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ARPA-E Projects

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Displaying 1 - 47 of 47
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/10/2014 to 12/01/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

Cadenza Innovation is developing an innovative system to join and package batteries using a wide range of battery chemistries. Today's battery packs require heavy and bulky packaging that limits where they can be positioned within a vehicle. By contrast, Cadenza's design enables flexible placement of battery packs to absorb and manage impact energy in the event of a collision. Cadenza's battery will use a novel configuration that allows for double the energy density through the use of a multifunctional pack design.

Fairfield Crystal Technology
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/05/2014 to 06/22/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
Fairfield Crystal Technology will develop a new technique to accelerate the growth of gallium nitride (GaN) single-crystal boules. A boule is a large crystal that is cut into wafers and polished to provide a surface, or substrate, suitable for fabricating a semiconductor device. Fairfield Crystal Technology's unique boule-growth technique will rapidly produce superior-quality GaN crystal boules--overcoming the quality and growth-rate barriers typically associated with conventional growth techniques, including the current state-of-the-art hydride vapor phase epitaxy technique, and helping to significantly reduce manufacturing costs.
Program: 
Project Term: 
08/15/2018 to 08/14/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
FuelCell Energy will develop an adaptive, pressurized solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) for use in hybrid power systems. Hybridized power generation systems, combining energy efficient SOFCs with a microturbine or internal combustion (IC) engine, offer a path to high efficiency distributed generation from abundant natural gas. Proof-of-concept systems have shown the potential of this hybrid approach, but component optimization is necessary to increase system efficiencies and reduce costs. Existing SOFC stacks are relatively expensive components, and improving their efficiency and robustness would enhance the overall commercial viability of these systems. This team's approach is to focus directly on improving SOFCs with hybrid integration as their end goal. Their adaptive cells will withstand the necessary pressure fluctuations, and the compact stack design aims to make the best use of heat transfer while minimizing leakage losses and maintaining high performance. The team will take a modular approach, building 2-5kW stacks that can be grouped together in a pressurized container. These modules can be added or removed as needed to suit the scale of the hybrid system, enabling a range of power applications. The baseline cell technology will also be modified through advanced materials that extend the useful life of stack and mitigate the harmful effects of contaminants on fuel cell performance. If successful, these adaptive, efficient, robust SOFCs could provide a path to greater than 70% efficiency when integrated into a hybrid system.
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/22/2017 to 11/21/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
FuelCell Energy will develop an advanced solid oxide fuel cell system capable of generating ammonia from nitrogen and water, and renewable electricity. The unique design will also allow the system to operate in reverse, by converting ammonia and oxygen from air into electricity. A key innovation in this project is the integration of proton-conducting ceramic membranes with new electride catalyst supports to enable an increase in the rate of ammonia production. Combining their catalyst with a calcium-aluminate electride support increases the rate of ammonia formation by reducing coverage of the catalyst surface by hydrogen and allowing the nitrogen to use all of the catalyst area for reactions. The modular nature of this system allows for its deployment closer to the point of use at agricultural and industrial sites, working to both produce ammonia for immediate or delayed use and to use the ammonia to generate electricity after it has been transported to population centers.
Program: 
Project Term: 
10/01/2014 to 09/30/2017
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
FuelCell Energy will develop an intermediate-temperature fuel cell that will directly convert methane to methanol and other liquid fuels using advanced metal catalysts. Existing fuel cell technologies typically convert chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity during a chemical reaction with oxygen or some other agent. FuelCell Energy's cell would create liquid fuel from natural gas. Their advanced catalysts are optimized to improve the yield and selectivity of methane-to-methanol reactions; this efficiency provides the ability to run a fuel cell on methane instead of hydrogen. In addition, FuelCell Energy will utilize a new reactive spray deposition technique that can be employed to manufacture their fuel cell in a continuous process. The combination of these advanced catalysts and advanced manufacturing techniques will reduce overall system-level costs.
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/24/2012 to 05/31/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing new, low-cost insulation for high-voltage direct current (HVDC) electricity transmission cables. The current material used to insulate HVDC transmission cables is very expensive and can account for as much as 1/3 of the total cost of a high-voltage transmission system. GE is embedding nanomaterials into specialty rubber to create its insulation. Not only are these materials less expensive than those used in conventional HVDC insulation, but also they will help suppress excess charge accumulation. The excess charge left behind on a cable poses a major challenge for high-voltage insulation--if it is not kept to a low level, it could ultimately lead the insulation to fail. GE's low-cost insulation is compatible with existing U.S. cable manufacturing processes, further enhancing its cost effectiveness.
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
08/02/2019 to 08/01/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

