a vehicle technologies project. Research will focus on the wave disc engine, a gas-fueled electric generator that is five times more efficient than traditional engines for electricity production, as well as lighter and cheaper to manufacture. This could replace current generators for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
- University of California at Riverside -- $760,705 for a vehicle technologies project. Research will focus on alkaline polymer electrolyte fuel cell membranes that eliminate the use of expensive catalyst materials. This has the potential to drastically reduce fuel cell costs and enable their widespread use in building and automotive applications.
- University of Delaware, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Northeastern University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Ames Laboratory, Electron Energy Corp. -- $4.4 million for a vehicle technologies project. Research will focus on novel high-energy density, low rare-earth content magnetic materials with double the energy density of current materials. Materials would decrease the weight and increase the efficiency of motors for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles and generators for advanced wind turbines.