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OPEN 2012 Projects

Displaying 1 - 66 of 66
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/26/2013 to 09/07/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Massachusetts
Technical Categories: 

Adaptive Surface Technologies is developing a slippery coating that can be used for a number of technology applications including oil and water pipelines, wastewater treatment systems, solar panels (to prevent dust accumulation), refrigeration (to prevent ice buildup), as well as many other energy-relevant applications. Contamination, build-up of microorganisms, and corrosion of untreated surfaces can lead to inefficiencies in the system. Adaptive Surface Technologies' liquid-based coating is tailored to adhere to and then spread out evenly over a rough surface, forming a completely smooth surface that inhibits buildup. Since it is liquid-based, it can easily repair itself if scratched or damaged, resulting in a stable coating with the potential to significantly outperform conventional technologies, such as Teflon, in friction and drag reduction and in repelling a broad range of contaminants.

Program: 
Project Term: 
02/21/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 

Alveo Energy is developing a grid-scale storage battery using Prussian Blue dye as the active material within the battery. Prussian Blue is most commonly known for its application in blueprint documents, but it can also hold electric charge. Though it provides only modest energy density, Prussian Blue is so readily available and inexpensive that it could provide a cost-effective and sustainable storage solution for years to come. Alveo will repurpose this inexpensive dye for a new battery that is far cheaper and less sensitive to temperature, air, and other external factors than comparable systems. This will help to facilitate the adoption and deployment of renewable energy technology. Alveo's Prussian Blue dye-based grid-scale storage batteries would be safe and reliable, have long operational lifetime, and be cheaper to produce than any existing battery technology.

Program: 
Project Term: 
06/01/2013 to 09/30/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 

Applied Materials is working with ARPA-E and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to build a reactor that produces the silicon wafers used in solar panels at a dramatically lower cost than existing technologies. Current wafer production processes are time consuming and expensive, requiring the use of high temperatures to produce ingots from molten silicon that can be sliced into wafers for use in solar cells. This slicing process results in significant silicon waste--or "kerf loss"--much like how sawdust is created when sawing wood. With funding from ARPA-E, Applied Materials is developing a reactor where ultra-thin silicon wafers are created by depositing silicon directly from vapor onto specialized reusable surfaces, allowing a significant reduction in the amount of silicon used in the process. Since high purity silicon is one of the most significant costs in producing solar cells, this kerf-less approach could significantly reduce the overall cost of producing solar panels. Applied Materials is partnering with Suniva, who will use funds from EERE to integrate these low-cost wafers into solar cells and modules that generate low-cost electricity, and with Arizona State University, who will develop high-efficiency devices on ultra-thin kerfless substrates. This partnership could enable low-cost, domestic manufacturing of solar modules, allowing the U.S. to reduce the amount of equipment we import from other countries.

Arizona State University (ASU)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/12/2013 to 02/28/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Arizona
Technical Categories: 
Arizona State University (ASU) is developing an innovative electrochemical technology for capturing the CO2 released by coal-fired power plants. ASU's technology aims to cut both the energy requirements and cost of CO2 capture technology in half compared to today's best methods. Presently, the only proven commercially viable technology for capturing CO2 from coal plants uses a significant amount of energy, consuming roughly 40% of total power plant output. If installed today, this technology would increase the cost of electricity production by 85%. ASU is advancing a fundamentally new paradigm for CO2 capture using novel electrochemical reactants to separate and capture CO2. This process could be easily scaled and integrated in conventional fossil fuel power generation facilities.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 12/31/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
New Jersey
Technical Categories: 

Bio2Electric is developing a small-scale reactor that converts natural gas into a feedstock for industrial chemicals or liquid fuels. Conventional, large-scale gas-to-liquid reactors are expensive and not easily scaled down. Bio2Electric's reactor relies on a chemical conversion and fuel cell technology resulting in fuel cells that create a valuable feedstock, as well as electricity. In addition, the reactor relies on innovations in material science by combining materials that have not been used together before, thereby altering the desired output of the fuel cell. The reactors can be efficiently built as modular units, therefore reducing the manufacturing costs of the reactor. Bio2Electric's small-scale reactor could be deployed in remote locations to provide electricity in addition to liquid fuel, increasing the utility of geographically isolated gas reserves.

Program: 
Project Term: 
03/20/2013 to 05/31/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Rhode Island
Technical Categories: 

Brown University is developing a power conversion device to maximize power production and reduce costs to capture energy from flowing water in rivers and tidal basins. Conventional methods to harness energy from these water resources face a number of challenges, including the costs associated with developing customized turbine technology to a specific site. Additionally, sites with sufficient energy exist near coastal habitats which depend on the natural water flow to transport nutrients. Brown University's tidal power conversion devices can continuously customize themselves by using an onboard computer and control software to respond to real-time measurements, which will increase tidal power conversion efficiency. Brown University's technology will allow for inexpensive installation and software upgrades and optimized layout of tidal power generators to maximize power generation and mitigate environmental impacts.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/28/2013 to 09/27/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is developing a solar module that splits sunlight into individual color bands to improve the efficiency of solar electricity generation. For PV to maintain momentum in the marketplace, the energy conversion efficiency must increase significantly to result in reduced power generation costs. Most conventional PV modules provide 15-20% energy conversion efficiency because their materials respond efficiently to only a narrow band of color in the sun's spectrum, which represents a significant constraint on their efficiency. To increase the light conversion efficiency, Caltech will assemble a solar module that includes several cells containing several different absorbing materials, each tuned to a different color range of the sun's spectrum. Once light is separated into color bands, Caltech's tailored solar cells will match each separated color band to dramatically improve the overall efficiency of solar energy conversion. Caltech's approach to improve the efficiency of PV solar generation should enable improved cost-competitiveness for PV energy.
Case Western Reserve University
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/09/2013 to 02/11/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Ohio
Technical Categories: 

Case Western Reserve University is developing a water-based, all-iron flow battery for grid-scale energy storage at low cost. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container. Using iron provides a low-cost, safe solution for energy storage because iron is both abundant and non-toxic. This design could drastically improve the energy storage capacity of stationary batteries at 10-20% of today's cost. Ultimately, this technology could help reduce the cost of stationary energy storage enough to facilitate the adoption and deployment of renewable energy technology.

Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 02/15/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Utah
Technical Categories: 
Ceramatec is developing a small-scale reactor to convert natural gas into benzene--a feedstock for industrial chemicals or liquid fuels. Natural gas as a byproduct is highly abundant, readily available, and inexpensive. Ceramatec's reactor will use a one-step chemical conversion process to convert natural gas into benzene. This one-step process is highly efficient and prevents the build-up of solid residue that can occur when gas is processed. The benzene that is produced can be used as a starting material for nylons, polycarbonates, polystyrene, epoxy resins, and as a component of gasoline.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 03/31/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Utah
Technical Categories: 

Ceramatec is developing a solid-state fuel cell that operates in an 'intermediate' temperature range that could overcome persistent challenges faced by both high temperature and low temperature fuel cells. The advantages compared to higher temperature fuel cells are less expensive seals and interconnects, as well as longer lifetime. The advantages compared to low temperature fuel cells are reduced platinum requirements and the ability to run on fuels other than hydrogen, such as natural gas or methanol. Ceramatec's design would use a new electrolyte material to transport protons within the cell and advanced electrode layers. The project would engineer a fuel cell stack that performs at lower cost than current automotive designs, and culminate in the building and testing of a short fuel cell stack capable of meeting stringent transportation requirements.

Colorado State University (CSU)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/04/2013 to 10/03/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Colorado
Technical Categories: 
Colorado State University (CSU) is developing technology to rapidly introduce novel traits into crops that currently cannot be readily engineered. Presently, a limited number of crops can be engineered, and the processes are not standardized - restricting the agricultural sources for engineered biofuel production. More--and more diverse--biofuel crops could substantially improve the efficiency, time scale, and geographic range of biofuel production. CSU's approach would enable simple and efficient engineering of a broad range of bioenergy crops using synthetic biology tools to standardize their genetic modification.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 05/01/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
New York
Technical Categories: 

Cornell University is developing a new photobioreactor that is more efficient than conventional bioreactors at producing algae-based fuels. Traditional photobioreactors suffer from several limitations, particularly poor light distribution, inefficient fuel extraction, and the consumption of large amounts of water and energy. Cornell's bioreactor is compact, making it more economical to grow engineered algae and collect the fuel the algae produces. Cornell's bioreactor also delivers sunlight efficiently through low-cost, plastic, light-guiding sheets. By distributing optimal amounts of sunlight, Cornell's design would increase efficiency and decrease water use compared to conventional algae reactors.

Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 03/06/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Florida
Technical Categories: 

Dioxide Materials is developing technology to produce carbon monoxide, or "synthesis gas" electrochemically from CO2 emitted by power plants. Synthesis gas can be used as a feedstock for the production of industrial chemicals and liquid fuels. The current state-of-the-art process for capturing and removing CO2 from the flue gas of power plants is expensive and energy intensive, and therefore faces significant hurdles towards widespread implementation. The technologies being developed by Dioxide Materials aim to convert CO2 into something useful in an economical and practical way. The technology has the potential to create an entirely new industry where waste CO2--rather than oil--is used to produce gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and industrial chemicals.

Electron Energy Corporation (EEC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/15/2013 to 02/14/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Pennsylvania
Technical Categories: 
Electron Energy Corporation (EEC) and its team are developing a new processing technology that could transform how permanent magnets found in today's EV motors and renewable power generators are fabricated. This new process, known as friction consolidation extrusion (FC&E), could produce stronger magnets at a lower cost and with reduced rare earth mineral content. The advantage of FC&E over today's best fabrication processes is that it can be applied to unconsolidated powders as opposed to solid alloys, which can allow magnets to be compacted from much smaller grains of two different types, a process which could double its magnetic energy density. EEC's process could reduce the need for rare earth mineral in permanent magnets by as much 30%.
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/01/2013 to 02/17/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Texas
Technical Categories: 
eNova is developing a gas compressor powered by waste heat from the exhaust of a gas turbine. A conventional gas turbine facility releases the exhaust heat produced during operation into the air--this heat is a waste by-product that can be used to improve power generation system efficiency. eNova's gas compressor converts the exhaust waste heat from the simple cycle gas turbine to compressed air for injection into the turbine, thereby lessening the burden on the turbine's air compressor. This new compressor design is ideal for use with a remote gas turbine--such as that typically used in the natural gas industry to compress pipeline natural gas--with limited options for waste heat recovery and access to high voltage power lines and water.
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/11/2013 to 09/30/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Kentucky
Technical Categories: 
Evolva is producing terpenes--energy dense molecules that can be used as high-performance aviation fuels--from simple sugars using engineered microbes. These terpenes will provide better performance than existing petroleum-based aviation fuels. Evolva will draw upon their industrial-scale terpene manufacturing experience to produce aviation sesquiterpenes at a low cost and large scale. Going forward, Evolva will validate the performance of its aviation fuels in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and further engineer its process to utilize biomass feedstocks.
Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 09/30/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Illinois
Technical Categories: 
Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is developing a new process to convert natural gas or methane-containing gas into methanol and hydrogen for liquid fuel. Methanol serves as the main feedstock for dimethyl ether, which could be used for vehicular fuel. Unfortunately, current methods to produce liquid fuels from natural gas require large and expensive facilities that use significant amounts of energy. GTI's process uses metal oxide catalysts that are continuously regenerated in a reactor, similar to a battery, to convert the methane into methanol. These metal oxide catalysts reduce the energy required during the conversion process. This process operates at room temperature, is more energy efficient, and less capital-intensive than existing methods.
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/30/2013 to 07/31/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing a new gas tube switch that could significantly improve and lower the cost of utility-scale power conversion. A switch breaks an electrical circuit by interrupting the current or diverting it from one conductor to another. To date, solid state semiconductor switches have completely replaced gas tube switches in utility-scale power converters because they have provided lower cost, higher efficiency, and greater reliability. GE is using new materials and innovative designs to develop tubes that not only operate well in high-power conversion, but also perform better and cost less than non-tube electrical switches. A single gas tube switch could replace many semiconductor switches, resulting in more cost effective high power converters.

