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ARPA-E Projects

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 29
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/09/2019 to 09/08/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
AltaRock Energy will overcome technical limitations to deep geothermal drilling by replacing mechanical methods with a Millimeter Wave (MMW) directed energy technology to melt and vaporize rocks for removal. This approach could increase drilling speed by 10 times or more, reducing costs while reaching higher temperatures and greater depths than those achievable with the best current and proposed mechanical technologies. Project R&D will include benchtop testing as well as larger scale demonstrations of directed MMW drilling at unprecedented borehole lengths and power levels. A detailed modeling and simulations campaign carried out with the experimental work will provide the basis for the design of larger, commercial-scale systems.
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2014 to 09/30/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
The team from Arzeda will use computational enzyme design tools and their knowledge of biological engineering and chemistry to create new synthetic enzymes to activate methane. Organisms that are capable of using methane as an energy and carbon source are typically difficult to engineer. To address this challenge, Arzeda will develop technologies essential to creating modular enzymes that can be used in other organisms. The team will combine computation enzyme design with experimental methods to improve enzyme activity and help direct methane more effectively into metabolism for fuel production. Arzeda's new enzymes could transform the way methane is activated, and would be more efficient than current chemical and biological approaches.
Program: 
Project Term: 
07/01/2019 to 06/30/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
CTFusion is developing an early-stage approach to a commercially viable fusion power plant. The company will pursue higher performance in a compact fusion configuration called a spheromak through targeted upgrades of an existing plasma system. The project aims to demonstrate the required physical parameters, engineering performance, and scalability of the team's fusion concept toward an eventual electricity-producing, economical fusion power plant. CTFusion plans to 1) provide an integrated demonstration of its novel plasma sustainment method called imposed-dynamo current drive (IDCD) and 2) confirm the scalability of spheromaks sustained with IDCD toward eventual power plant conditions. Fusion energy has the potential to be a game-changing energy source that is plentiful, safe, and environmentally friendly, producing no harmful emissions. It could work together with renewable energy technologies to provide an economic, clean, and secure energy solution.
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/30/2015 to 09/29/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Helion Energy's team will develop a prototype device that will explore a potential low-cost path to fusion for a less expensive, simplified reactor design. In contrast to conventional designs, this prototype will be smaller than a semi-trailer - reducing cost and complexity. The smaller size is achieved by using new techniques to achieve the high temperatures and densities required for fusion. The research team will produce these conditions using field-reversed configuration (FRC) plasmas, a special form of plasma that may offer significant advantages for fusion research. FRC plasmas are movable - they can be produced at one location and then moved into the fusion chamber, which prevents the hot fusion products from damaging the FRC formation hardware. FRC plasmas also have an embedded magnetic field which helps them retain heat. Helion's reactor employs a pulsed heating technique that uses a series of magnetic coils to compress the plasma fuel to very high temperatures and densities. The reactor will also capture and reuse the magnetic energy used to heat and confine the plasma, further increasing efficiency. The smaller size and reduced complexity of the reactor's design will decrease research and development costs and speed up research progress in developing the efficiencies required for fusion power production.
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.

Program: 
Project Term: 
06/06/2017 to 01/31/2019
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

Molecule Works will develop an electrochemical membrane reactor to produce ammonia from air, water, and renewable electricity. The team proposes a solid-state, thin-film alkaline electrochemical cell that has the potential to enhance ammonia synthesis productivity and energy efficiency, while lowering the cell material and fabrication costs. Current systems for ammonia production all have several challenges. Some use acidic membranes that can react with ammonia, resulting in lower conductivity and reduced membrane life. Others that operate at low temperatures (<100°C) may have low rates of reactions, while those that operate at high temperatures (>500°C) have long-heating processes that make them less practical for intermittent operation using renewable energy. Alkaline electrolytes have a number of advantages over traditional cells. Notably, alkaline electrolytes allow a larger area of the catalyst for nitrogen activation, increasing the rate of ammonia production. The team's system operates at a much lower temperature and pressure than the traditional ammonia production process. The modular nature of the system will also allow it to be deployed near the point of use.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2012 to 09/30/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is working to reduce the cost of wind turbines and EVs by developing a manganese-based nano-composite magnet that could serve as an inexpensive alternative to rare-earth-based magnets. The manganese composite, made from low-cost and abundant materials, could exceed the performance of today's most powerful commercial magnets at temperature higher than 200°C. Members of PNNL's research team will leverage comprehensive computer high-performance supercomputer modeling and materials testing to meet this objective. Manganese-based magnets could withstand higher temperatures than their rare earth predecessors and potentially reduce the need for any expensive, bulky engine cooling systems for the motor and generator. This would further contribute to cost savings for both EVs and wind turbines.

