The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) announced the funding of 60 new high-risk, high-reward energy research projects spread across 25 states. The grant recipients will conduct cutting-edge research on a variety of energy problems including the creation of new, plant-based, liquid fuels and novel technologies that reduce the cost of solar electricity.
The ARPA-E program was created in 2009 to identify clean-energy research projects deemed too radical or too preliminary to attract private financing. It initially received $400 million, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to this end. Please click here for more information.
This most recent round of funding awarded grants totaling $156 million with 23 percent of those funds awarded to small businesses. Overall, the ARPA-E program has funded 180 separate projects with $521.7 million in grants, with approximately one quarter of that total awarded to small businesses.
So far, eleven projects that have shown the most commercial potential have received outside private capital investment of more than $200 million. The agency does not expect most projects to become commercial businesses, but those that do succeed should pay high dividends. Already, one successful participant has found a way to halve the cost of the silicon wafers used in solar cells.
"These innovative projects are at the forefront of a new technological frontier that plays a critical role in our future energy security and economic growth," said Arun Majumdar, Director of ARPA-E. "It is now more important than ever to invest in game-changing ideas that will build the technological infrastructure for a new, clean energy economy."
Please click here for more information on ARPA-E projects.