General Electric (GE) Power & Water
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/01/2013 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Power & Water is developing fabric-based wind turbine blades that could significantly reduce the production costs and weight of the blades. Conventional wind turbines use rigid fiberglass blades that are difficult to manufacture and transport. GE will use tensioned fabric uniquely wrapped around a spaceframe blade structure, a truss-like, lightweight rigid structure, replacing current clam shell wind blades design. The blade structure will be entirely altered, allowing for easy access and repair to the fabric while maintaining conventional wind turbine performance. This new design could reduce production costs by 70% and enable automated manufacturing while reducing the processing time by more than 50%. GE's fabric-based blades could be manufactured in sections and assembled on-site, enabling the construction of much larger wind turbines that can capture more wind with significantly lower production and transportation costs.
Georgia Tech Research Corporation
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/20/2013 to 03/19/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Georgia
Technical Categories: 

Georgia Tech Research Corporation is developing a supercapacitor using graphene--a two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms--to substantially store more energy than current technologies. Supercapacitors store energy in a different manner than batteries, which enables them to charge and discharge much more rapidly. The Georgia Tech team approach is to improve the internal structure of graphene sheets with 'molecular spacers,' in order to store more energy at lower cost. The proposed design could increase the energy density of the supercapacitor by 10-15 times over established capacitor technologies, and would serve as a cost-effective and environmentally safe alternative to traditional storage methods.

Georgia Tech Research Corporation
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/17/2013 to 10/17/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Georgia
Technical Categories: 
Georgia Tech Research Corporation is developing a high-efficiency concentrating solar receiver and reactor for the production of solar fuels. The team will develop a system that uses liquid metal to capture and transport heat at much higher temperatures compared to state-of-the-art concentrating solar power facilities. This high temperature system will be combined with the team's novel reactor to produce solar fuels that allow the flexibility to store and transport solar energy for later use or for immediate power production. Higher temperatures should result in much higher efficiencies and therefore lower costs of produced fuel or electricity. Additionally, plant operators would have the flexibility to match electricity or fuel production with the changing market demand to improve the cost effectiveness of the plant.
Georgia Tech Research Corporation
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/03/2013 to 09/30/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Georgia
Technical Categories: 
Georgia Tech Research Corporation is developing a method to capture energy from wind vortices that form from a thin layer of solar-heated air along the ground. "Dust devils" are a random and intermittent example of this phenomenon in nature. Naturally, the sun heats the ground creating a thin air layer near the surface that is warmer than the air above. Since hot air rises, this layer of air will naturally want to rise. The Georgia Tech team will use a set of vanes to force the air to rotate as it rises, forming an anchored columnar vortex that draws in additional hot air to sustain itself. Georgia Tech's technology uses a rotor and generator to produce electrical power from this rising, rotating air similar to a conventional wind turbine. This solar-heated air, a renewable energy resource, is broadly available, especially in the southern U.S. Sunbelt, yet has not been utilized to date. This technology could offer more continuous power generation than conventional solar PV or wind. Georgia Tech's technology is a, low-cost, scalable approach to electrical power generation that could create a new class of renewable energy ideally suited for arid low-wind regions.
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/01/2013 to 03/31/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 

Glint Photonics is developing an inexpensive solar concentrating PV (CPV) module that tracks the sun's position over the course of the day to channel sunlight into PV materials more efficiently. Conventional solar concentrator technology requires complex moving parts to track the sun's movements. In contrast, Glint's inexpensive design can be mounted in a stationary configuration and adjusts its properties automatically in response to the solar position. By embedding this automated tracking function within the concentrator, Glint's design enables CPV modules to use traditional mounting technology and techniques, reducing installation complexity and cost. These self-tracking concentrators can significantly decrease the cost of solar power modules by enabling high efficiency while eliminating the additional costs of precision trackers and specialized mounting hardware. The concentrator itself is designed to be manufactured at extremely low-cost due to low material usage and compatibility with high-speed fabrication techniques. Glint's complete module costs are estimated to be $0.35/watt-peak.