GE Research will develop a medium voltage direct current (MVDC) circuit breaker using gas discharge tubes (GDTs) with exceptionally fast response time. GDTs switch using no mechanical motion by transitioning the internal gas between its ordinary insulating state and a highly conductive plasma state. The team will develop a new cathode and control grid to reduce power loss during normal operation and meet program performance and efficiency targets. A fast MVDC breaker is an important component in uprating existing AC distribution corridors in congested urban areas to MVDC, and connecting distributed renewable energy sources to a growing number of high-power applications.

General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/23/2012 to 01/22/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing electricity transmission hardware that could connect distributed renewable energy sources, like wind farms, directly to the grid--eliminating the need to feed the energy generated through intermediate power conversion stations before they enter the grid. GE is using the advanced semiconductor material silicon carbide (SiC) to conduct electricity through its transmission hardware because SiC can operate at higher voltage levels than semiconductors made out of other materials. This high-voltage capability is important because electricity must be converted to high-voltage levels before it can be sent along the grid's network of transmission lines. Power companies do this because less electricity is lost along the lines when the voltage is high.
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
06/10/2016 to 12/09/2019
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Global Research along with its partners will develop a novel distributed flexibility resource (DFR) technology that aggregates responsive flexible loads and DERs to provide synthetic reserve services to the grid while maintaining customer quality-of-service. A key innovation of the project is to develop a forecast tool that will use short-term and real-time weather forecasts along with other data to estimate the reserve potential of aggregate loads and DERs. An optimization framework that will enable aggregation of large numbers of flexible loads and DERs and determine the optimal schedule to bid into the wholesale market will be designed. A scalable control and communication architecture will enable coordination and control of the resources in real-time based on a novel two-tier hierarchical optimal control algorithm.
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
07/22/2019 to 01/21/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/10/2016 to 11/09/2019
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

The team led by General Electric (GE) Global Research will develop a new high-voltage, solid-state Silicon Carbide (SiC) Field-Effect Transistor (FET) charge-balanced device, also known as a "Superjunction." These devices have become the industry norm in high-voltage Silicon switching devices, because they allow for more efficient switching at higher voltages and frequencies. The team proposes to demonstrate charge balanced SiC devices for the first time. Their approach will offer scaling up to 15kV while reducing losses for power conversion applications by 10x when compared with existing silicon bipolar devices and competing SiC approaches. This will enable highly efficient, medium-voltage, multi-megawatt power conversion for conventional and renewable energy applications. The technology could dramatically reduce energy consumption and emissions for applications such as solar, wind, mining, oil and gas development, and medical devices. If these efficient devices were widely adopted the technology could save enough energy to power 5.9 million homes annually. It can also have a significant impact on medium voltage drives for high-speed motors and transportation applications, including hybrid and electric vehicles. In rail applications, the higher voltage and higher frequencies afforded by SiC devices could reduce the total energy consumption by as much as 30%.

