The US Department of Energy recently awarded funding to six programs for a total of $9.6 million in funding under the department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program. Three of the six projects received funding of over 2 million dollars apiece. The other three each received an amount between one-half and three-quarters of a million dollars. Each of these programs offers the potential for significant advances in their respective fields.
"By investing in transformative ideas now, we are laying the foundation for a new clean energy future," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. "The ARPA-E program is helping to ensure U.S. leadership in science and technology, restore our global competitiveness, and create thousands of jobs."
The major projects are for an airborne wind turbine from Makani Power, a nanostructured permanent magnet from GE Global Research, and a supercritical fluid thermal energy storage system from UCLA. Makani Power's airborne turbine is a tethered wing used for power generation at significantly lower cost than conventional horizontal-axis wind turbines. GE's nanostructured magnets would reduce the need for critical rare-earth elements and provide increased performance for electric machines including hybrid vehicles and wind generators. UCLA's supercritical fluid thermal energy storage system would replace current two-tank molten salt storage used at solar thermal power plants with a supercritical fluid that would double energy density and cost less than 70 percent of the cost of current systems. The minor projects are for a nanotechnology membrane-based dehumidifier to dehumidify moist air with a polymer that is air permeable but not moisture permeable, a cryogenic carbon capture system for flue gasses, and an optofluidic solar tracking concentrator.
Edit: Updated to include all of first paragraph.
written by Asaf Shalgi, September 27, 2010
written by Ecover US Blog, September 28, 2010
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