Program: 
Project Term: 
03/05/2013 to 06/04/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Michigan
Technical Categories: 
Grid Logic is developing a new type of electrical superconductor that could significantly improve the performance (in $/kA-m) and lower the cost of high-power energy generation, transmission, and distribution. Grid Logic is using a new manufacturing technique to coat very fine particles of superconducting material with an extremely thin layer--less than 1/1,000 the width of a human hair--of a low-cost metal composite. This new manufacturing process is not only much simpler and more cost effective than the process used to make today's state-of-the-art high-power superconductors, but also it makes superconductive cables easier to handle and improves their electrical properties in certain applications.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 03/25/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Massachusetts
Technical Categories: 
Harvard University is developing an innovative grid-scale flow battery to store electricity from renewable sources. Flow batteries store energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, permitting larger amounts of stored energy at lower cost per kWh. Harvard is designing active material for a flow battery that uses small, inexpensive organic molecules in aqueous electrolyte. Relying on low-cost organic materials, Harvard's innovative storage device concept would yield one or more systems that may be developed by their partner, Sustainable Innovations, LLC, into viable grid-scale electrical energy storage systems.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/05/2013 to 05/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
North Carolina
Technical Categories: 
HexaTech is developing new semiconductors for electrical switches that will more efficiently control the flow of electricity across high-voltage electrical lines. A switch helps control electricity: switching it on and off, converting it from one voltage to another, and converting it from an Alternating Current (A/C) to a Direct Current (D/C) and back. Most switches today use silicon or silicon-based semiconductors, which are not able to handle high voltages, fast switching speeds, or high operating temperatures. HexaTech has developed highest quality, single crystalline Aluminum Nitride (AlN) semiconductor wafers. HexaTech AlN wafers are the enabling platform for power converters which can handle 50 times more voltage than silicon, as well as higher switching speeds and operating temperatures.
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/05/2013 to 08/31/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

Integral Consulting is developing a cost-effective ocean wave buoy system that will accurately measure its own movements as it follows the surface wave motions of the ocean and relay this real-time wave data. Conventional real-time wave measurement buoys are expensive, which limits the ability to deploy large networks of buoys. Data from Integral Consulting's buoys can be used as input to control strategies of wave energy conversion (WEC) devices and allow these controlled WECs to capture significantly more energy than systems that do not employ control strategies. Integral Consulting's system will also enable assessment of the optimal locations and designs of WEC systems. Integral Consulting's ocean wave buoy system could measure and relay real-time wave data at 10% the cost of commercially available wave measurement systems.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Program: 
Project Term: 
06/01/2013 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Massachusetts
Technical Categories: 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is developing a water treatment system to treat contaminated water from hydraulic fracking and seawater. There is a critical need for small to medium-sized, low-powered, low-cost water treatment technologies, particularly for regions lacking centralized water and energy infrastructure. Conventional water treatment methods, such as reverse osmosis, are not effective for most produced water clean up based on the high salt levels resulting from fracking. MIT's water treatment system will remove high-levels of typical water contaminants such as salt, metals, and microorganisms. The water treatment system is based on low-powered generation enabling efficient on-demand, on-site potable water production. The process allows for a 50% water recovery rate and is cost-competitive with conventional water treatment technology. MIT's water treatment device would require less power than competing technologies and has important applications for mining, oil and gas production, and water treatment for remote locations.
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/20/2013 to 09/01/2015
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Illinois
Technical Categories: 
MicroLink Devices is developing low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells to capture concentrated sunlight in an effort to increase the amount of electricity generated by concentrating solar power plants. The continued growth of the CPV market depends strongly on continuing to reduce the cost of CPV solar cell technologies. MicroLink will make an all-lattice-matched solar cell that can achieve greater power conversion efficiency than conventional CPV technologies, thereby reducing the cost of generating electricity. In addition, MicroLink will use manufacturing techniques that allow for the reuse of expensive solar cell manufacturing templates to minimize costs. MicroLink's innovative high-efficiency solar cell design has the potential to reduce PV electricity costs well below the cost of electricity from conventional non-concentrating PV modules.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 04/30/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Colorado
Technical Categories: 
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Colorado (CU) are developing a way to enhance plastic solar cells to capture a larger part of the solar spectrum. Conventional plastic solar cells can be inexpensive to fabricate but do not efficiently convert light into electricity. NREL is designing novel device architecture for plastic solar cells that would enhance the utilization of parts of the solar spectrum for a wide array of plastic solar cell types. To develop these plastic solar cells, NREL and CU will leverage computational modeling and advanced facilities specializing in processing plastic PVs. NREL's plastic solar cell devices have the potential to exceed the power conversion efficiencies of traditional plastic solar cells by up to threefold.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 12/30/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Colorado
Technical Categories: 
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is developing a solar thermoelectric generator to directly convert heat from concentrated sunlight to electricity. Thermoelectric devices can directly convert heat to electricity, yet due to cost and efficiency limitations they have not been viewed as a viable large-scale energy conversion technology. However, new thermoelectric materials have dramatically increased the efficiency of direct heat-to-electricity conversion. NREL is using these innovative materials to develop a new solar thermoelectric generator. This device will concentrate sunlight onto an absorbing surface on top of a thermoelectric stage, the resulting temperature difference between the top and bottom of the device will drive the generator to produce electricity at 3 times the efficiency of current systems. NREL's solar thermoelectric generator could reduce the cost associated with converting large amounts of solar energy into electricity through a much simpler and scalable process which does not rely upon moving parts and transfer fluids.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/19/2013 to 09/30/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 