General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2011 to 07/17/2012
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
Magnetic components are typically the largest components in a power converter. To date, however, researchers haven't found an effective way to reduce their size without negatively impacting their performance. And, reducing the size of the converter's other components isn't usually an option because shrinking them can also diminish the effectiveness of the magnetic components. General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing smaller magnetic components for power converters that maintain high performance levels. The company is building smaller components with magnetic films. These films are created using the condensation of a vaporized form of the magnetic material. It's a purely physical process that involves no chemical reactions, so the film composition is uniform. This process makes it possible to create a millimeter-thick film deposition over a wide surface area fairly quickly, which would save on manufacturing costs. In fact, GE can produce 1-10 millimeter-thick films in hours. The magnetic components that GE is developing for this project could be used in a variety of applications, including solar inverters, electric vehicles, and lighting.
Program: 
Project Term: 
08/14/2019 to 08/13/2023
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
GE Global Research will develop a device architecture for the world's first high-voltage silicon carbide (SiC) super junction (SJ) field-effect transistors. These devices will provide highly efficient power conversion (such as from direct to alternating current) in medium voltage applications, including renewables like solar and wind power, as well as transportation. The transistors will scale to high voltage while offering up to 10 times lower losses compared to commercial silicon-based transistors available today.
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) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/01/2015 to 03/02/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Global Research will design, manufacture, and test an absorption heat pump that can be used for supplemental dry cooling at thermoelectric power plants. The team's project features a novel, absorbent-enabled regenerator that doubles the coefficient of performance of conventional absorption heat pumps. The new absorbents demonstrate greater hygroscopic potential, or the ability to prevent evaporation. To remove heat and cool condenser water, these absorbents take in water vapor (refrigerant) and release the water as liquid during desorption without vaporization or boiling. GE's technology will use waste heat from the power plant's flue gas to drive the cooling system, eliminating the need for an additional power source. GE estimates the system will cost half that of conventional absorption heat pumps.
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 12/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing low-cost, thin-film sensors that enable real-time mapping of temperature and surface pressure for each cell within a battery pack, which could help predict how and when batteries begin to fail. The thermal sensors within today's best battery packs are thick, expensive, and incapable of precisely assessing important factors like temperature and pressure within their cells. In comparison to today's best systems, GE's design would provide temperature and pressure measurements using smaller, more affordable sensors than those used in today's measurement systems. Ultimately, GE's sensors could dramatically improve the thermal mapping and pressure measurement capabilities of battery management systems, allowing for better prediction of potential battery failures.

General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 04/20/2014
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing a low-cost, at-home natural gas refueling system that reduces fueling time and eliminates compression stages. Traditional compressor-based natural gas refueling systems require removal of water from natural gas through complicated desiccant cycles to avoid damage. GE's design uses a chiller to cool the gas to a temperature below -50°C, which would separate water and other contaminants from the natural gas. This design has very few moving parts, will operate quietly, and will be virtually maintenance-free. This simplified, compressor-free design could allow fast refueling at 10% of the cost of today's systems.

General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/08/2015 to 08/07/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

General Electric (GE) Global Research will partner with Virginia Tech to design, fabricate, and test a novel, hollow core, microstructured optical fiber for long path-length transmission of infrared radiation at methane absorption wavelengths. GE will drill micrometer-sized side-holes to allow gases to penetrate into the hollow core. The team will use a combination of techniques to quantify and localize the methane in the hollow core. GE's plans to develop fibers that can be designed to fit any natural gas system, providing flexibility to adapt to the needs of a monitoring program in a wide variety of places along the natural gas value chain, including transmission and gathering pipelines. GE anticipates that the fiber detector will be cost competitive with other highly selective methane detectors, and therefore offer innovative capabilities for more cost effective methane monitoring.

General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
10/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Global Research is using nanomaterials technology to develop advanced magnets that contain fewer rare earth materials than their predecessors. Nanomaterials technology involves manipulating matter at the atomic or molecular scale, which can represent a stumbling block for magnets because it is difficult to create a finely grained magnet at that scale. GE is developing bulk magnets with finely tuned structures using iron-based mixtures that contain 80% less rare earth materials than traditional magnets, which will reduce their overall cost. These magnets will enable further commercialization of HEVs, EVs, and wind turbine generators while enhancing U.S. competitiveness in industries that heavily utilize these alternatives to rare earth minerals.
General Electric (GE) Global Research
Program: 
Project Term: 
10/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

General Electric (GE) Global Research and the University of Pittsburgh are developing a unique CO2 capture process in which a liquid absorbent changes into a solid upon contact with CO2. Once in solid form, the material can be separated and the CO2 can be released for storage by heating. Upon heating, the absorbent returns to its liquid form, where it can be reused to capture more CO2. The approach is more efficient than other solvent-based processes because it avoids the heating of extraneous solvents such as water. This ultimately leads to a lower cost of CO2 capture and will lower the additional cost to produce electricity for coal-fired power plants that retrofit their facilities to include this technology.

Program: 
Project Term: 
08/01/2014 to 12/31/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

GE is designing and testing components of a turbine system driven by high-temperature, high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) to develop a more durable and efficient energy conversion system. Current solar energy system components break down at high temperatures, shortening the system's cycle life. GE's energy storage system stores heat from the sun in molten salt at moderate temperature and uses surplus electricity from the grid to create a phase change heat sink, which helps manage the temperature of the system. Initially, the CO2 remains at a low temperature and low pressure to enable more efficient energy storage. Then, the temperature and pressure of the CO2 is increased and expanded through a turbine to generate dispatchable electricity. The dramatic change in temperature and pressure is enabled by an innovative system design that prevents thermal losses across the turbine and increases its cycle life. This grid-scale energy storage system could be coupled to a hybrid solar converter to deliver solar electricity on demand.