Program: 
Project Term: 
08/16/2019 to 08/18/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will construct an intelligent, real-time emergency control system to help safeguard the U.S. electric grid by providing effective and fast control actions to system operators in response to large contingencies or extreme events. PNNL's scalable platform will utilize advanced machine learning techniques (deep-meta-reinforcement learning) as well as high-performance computing to automatically provide effective emergency control strategies seconds after disturbances or attacks. Platform development will focus on the determination, timing, coordination, and automation of control actions, including adaptation under uncertainty. The technology will diminish the need for costly preventive security measures as well as reduce action time sixtyfold and system recovery time by at least 10%, enabling more efficient and resilient grid operation.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
12/05/2011 to 04/30/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is developing a thermal energy storage system based on a Reversible Metal Hydride Thermochemical (RMHT) system, which uses metal hydride as a heat storage material. Heat storage materials are critical to the energy storage process. In solar thermal storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials during the day and released at night--when the sun is not out--to drive a turbine and produce electricity. In nuclear storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials at night and released to produce electricity during daytime peak-demand hours. PNNL's metal hydride material can reversibly store heat as hydrogen cycles in and out of the material. In a RHMT system, metal hydrides remain stable in high temperatures (600- 800°C). A high-temperature tank in PNNL's storage system releases heat as hydrogen is absorbed, and a low-temperature tank stores the heat until it is needed. The low-cost material and simplicity of PNNL's thermal energy storage system is expected to keep costs down. The system has the potential to significantly increase energy density.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
11/21/2011 to 01/04/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is developing a new class of advanced nanomaterial called an electrical metal organic framework (EMOF) for EV heating and cooling systems. The EMOF would function similar to a conventional heat pump, which circulates heat or cold to the cabin as needed. However, by directly controlling the EMOF's properties with electricity, the PNNL design is expected to use much less energy than traditional heating and cooling systems. The EMOF-based heat pumps would be light, compact, efficient, and run using virtually no moving parts.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
07/01/2016 to 06/30/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has partnered with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to build a power system model repository, which will maintain and develop open-access power grid models and data sets. The DR POWER approach will review, annotate, and verify submitted datasets while establishing a repository and a web portal to distribute open-access models and scenarios. Through the portal, users can explore the curated data, create suitable datasets (which may include time variation), review and critique models, and download datasets in a specified format. Key features include the ability to collaboratively build, refine, and review a range of large-scale realistic power system models. For researchers, this represents a significant improvement over the current open availability of only small-scale, static models that do not properly represent the challenging environments encountered by present and future power grids. The repository and the web portal will be hosted in PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center with access to petabytes of computing storage and load-balancing across multiple computing resources.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
07/19/2016 to 01/18/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