Otherlab is developing an inexpensive small mirror system with an innovative drive system to reflect sunlight onto concentrating solar power towers at greatly reduced cost. This system is an alternative to expensive and bulky 20-30 foot tall mirrors and expensive sun-tracking drives used in today's concentrating solar power plants. In order for solar power tower plants to compete with conventional electricity generation, these plants need dramatic component cost reductions and lower maintenance and operational expenses. Otherlab's approach uses a smaller modular mirror design that reduces handling difficulty, suffers less from high winds, and allows the use of mass manufacturing processes for low-cost component production. These mirrors can be driven by mechanisms that utilize simpler, more readily serviceable parts which decreases system downtime and efficiency. The incorporation of low-cost and highly-scalable manufacturing approaches could significantly reduce the cost of solar electricity generation below conventional solar tower plant technologies.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/12/2013 to 07/17/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is developing innovative high-performance-computing techniques that can assess unused power transmission capacity in real-time in order to better manage congestion in the power grid. This type of assessment is traditionally performed off-line every season or every year using only conservative, worst-case scenarios. Finding computing techniques that rate transmission capacity in real-time could improve the utilization of the existing transmission infrastructure by up to 30% and facilitate increased integration of renewable generation into the grid--all without having to build costly new transmission lines.
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/01/2013 to 06/11/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) is developing a new way to manufacture Li-Ion batteries that reduces manufacturing costs and improves overall battery performance. Traditionally, Li-Ion manufacturers make each layer of the battery separately and then integrate the layers together. PARC is working to manufacture a Li-ion battery by printing each layer simultaneously into an integrated battery, thereby streamlining the manufacturing process. Additionally, the battery structure includes narrow stripes inside the layers that increase the battery's overall energy storage. Together, these innovations should allow the production of higher capacity batteries at dramatically lower manufacturing costs compared to today's Li-ion batteries.
Plant Sensory Systems (PSS)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/15/2013 to 06/14/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Maryland
Technical Categories: 

Plant Sensory Systems (PSS) is developing an enhanced energy beet that will provide an improved fermentable feedstock. A gene that has been shown to increase biomass and soluble sugars in other crop species will be introduced into beets in order produce higher levels of non-food-grade sugars and use both nutrients and water more efficiently. These engineered beets will have a lower cost of production and increased yield of fermentable sugars to help diversify feedstocks for bioproduction of fuel molecules.