General Electric (GE) Power & Water
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/28/2014 to 04/02/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
General Electric (GE) Power & Water is developing an innovative, high-energy chemistry for a water-based flow battery. A flow battery is an easily rechargeable system that stores its electrode--the material that provides energy--as liquid in external tanks. Flow batteries have typically been used in grid-scale storage applications, but their flexible design architecture could enable their use in vehicles. To create a flow battery suitable for EVs, GE will test new chemistries with improved energy storage capabilities and built a working prototype. GE's water-based flow battery would be inherently safe because no combustible components would be required and any reactive liquids would be contained in separate tanks. GE estimates that its flow battery could reduce costs by up to 75% while offering a driving range of approximately 240 miles.
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.
Proton Energy Systems
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/01/2010 to 03/31/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
Proton Energy Systems is developing an energy storage device that converts water to hydrogen fuel when excess electricity is available, and then uses hydrogen to generate electricity when energy is needed. The system includes an electrolyzer, which generates and separates hydrogen and oxygen for storage, and a fuel cell which converts the hydrogen and oxygen back to electricity. Traditional systems use acidic membranes, and require expensive materials including platinum and titanium for key parts of the system. In contrast, Proton Energy Systems' new technology will use an inexpensive alkaline membrane and will contain only inexpensive metals such as nickel and stainless steel. If successful, Proton Energy Systems' design will have similar performance to today's regenerative fuel cell systems at a fraction of the cost, and can be used to store electricity on the electric grid.
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/06/2016 to 02/05/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

Proton Energy Systems will develop a hydrogen-iron flow battery that can generate hydrogen for use and energy storage on the electric grid. This dual-purpose device can be recharged using renewable grid electricity and either store the hydrogen or run in reverse, as a flow cell battery, when electricity is needed. The team will develop low-cost catalysts to use on both electrodes and leverage their expertise in system engineering to keep the costs low. By using two highly reversible single electron reactions, the round trip efficiency could exceed 80%. By operating at much higher efficiencies than traditional electrolyzers, this technology could offer multiple value streams thereby enabling widespread adoption of distributed storage and hydrogen fueling.

Program: 
Project Term: 
06/09/2017 to 09/30/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
Skyre will develop a system to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from industrial or chemical processes, electrochemically convert it into methanol, and further transform the methanol into dimethyl ether (DME). DME can be stored and transported using existing infrastructure and can be converted into electricity to provide power for transportation and distributed energy generation. To convert CO2 to methanol, new catalysts that improve efficiency and lower costs will be developed that are highly selective and durable, building on the team's prior work with transition-metal-supported catalysts. The CO2 reduction technology is designed to be modular and scalable. The system does not require a continuous supply of power and can, therefore, use intermittent renewable energy sources. These technologies offer a path to better utilize domestic resources, providing long-term energy storage from wind and solar, and long-distance energy delivery from remote locations.
Program: 
Project Term: 
06/14/2019 to 06/13/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

Supercool Metals, LLC will explore manufacturing processes for high-strength, light-weight structural metal parts to enable more energy-efficient transportation. Lightweighting is a necessity for the automotive and aerospace industries, and increasingly important for the transition to hybrid and fully electric vehicles. Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), which will be investigated in this project, are complex, light-weight alloys with significantly higher mechanical properties (e.g., strength, toughness, corrosion resistance) than conventional alloys. Supercool Metals will explore possibilities for commercial thermoplastic forming-based processes focused on blow molding lightweight BMGs. This approach will improve energy efficiency during manufacturing and in service, as BMGs enable lightweighting opportunities and advanced design concepts.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/09/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing a flow battery with a unique design that provides significantly more power than today's flow battery systems. A flow battery is a cross between a traditional battery and a fuel cell. Flow batteries store their energy in external tanks instead of inside the cell itself. Flow batteries have traditionally been expensive because the battery cell stack, where the chemical reaction takes place, is costly. In this project, UTRC is developing a new stack design that achieves 10 times higher power than today's flow batteries. This high power output means the size of the cell stack can be smaller, reducing the amount of expensive materials that are needed. UTRC's flow battery will reduce the cost of storing electricity for the electric grid, making widespread use feasible.
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/23/2019 to 10/22/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

