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ARPA-E Projects

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/09/2019 to 10/08/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 
Advanced reactors, including Moltex's stable salt reactor design, may be able to forgo large, expensive containment structures common in the current fleet of nuclear plants. Molten salt fuel chemically binds dangerous radionuclides, limiting the potential for radioactive gas release. The Moltex team will apply modeling and simulation to demonstrate the absence of radionuclide release for their reactor concept in accident scenarios, and the associated feasibility of using a new class of containment structures that are faster to install onsite and with higher composite strength. This new composite structural technology standardizes and expedites plant construction elements. It removes complex elements such as seismic dampers, high-performance cement mixing, and custom rebar configurations, which make nuclear construction time-consuming, labor intensive, and logistically challenging to deliver. In addition, this new technology presents an opportunity to accelerate construction for advanced reactors faster than solar, wind or combined-cycle power plants, significantly reducing the capital cost of next generation nuclear power.
University of Delaware (UD)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/01/2017 to 03/31/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 

The University of Delaware (UD) will develop a direct ammonia fuel cell operating near 100°C that will efficiently convert ammonia to electricity for electric vehicles and other applications. The team will develop new materials, including low-cost, high-performance hydroxide exchange membranes (HEMs) that can maintain stability near 100°C and novel ammonia oxidation catalysts. Proton exchange membranes are traditionally used in fuel cell applications, but HEMs have a number of advantages when ammonia is used as the direct fuel source including reduced side-reactions, prevention of ammonia crossover, and enabling of the use of lower cost catalysts. Finally, the team will target new developments in the full membrane electrode assembly structure and metal hardware fuel cell stack design, optimizing the system's operating conditions for effective water management and minimized fuel crossover. The goal is an ammonia-fed, cost-competitive fuel cell generating high power density, with rapid start-up enabled by the low operating temperature.

Program: 
Project Term: 
12/19/2018 to 12/18/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 
University of Delaware (UD)
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/13/2014 to 12/31/2019
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 
The University of Delaware (UD) is engineering new metabolic pathways to convert methane into liquid fuel. UD's technology targets high-efficiency activation of methane to methanol without the consumption of additional energy, followed by conversion to butanol. The two-stage technology is envisioned to recapture carbon dioxide --with no carbon dioxide emissions. The team will use metabolic engineering and synthetic biology techniques to enable methanol utilization in organisms that are not natively about to do so. This modification will allow the new organism to grow on methanol, and utilize the available energy to produce butanol. Butanol is a high-energy fuel, with chemical and physical properties that are compatible with the current gasoline-based technologies for transportation.
University of Delaware (UD)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/15/2012 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 

The University of Delaware (UD) is developing a new fuel cell membrane for vehicles that relies on cheaper and more abundant materials than those used in current fuel cells. Conventional fuel cells are very acidic, so they require acid-resistant metals like platinum to generate electricity. UD is developing an alkaline fuel cell membrane that can operate in a non-acidic environment where cheaper materials like nickel and silver, instead of platinum, can be used. In addition to enabling the use of cheaper metals, UD's membrane is 500 times less expensive than other polymer membranes used in conventional fuel cells.

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 Delaware (UD)
Program: 
Project Term: 
02/15/2010 to 09/30/2013
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 

The University of Delaware (UD) is developing permanent magnets that contain less rare earth material and produce twice the energy of the strongest rare earth magnets currently available. UD is creating these magnets by mixing existing permanent magnet materials with those that are more abundant, like iron. Both materials are first prepared in the form of nanoparticles via techniques ranging from wet chemistry to ball milling. After that, the nanoparticles must be assembled in a 3-D array and consolidated at low temperatures to form a magnet. With small size particles and good contact between these two materials, the best qualities of each allow for the development of exceptionally strong composite magnets.

University of Delaware (UD)
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2017 to 06/30/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 

The University of Delaware (UD) with their project partners will develop a new class of hydroxide exchange membranes (HEMs) for use in electrochemical devices such as fuel cells. Hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells (HEMFC), in contrast to PEM fuel cells, can use catalysts based on low-cost metals as well as inexpensive membranes and bipolar plates. However, a low-cost HEM that simultaneously possesses adequate ion conductivity, chemical stability, and mechanical robustness does not yet exist. To address this challenge, the team has developed a family of poly(aryl piperidinium) HEMs that are highly hydroxide conductive, chemically stable, and mechanically robust. These polymers will be designed to provide unprecedented chemical stability, while simultaneously enabling high ion-exchange capacities and low swelling ratios, and mechanical robustness. A major part of the team's project will focus on enhancing the mechanical robustness of HEMs under different levels of humidity. The feasibility of roll-to-roll membrane production will be determined as part of the commercialization efforts. The proposed HEMs have the potential to make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles economically competitive with gasoline-powered vehicles. 

University of Delaware (UD)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/29/2017 to 03/28/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Delaware
Technical Categories: 

The University of Delaware (UD) will develop and implement a control technology aimed at maximizing the energy efficiency of a 2016 Audi A3 plug-in hybrid vehicle by more than 20% without reducing the vehicle's drivability, performance, emissions, and safety. The technology will use connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure to co-optimize vehicle dynamic and powertrain controls. It will compute optimal routing for desired destinations while bypassing bottlenecks, accidents, special events, and other conditions that affect traffic flow. The vehicle will optimize acceleration and braking events in coordination with the hybrid powertrain controller such that energy efficiency is maintained, even in areas of congestion. The control technology will consist of a vehicle dynamic (VD) controller, a powertrain (PT) controller, and a supervisory controller. The supervisory controller will (1) oversee the VD and PT controllers, (2) communicate the internal and external data appropriately, (3) compute the optimal routing for any desired destination, (4) determine the regions where electric driving will have a major impact and derive a desired battery state-of-charge trajectory, and (5) create a description of the upcoming road segment from the connected data and communicate it to the VD controller. The VD controller will optimize the acceleration/deceleration and speed profile of the vehicle, and thus torque demand. The PT controller will compute the optimal nominal operation ("setpoints") for the engine, motor, battery, and transmission corresponding to the optimal solution of the VD controller. By considering the vehicle as part of a large system of many vehicles that are wirelessly connected to each other and to infrastructure, the project aims to significantly increase vehicle energy efficiency.