Program: 
Project Term: 
02/06/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
PolyPlus Battery Company is developing an innovative, water-based Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) battery. Today, Li-S battery technology offers the lightest high-energy batteries that are completely self-contained. New features in these water-based batteries make PolyPlus' lightweight battery ideal for a variety of military and consumer applications. The design could achieve energy densities between 400-600 Wh/kg, a substantial improvement from today's state-of-the-art Li-Ion batteries that can hold only 150 Wh/kg. PolyPlus' technology--with applications for vehicle transportation as well as grid storage--would be able to transition to a widespread commercial and military market.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR)
Program: 
Project Term: 
06/14/2013 to 03/15/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) is developing a new combustor for gas turbine engines that uses shockwaves for more efficient combustion through a process known as continuous detonation. These combustors would enable more electricity to be generated from a given amount of natural gas, increasing the efficiency of gas turbine engines while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. PWR will design and build continuous detonation combustors and test them in a simulated gas turbine environment to demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating the technology into natural gas-fueled turbine electric power generators.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR)
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/01/2013 to 03/15/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) is developing two distinct--but related--technologies that could revolutionize how we convert natural gas. First, PWR will work with Pennsylvania State University to create a high-efficiency gas turbine which uses supercritical fluids to cool the turbine blades. Allowing gas turbines to operate at higher temperatures can drive significant improvements in performance, particularly when coupled with the recapture of waste heat. This advancement could reduce the cost of electricity by roughly 60% and resulting in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing upon lessons learned from this technology, PWR will then work with the Gas Technology Institute to build a system that partially oxidizes natural gas in the high-temperature, high-pressure combustor of a natural gas turbine, efficiently facilitating its conversion into a liquid fuel. This approach could simultaneously improve the efficiency of gas conversion into fuels and chemicals, and also generate high-quality waste heat in the process which could be used to generate electricity.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/11/2013 to 08/10/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Massachusetts
Technical Categories: 
RamGoss is using innovative device designs and high-performance materials to develop utility-scale electronic switches that would significantly outperform today's state-of-the-art devices. Switches are the fundamental building blocks of electronic devices, controlling the electrical energy that flows around an electrical circuit. Today's best electronic switches for large power applications are bulky and inefficient, which leads to higher cost and wasted power. RamGoss is optimizing new, low-cost materials and developing a new, completely different switch designs. Combined, these innovations would increase the efficiency and reduce the overall size and cost of power converters for a variety of electronic devices and grid-scale applications, including electric vehicle (EV) chargers, large-scale wind plants, and solar power arrays.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/07/2013 to 03/06/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
New York
Technical Categories: 
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is working to develop and demonstrate a new bi-directional transistor switch that would significantly simplify the power conversion process for high-voltage, high-power electronics systems. A transistor switch helps control electricity, converting it from one voltage to another or from an Alternating Current (A/C) to a Direct Current (D/C). High-power systems, including solar and wind plants, usually require multiple switches to convert energy into electricity that can be transmitted through the grid. These multi-level switch configurations are costly and complex, which drives down their overall efficiency and reliability. RPI's new switch would require fewer components than conventional high-power switches. This simple design would in turn simplify the overall power conversion process and enable renewable energy sources to more easily connect to the grid.
Research Triangle Institute (RTI)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/15/2013 to 06/30/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
North Carolina
Technical Categories: 
Research Triangle Institute (RTI) is leveraging existing engine technology to develop a compact reformer for natural gas conversion. Reformers produce synthesis gas--the first step in the commercial process of converting natural gas to liquid fuels. As a major component of any gas-to-liquid plant, the reformer represents a substantial cost. RTI's re-designed reformer would be compact, inexpensive, and easily integrated with small-scale chemical reactors. RTI's technology allows for significant cost savings by harnessing equipment that is already manufactured and readily available. Unlike other systems that are too large to be deployed remotely, RTI's reformer could be used for small, remote sources of gas.
Sharp Laboratories of America
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/28/2013 to 03/27/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Sharp Laboratories of America and their partners at the University of Texas and Oregon State University are developing a sodium-based battery that could dramatically increase battery cycle life at a low cost while maintaining a high energy capacity. Current storage approaches use either massive pumped reservoirs of water or underground compressed air storage, which carry serious infrastructure requirements and are not feasible beyond specific site limitations. Therefore, there is a critical need for a scalable, adaptable battery technology to enable widespread deployment of renewable power. Sodium ion batteries have the potential to perform as well as today's best lithium-based designs at a significantly lower cost. Sharp Labs' new battery would provide long cycle life, high energy density, and safe operation if deployed throughout the electric grid.
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/15/2013 to 08/10/2015
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Pennsylvania
Technical Categories: 
Silicon Power is developing a semiconducting device that switches high-power and high-voltage electricity using optical signals as triggers for the switches, instead of conventional signals carried through wires. A switch helps control electricity, converting it from one voltage or current to another. High-power systems generally require multiple switches to convert energy into electricity that can be transmitted through the grid. These multi-level switch configurations use many switches which may be costly and inefficient. Additionally, most switching mechanisms use silicon, which cannot handle the high switching frequencies or voltages that high-power systems demand. Silicon Power is using light to trigger its switching mechanisms, which could greatly simplify the overall power conversion process. Additionally, Silicon Power's switching device is made of silicon carbide instead of straight silicon, which is more efficient and allows it to handle higher frequencies and voltages.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/20/2013 to 03/19/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
Stanford University is developing a device for the rooftops of buildings and cars that will reflect sunlight and emit heat, enabling passive cooling, even when the sun is shining. This device requires no electricity or fuel and would reduce the need for air conditioning, leading to energy and cost savings. Stanford's technology relies on recently developed state-of-the-art concepts and techniques to tailor the absorption and emission of light and heat in nanostructured materials. This project could enable buildings, cars, and electronics to cool without using electric power.
Tai-Yang Research Company (TYRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/15/2013 to 03/06/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Tennessee
Technical Categories: 
Tai-Yang Research Company (TYRC) is developing a superconducting cable, which is a key enabling component for a grid-scale magnetic energy storage device. Superconducting magnetic energy storage systems have not established a commercial foothold because of their relatively low energy density and the high cost of the superconducting material. TYRC is coating their cable in yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) to increase its energy density. This unique, proprietary cable could be manufactured at low cost because it requires less superconducting material to produce the same level of energy storage as today's best cables.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/04/2013 to 01/31/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
Teledyne Scientific & Imaging is developing a water-based, potassium-ion flow battery for low-cost stationary energy storage. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container. This allows for cost-effective scalability because adding storage capacity is as simple as expanding the tank. Teledyne is increasing the energy and power density of their battery by 2-5 times compared to today's state-of-the-art vanadium flow battery. Their safe, scalable, low-cost energy storage technology would facilitate more widespread adoption and deployment of renewable energy technology.
Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/01/2013 to 09/30/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Texas
Technical Categories: 
Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) is developing a system to generate electricity from low-temperature waste heat streams. Conventional waste heat recovery technology is proficient at harnessing energy from waste heat streams that are at a much higher temperature than ambient air. However, existing technology has not been developed to address lower temperature differences. The proposed system cycles between heating and cooling a metal hydride to produce a flow of pressurized hydrogen. This hydrogen flow is then used to generate electricity via a turbine generator. TEES's system has the potential to be more efficient than conventional waste heat recovery technologies based on its ability to harness smaller temperature differences than are necessary for conventional waste heat recovery.
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/12/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is using additive manufacturing techniques to develop an ultra-high-efficiency electric motor for automobiles. The process and design does not rely on rare earth materials and sidesteps any associated supply concerns. Additive manufacturing uses a laser to deposit copper and insulation, layer-by-layer, instead of winding wires. EV motors rely heavily on permanent magnets, which are expensive given the high concentrations of rare earth material required to deliver the performance required in today's market. UTRC's efficient manufacturing method would produce motors that reduce electricity use and require less rare earth material. This project will also examine the application of additive manufacturing more widely for other energy systems, such as renewable power generators.
University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/01/2013 to 06/30/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is developing a device to monitor and measure electric power data from the grid's distribution system. The new instrument--known as a micro-phasor measurement unit (µPMU)--is designed to measure critical parameters such as voltage and phase angle at different locations, and correlate them in time via extremely precise GPS clocks. The amount of phase angle difference provides information about the stability and direction of power flow. Data collected from a network of these µPMUs would facilitate better monitoring and control of grid power flow--a critical element for integrating intermittent and renewable resources, such as rooftop solar and wind energy, and other technologies such as electric vehicles and distributed storage.