The United Technologies Research Center team will develop an energy storage system based on a new flow battery chemistry using inexpensive and readily available sulfur and manganese based active materials. The team will employ innovative strategies to overcome challenges of system control and unwanted crossover of active materials through the membrane. The affordable reactants, paired with the unique requirements for long-duration electricity discharge, present the opportunity for very low cost energy storage.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/04/2012 to 01/03/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing a new climate-control system for EVs that uses a hybrid vapor compression adsorption system with thermal energy storage. The targeted, closed system will use energy during the battery-charging step to recharge the thermal storage, and it will use minimal power to provide cooling or heating to the cabin during a drive cycle. The team will use a unique approach of absorbing a refrigerant on a metal salt, which will create a lightweight, high-energy-density refrigerant. This unique working pair can operate indefinitely as a traditional vapor compression heat pump using electrical energy, if desired. The project will deliver a hot-and-cold battery that provides comfort to the passengers using minimal power, substantially extending the driving range of EVs.
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/14/2019 to 05/13/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
United Technologies Research Center will assess the feasibility of using CMC technologies and immersive systems to reduce business travel and its associated energy and emissions. Currently, every roundtrip trans-Atlantic flight emits enough carbon dioxide to melt 30 square feet of Arctic sea ice. This technology (if successful) will displace air travel. The team's SCOTTIE system will identify the types of travel best suited for replacement by CMC technologies and quantify the minimum CMC system performance needed to satisfy users' communication objectives. The team will then demonstrate the use of currently-available CMC technology in a pilot study.
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/02/2010 to 03/16/2012
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing an efficient air conditioning compressor that will use water as the refrigerant. Most conventional air conditioning systems use hydrofluorocarbons to cool the air, which are highly potent GHGs. Because water is natural and non-toxic, it is an attractive refrigerant. However, low vapor density of water requires higher compression ratios, typically resulting in large and inefficient multi-stage compression. UTRC's design utilizes a novel type of supersonic compression that enables high-compression ratios in a single stage, thus enabling more compact and cost-effective technology than existing designs. UTRC's water-based air conditioner system could reduce the use of synthetic refrigerants while also increasing energy efficiency.
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
12/15/2009 to 01/09/2012
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing a process for capturing the CO2 emitted by coal-fired power plants. Conventional carbon capture methods use high temperatures or chemical solvents to separate CO2 from the exhaust gas, which are energy intensive and expensive processes. UTRC is developing membranes that separate the CO2 out of the exhaust gas using a synthetic version of a naturally occurring enzyme used to manage CO2. This enzyme is used by all air-breathing organisms on Earth to regulate CO2 levels. The enzyme would not survive within the gas exhaust of coal-fired power plants in its natural form, so UTRC is developing a synthetic version designed to withstand these harsh conditions. UTRC's technology does not require heat during processing, which could allow up to a 30% reduction in the cost of carbon capture.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/23/2019 to 03/22/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/01/2017 to 03/31/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) will develop design tools and software for new thermofluidc components that can lead to 50% efficiency improvements in heat exchangers and other related energy systems. Modern heat exchangers and flow headers used in energy systems such as thermal power plants are not optimally designed due to a lack of advanced design tools that can optimize performance given manufacturing and cost limitations. UTRC's design framework will focus on topology exploration and optimization - the mathematical method of optimizing material layouts within a given design space for a given set of loads, conditions, and constraints. The design space will be redefined by emerging advancements in materials such as multi-material composites and custom microstructures. Constraints are imposed by manufacturing limitations and the application of new technologies such as 3D weaving and 3D printing. The requirements of next-generation systems will also be considered, for example, the high temperature and pressure requirements of advanced steam turbines. The design framework will assess the design space, constraints, and requirements using two key innovations. First, topology exploration methods developed for heat exchangers will harness emerging advancements in data sciences to produce new concept designs for the heat exchanger core, headers, and their assemblies. Second, a projection-based topology optimization method will optimize designs for specific manufacturing processes and costs. The new design framework may lead to greater than 50% improvements for heat exchangers by providing new ways to integrate advanced materials and manufacturing techniques.