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/08/2013 to 11/30/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and Indoor Reality are developing a portable scanning system and the associated software to rapidly generate indoor thermal and physical building maps. This will allow for cost-effective identification of building inefficiencies and recommendation of energy-saving measures. The scanning system is contained in a backpack which an operator would wear while walking through a building along with a handheld scanner. The backpack features sensors that collect building data such as room size and shape along with associated thermal characteristics. These data can then be automatically processed to detect building elements, such as windows and lighting, and then generate 2D floor plans and 3D maps of the building geometry and thermal features. The backpack technology enables rapid data collection and export to existing computer models to guide strategies that could reduce building energy usage. Because the skills required to operate this technology are less than required for a traditional energy audit and the process is significantly faster, the overall cost of the audit can be reduced and the accuracy of the collected data is improved. This reduced cost should incentivize more building managers to conduct energy audits and implement energy saving measures.

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/15/2013 to 06/30/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is developing an energy storage device for HEVs that combines the properties of capacitors and batteries in one technology. Capacitors enjoy shorter charging times, better durability, and higher power than batteries, but offer less than 5% of their energy density. By integrating the two technologies, UCSB's design would offer a much reduced charge time with a product lifetime that matches or surpasses that of typical EV batteries. Additionally, the technology would deliver significantly higher power density than any current battery. This feature would extend EV driving range and provide a longer life expectancy than today's best EV batteries.
University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz)
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/01/2013 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
The University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz) is developing an optical device that enables the use of concentrated solar energy at locations remote to the point of collection. Conventional solar concentration systems typically use line of sight optical components to concentrate solar energy onto a surface for direct conversion of light into electricity or heat. UC Santa Cruz's innovative approach leverages unique thin-film materials, processes, and structures to build a device that will efficiently guide sunlight into an optical fiber for use away from the point of collection. UC Santa Cruz's optical device improves the coupling of high-power, concentrated solar energy systems into fiber-optic cables for use in applications such as thermal storage, photovoltaic conversion, or solar lighting.
University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder)
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/01/2013 to 06/29/2017
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Colorado
Technical Categories: 
The University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder) is using nanotechnology to improve the structure of natural gas-to-liquids catalysts. The greatest difficulty in industrial-scale catalyst activity is temperature control, which can only be solved by improving reactor design. CU-Boulder's newly structured catalyst creates a small-scale reactor for converting natural gas to liquid fuels that can operate at moderate temperatures. Additionally, CU-Boulder's small-scale reactors could be located near remote, isolated sources of natural gas, further enabling their use as domestic fuel sources.
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/09/2013 to 03/06/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 
The University of Delaware (UD) is developing a low-cost flow battery that uses membrane technology to increase voltage and energy storage capacity. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, which allows for cost-effective scalability because adding storage capacity is as simple as expanding the tank, offering large-scale storage capacity for renewable energy sources. However, traditional flow batteries have limited cell voltages, which lead to low power and low energy density. UD is addressing this limitation by adding an additional exchange membrane within the electrolyte material of the battery, creating 3 separate compartments of electrolytes. Separating the electrolytes in this manner allows unprecedented freedom for the battery to exchange ions back and forth between the positive and negative end of the battery, which improves the voltage of the system.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/05/2013 to 08/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Illinois
Technical Categories: 
The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is developing scalable grid modeling, monitoring, and analysis tools that would improve its resiliency to system failures as well as cyber attacks, which can significantly improve the reliability of grid operations. Power system operators today lack the ability to assess the grid's reliability with respect to potential cyber failures and attacks. UIUC is using theoretical and practical techniques from both the cyber security and power engineering domains to develop new algorithms and software tools capable of analyzing real-world threats against power grid critical infrastructures including cyber components (e.g. communication networks), physical components (e.g. power lines), and interdependencies between the two in its models and simulations. Continuing the project work started by UIUC, Avista Utilities is now developing technology to automatically extract and map electrical switch information to generate cyber-physical models. These cyber-physical models can be used to identify network vulnerabilities as well as identify and prioritize critical assets which will allow utilities and others to conduct simulations, perform analysis, and fortify networks against cyber-attacks.
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/22/2013 to 09/21/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Minnesota
Technical Categories: 
The University of Minnesota (UMN) is developing an ultra-thin separation membrane to decrease the cost of producing biofuels, plastics, and other industrial materials. Nearly 6% of total U.S. energy consumption comes from the energy used in separation and purification processes. Today's separation methods used in biofuels production are not only energy intensive, but also very expensive. UMN is developing a revolutionary membrane technology based on a recently discovered class of ultra-thin, porous, materials that will enable energy efficient separations necessary to prepare biofuels that would also be useful in the chemical, petrochemical, water purification, and fossil fuel industries. These membranes, made from nanometer-thick layers of silicon dioxide, are highly selective in separating nearly-identical chemicals and can handle high flow rates of the chemicals. When fully developed, these membranes could substantially reduce the amount and cost of energy required in the production of biofuels and many other widely used industrial chemicals.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/14/2013 to 02/13/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Nevada
Technical Categories: 
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is developing a solid-state, non-flammable electrolyte to make today's Li-Ion vehicle batteries safer. Today's Li-Ion batteries use a flammable liquid electrolyte--the material responsible for shuttling Li-Ions back and forth across the battery--that can catch fire when overheated or overcharged. UNLV will replace this flammable electrolyte with a fire-resistant material called lithium-rich anti-perovskite. This new electrolyte material would help make vehicle batteries safer in an accident while also increasing battery performance by extending vehicle range and acceleration.
University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (UND-EERC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/01/2013 to 06/30/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
North Dakota
Technical Categories: 
University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (UND-EERC) is developing an air-cooling alternative for power plants that helps maintain operating efficiency during electricity production with low environmental impact. The project addresses the shortcomings of conventional dry cooling, including high cost and degraded cooling performance during daytime temperature peaks. UND-EERC's device would use an air-cooled adsorbent liquid that results in more efficient power production with no water consumption. The technology could be applied to a broad range of plants including fossil, nuclear, solar thermal, and geothermal.
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/01/2013 to 04/30/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Pennsylvania
Technical Categories: 

The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) is developing a compound to increase the viscosity of--or thicken--liquid carbon dioxide (CO2). This higher-viscosity CO2 compound could be used to improve the performance of enhanced oil recovery techniques. Crude oil is found deep below the surface of the earth in layers of sandstone and limestone, and one of the ways to increase our ability to recover it is to inject a high-pressure CO2 solvent into these layers. Unfortunately, because the solvent is less viscous--or thinner--than oil, it is not robust enough to uniformly sweep the oil out of the rock and toward the oil well. Pitt's CO2-thickeners would improve the performance of the solvents involved in this process, allowing it to carry higher concentrations of oil to the surface. The thickeners would decrease the cost and increase the efficiency of enhanced oil recovery, and could also serve to enable liquid CO2 as a replacement for the water used during recovery, offering significant environmental benefits.

University of Southern California (USC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/01/2013 to 03/19/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
California
Technical Categories: 
University of Southern California (USC) is developing a water-based, metal-free, grid-scale flow battery that will be cheaper and more rapidly produced than other batteries. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container. This allows for cost-effective scalability because adding storage capacity is as simple as expanding the tank. Batteries for grid-scale energy storage must be inexpensive, robust, and sustainable--many of today's mature battery technologies do not meet all these requirements. Using innovative designs and extremely low-cost organic materials, USC's new flow battery has the potential to reduce cost, increase durability, and store increased amounts of excess energy, thereby promoting greater renewable energy deployment.
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 07/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Tennessee
Technical Categories: 
The University of Tennessee (UT) is developing technology to rapidly screen the genetic traits of individual plant cells for their potential to improve biofuel crops. By screening individual cells, researchers can identify which lines are likely to be good cellulosic feedstocks without waiting for the plants to grow to maturity. UT's technology will allow high throughput screening of engineered plant cells to identify those with traits that significantly reduce the time and resources required to maximize biofuel production from switchgrass.
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/28/2013 to 09/26/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Texas
Technical Categories: 

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is developing low-cost coatings that control how light enters buildings through windows. By individually blocking infrared and visible components of sunlight, UT Austin's design would allow building occupants to better control the amount of heat and the brightness of light that enters the structure, saving heating, cooling, and lighting costs. These coatings can be applied to windows using inexpensive techniques similar to spray-painting a car to keep the cost per window low. Windows incorporating these coatings and a simple control system have the potential to dramatically enhance energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption throughout the commercial and residential building sectors, while making building occupants more comfortable.

University of Washington (UW)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/01/2013 to 06/30/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
The University of Washington (UW) is developing technologies for microbes to convert methane found in natural gas into liquid diesel fuel. Specifically the project seeks to significantly increase the amount of lipids produced by the microbe, and to develop novel catalytic technology to directly convert these lipids to liquid fuel. These engineered microbes could enable small-scale methane-to-liquid conversion at lower cost than conventional methods. Small-scale, microbe-based conversion would leverage abundant, domestic natural gas resources and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/12/2013 to 05/31/2014
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Wisconsin
Technical Categories: 
The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell are developing a low-cost metal catalyst to produce fuel precursors using abundant and renewable solar energy, water, and waste CO2 inputs. When placed in sunlight, the catalyst's nanostructured surface enables the formation of hydrocarbons from CO2 and water by a plasmonic catalytic effect. These hydrocarbons can be refined and blended to produce a fuel compatible with typical cars and trucks. Wisconsin is proving the technology in a small reactor before scaling up conceptual designs that could be implemented in a large solar refinery. The ability to convert CO2 waste into a viable fuel would decrease the transportation sector's carbon footprint and provide an alternative domestic source of fuel.
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/06/2013 to 06/05/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Maryland
Technical Categories: 
Vorbeck Materials is developing a low-cost, fast-charging storage battery for hybrid vehicles. The battery cells are based on lithium-sulfur (Li-S) chemistries, which have a greater energy density compared to today's Li-Ion batteries. Vorbeck's approach involves developing a Li-S battery with radically different design for both cathode and anode. The technology has the potential to capture more energy, increasing the efficiency of hybrid vehicles by up to 20% while reducing cost and greenhouse gas emissions.
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/24/2013 to 12/31/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
Yale University is developing a system to generate electricity using low-temperature waste heat from power plants, industrial facilities, and geothermal wells. Low-temperature waste heat is a vast, mostly untapped potential energy source. Yale's closed loop system begins with waste heat as an input. This waste heat will separate an input salt water stream into two output streams, one with high salt concentration and one with low salt concentration. In the next stage, the high and low concentration salt streams will be recombined. Mixing these streams releases energy which can then be captured. The mixed saltwater stream is then sent back to the waste heat source, allowing the process to begin again. Yale's system for generating electricity from low-temperature waste heat could considerably increase the efficiency of power generation systems.