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.
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/17/2017 to 11/16/2019
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) will develop a redox flow battery system that combines next-generation reactants with an inexpensive and highly selective membrane. This SMART-FBS project addresses the two highest cost components in redox flow battery systems: reactants and membranes. The team plans to develop these two components simultaneously using core materials that will work in tandem. Polymer membranes will be developed that include benzimidazole or pyridine structures; ionic conductivity will come from the membrane's structure that allows acid to be imbibed into the polymer. This approach will allow for the use of a low-cost polymer that is durable, selective, and highly conductive. The new reactants will be large organic molecules based upon an extensive theoretical library of potential reactants that has already been established. Multiple membranes and reactants enable a variety of technology options, which should increase the likelihood of success. The project integrates and leverages benefits from each of the team members including: UTRC's state-of-the-art redox flow battery cell performance; innovations in membranes from the University of South Carolina; TPS polymers and membrane-manufacturing capabilities of Advent Technologies; novel active materials based on Harvard University's large library of organic reactants; and Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory's proficiency in characterizing and modeling transport in ion-exchange membranes. If successful, the team's innovations will enable widespread deployment of redox flow batteries for grid-scale electrical energy storage.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
07/02/2015 to 07/01/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) will develop a proof-of-concept for an innovative new vehicle energy-storage system. The UTRC team is leveraging experience from a previous ARPA-E project focused on grid-scale energy storage, the GRIDS: Breakthrough Flow Battery Cell Stack project, to develop a high-performance redox-air flow cell (RFC) system for EVs. A flow battery is a cross between a traditional battery and a fuel cell. Flow batteries store their energy in external tanks instead of inside the cell itself. If successful, the RFC will: (1) store its energy in a liquid solution at ambient pressure in a conformable plastic tank; (2) be readily packaged inside of an EV given the RFC's high power and energy densities, and (3) be rechargeable either onboard the vehicle like a conventional battery or by rapidly exchanging the discharged solution in the tank with charged solution at a refueling station. A novel recharging method will be employed to dramatically improve the round-trip energy efficiency for cells operating with an air electrode. Technologies like the RFC hold the potential to dramatically decrease the cost of EVs and enable greater adoption of EVs, allowing for increased energy efficiency, decreased petroleum imports, and substantial savings to the average consumer.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
10/01/2012 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing a conformable modular storage tank that could integrate easily into the tight spaces in the undercarriage of natural gas-powered vehicles. Traditional steel and carbon fiber natural gas storage tanks are rigid, bulky, and expensive, which adds to the overall cost of the vehicle and discourages broad use of natural gas vehicles. UTRC is designing modular natural gas storage units that can be assembled to form a wide range of shapes and fit a wide range of undercarriages. UTRC's modular tank could substantially improve upon the conformability level of existing technologies at a cost of approximately $1500, considerably less than today's tanks.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/06/2018 to 04/05/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) and its project team will develop an extremely efficient power converter capable of handling kilowatts of electricity at ultra-high power densities. The team will leverage the superior performance of silicon carbide (SiC) or gallium nitride (GaN) devices to achieve its efficiency and power density goals. In the aerospace industry, electrical power distribution can begin to displace pneumatic power distribution using this technology. Efficient power conversion in aircraft will be needed as hydraulic systems, including landing gear systems, are replaced with electric actuation. Electric engine start, electric air-conditioning and cabin pressurization are also key advances in this area. One of the major objectives of the team is to halve converter loss, facilitating a transition from present liquid cooling thermal management to air cooling only. These improvements can help reduce the weight of airline electrical components, critical for the advancement of more electric aircraft. If successful, the team expects that aerospace is a good first adopter of their technology as the industry can more easily accommodate the costs and adoption of new technology better than other industrial applications.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
10/01/2014 to 03/19/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing an intermediate-temperature fuel cell for residential applications that will combine a building's heating and power systems into one unit. Existing fuel cell technologies usually focus on operating low temperatures for vehicle technologies or at high temperatures for grid-scale applications. By creating a metal-supported proton conducting fuel cell with a natural gas fuel processor, UTRC could lower the operating system temperatures to under 500 °C. The use of metal offers faster start-up times and the possibility of lower manufacturing costs and additional automation options, while the proton conducting electrolyte offers the potential for higher ionic conductivity at lower temperatures than regular oxygen conducting solid oxide electrolyte materials. An intermediate temperature electrolyte will be used to achieve a lower operating temperature, while a redesigned cell architecture will increase the efficiency and lower the cost of UTRC's overall system.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/02/2010 to 08/31/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing an air conditioning system that is optimized for use in warm and humid climates. UTRC's air conditioning system integrates a liquid drying agent or desiccant and a traditional vapor compression system found in 90% of air conditioners. The drying agent reduces the humidity in the air before it is cooled, using less energy. The technology uses a membrane as a barrier between the air and the liquid salt stream allowing only water vapor to pass through and not the salt molecules. This solves an inherent problem with traditional liquid desiccant systems--carryover of the liquid drying agent into the conditioned air stream--which eliminates corrosion and health issues.
United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/06/2018 to 04/05/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) will develop a silicon carbide-based, single stage, 15 kW direct AC-to-AC (fixed frequency AC to variable frequency AC) power converter that avoids the need for an intermediate conversion to DC or energy storage circuit elements. The team seeks to build a device that weighs about half as much as available converters while demonstrating scalability for a broad power range (from kW to tens of MW) and achieving conversion efficiencies greater than 99%. If successful, the UTRC team will produce advances that help greatly reduce energy losses in a range of industrial applications. Industrial drives for electric motors alone account for approximately 40% of total U.S. electricity demand and incorporation of highly efficient variable-frequency drives, based on this technology, can reduce energy consumption by 10-30%. For aircraft power systems, electrical actuators built using this technology can enable longer, thinner, and lighter wings that result in 50% reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions when compared to current commercial aircraft. The project can also open new possibilities for electric locomotives and ship propulsion, thanks to the reduced weight and complexity of the converter.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Program: 
Project Term: 
05/11/2018 to 11/10/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) will develop a low-cost occupancy solution that combines radar sensing technology with an infrared focal plane array (IR-FPA) to determine occupancy in buildings. The solution will also be deployed as a radar-only residential sensor for true human presence sensing. The radar will detect respiration or heartbeat of non-moving occupants by measuring the radar signal reflections caused by chest movement. The system's machine learning algorithms will allow it to distinguish humans from pets in residential settings and to reduce under-counting errors in commercial deployments. The radar will enable through-wall presence sensing in multiple rooms by a single sensor, reducing the sensor hardware and installation cost on a per square foot basis. The solution aims to address the high cost and failure rate of current presence sensors that are preventing large-scale adoption of occupancy based control of HVAC, lighting, and plug loads.

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.
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/19/2017 to 03/18/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

Yale University will conduct a comprehensive investigation to overcome the barriers in selective area doping of gallium nitride (GaN) through an epitaxial regrowth process for high-performance, reliable GaN vertical transistors. Transistors based on GaN have emerged as promising candidates for future high efficiency, high power applications, but they have been plagued by poor electrical performance attributed to the existing selective doping processes. The team will demonstrate vertical GaN diodes through a selective area regrowth processes with performance similar to those made using current in situ techniques, which are non-selective and therefore less flexible. Key innovations in this project will be to use three-dimensional nanoscale characterizations to understand the regrowth interface formation at the nano scale, and to apply atomic-level manipulation to control impurities, and suppress extrinsic and intrinsic defects at the selective area regrowth interface. This will enable the electronic characteristics of the selective area growth p-n junction active region to be customized allowing for high performance GaN vertical transistors. The successful production of reliable and high-performance GaN vertical transistors on bulk substrates will be transformative to many mid-voltage applications including photovoltaic inverters, motor control, and hybrid automotive.

Program: 
Project Term: 
07/15/2014 to 12/31/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Connecticut
Technical Categories: 

Yale University is developing a dual-junction solar cell that can operate efficiently at temperatures above 400 °C, unlike today's solar cells, which lose efficiency rapidly above 100°C and are likely to fail at high temperatures over time. Yale's specialized dual-junction design will allow the cell to extract significantly more energy from the sun at high temperature than today's cells, enabling the next generation of hybrid solar converters to deliver much higher quantities of electricity and highly useful dispatchable heat. Heat rejected from the cells at high temperature can be stored and used to generate electricity with a heat engine much more effectively than cells producing heat at lower temperatures. Therefore, electricity can be produced at higher overall efficiency for use even when the sun is not shining.