The team led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will develop a High-Performance Power-Grid Optimization (HIPPO) technology to reduce grid resource scheduling times to within a fraction of current speeds, which can lead to more flexible and reliable real-time operation. The team will leverage advances in optimization algorithms and deploy high-performance computing technologies to significantly improve the performance of grid scheduling. HIPPO will provide inter-algorithm parallelization and allow algorithms to share information during their solution process, with the objective of reducing computing time by efficiently using computational power. New algorithms will leverage knowledge of the underlying system, operational experience, and past solutions to improve performance and avoid previously encountered mistakes.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/07/2016 to 01/18/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), along with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, PJM, Avista, and CAISO, will develop a sustainable data evolution technology (SDET) to create open-access transmission and distribution power grid datasets as well as data creation tools that the grid community can use to create new datasets based on user requirements and changing grid complexity. The SDET approach will derive features and metrics from many private datasets provided by PNNL's industry partners. For transmission systems, PNNL will develop advanced, graph-theory based techniques and statistical approaches to reproduce the derived features and metrics in synthetic power systems models. For distribution systems, the team will use anonymization and obfuscation techniques and apply them to datasets from utility partners.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/15/2015 to 09/14/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), along with its partners, will use aerial and ground-based platforms to identify traits required for greater production yield and resistance to drought and salinity stresses to accelerate sorghum breeding for biofuel production. The project will combine plant analysis in both outdoor field and indoor greenhouse environments as each provides unique advantages; and will use robotics and imaging platforms for increased speed and accuracy of data collection. Traditionally aboveground biomass is measured by harvesting, drying, and weighing the plant material. As an alternative approach, the team will develop non-destructive high-throughput methods to measure biomass over time. Drought tolerance will be measured by mapping water stress and using sensors to compare the difference between the canopy temperature and air temperature. The overall goal of the project is to understand the traits related to increasing biomass yield and drought/salinity stress, and to predict those traits in the early stages of plant development, before those traits become apparent using current methods.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/06/2016 to 09/05/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will develop and test a hierarchical control framework for coordinating the flexibility of a full range of DERs, including flexible building loads, to supply reserves to the electric power grid. The hierarchical control framework consists of incentive-based control strategies across multiple time-scales. The system will use a slower incentive-based approach to acquire flexible assets that provide services, combined with faster device-level controls that use minimal communication to provide desired responses to the grid. Each DER that chooses to participate will communicate its ability to provide flexibility and the time scale over which it can provide the service. A distribution reliability coordinator will act as an interface between the DERs and the bulk system, coordinating the resources in an economic and reliable manner. The team will characterize various DER types to quantify the maximum flexibility that can be extracted from a collection of DERs in aggregate in order to provide service-level guarantees to the bulk energy market operator. The performance of the resulting hierarchical control system will be tested at scale in a co-simulation environment spanning transmission, distribution, ancillary markets, and communication systems.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2014 to 06/30/2016
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is developing a radically new process to produce magnesium from seawater. Today's methods are energy intensive and expensive because the magnesium concentration in seawater is so low that significant energy is needed to evaporate off water and precipitate magnesium chloride salt. Further, conventional technologies involve heating the salt to 900°C and then using electric current to break the chemical bond between magnesium and chlorine to produce the metal. PNNL's new process replaces brine spray drying with a low-temperature, low-energy dehydration process. That step is combined with a new catalyst-assisted process to generate an organometallic reactant directly from magnesium chloride. The organometallic is decomposed to magnesium metal via a proprietary process at temperatures less than 300°C, thus eliminating electrolysis of magnesium chloride salt. The overall process could be significantly less expensive and more efficient than any conventional magnesium extraction method available today and uses seawater as an abundant, free resource.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
04/16/2018 to 07/15/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will lead a MARINER Category 1 project to design, build, and field-test a Nautical Off-shore Macroalgal Autonomous Device (NOMAD), which is a free-floating, sensor-equipped, carbon-fiber longline (5 km) to which macroalgae can be attached for cultivation. The PNNL concept eliminates the significant costs associated with mooring, or anchoring, farms at a precise, invariable location in the ocean. Rather, PNNL proposes to release the NOMADs from a seeding vessel far offshore the United States West Coast and use harvesting boats to collect the free-floating systems after a six month, 1500 km southbound journey along nutrient-rich ocean currents. The NOMADs will be equipped with buoys and GPS sensors to track their positions as well as accelerometers and underwater light sensors to estimate, in real time, the biomass yield to optimize harvesting time. The project will employ state-of-the-art hydrodynamic modeling to identify offshore locations for release and harvest that result in optimum biomass yields as the NOMAD travels in nutrient-rich currents. Fully automated, high-speed seeding and harvesting machines will be designed and deployed to minimize labor costs. The team will also use polyculture farming where two species of kelp will be grown to improved light utilization and potentially achieve higher biomass yields than a single species could achieve alone.

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.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/15/2018 to 03/14/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will lead a MARINER Category 3 project to develop a set of numerical modeling tools capable of simulating hydrodynamics, mechanical stress, and trajectories of free-floating, unmoored macroalgae production systems. Macroalgae farming systems require significant capital and those investment decisions can be guided by the development of advanced modeling tools to help better understand the nature of macroalgae production. In this project, PNNL will develop modeling tools capable of simulating and predicting macroalgae trajectories for free-floating systems and, supported by biogeochemical modeling processes, macroalgae growth and biomass yields. Importantly, the mechanical stresses on macroalgae from ocean currents and waves will also be simulated. PNNL's set of modeling tools will provide a suite of information essential for the deployment and real-time management of free-floating seaweed production systems in the open ocean. The model will provide new hydrodynamic and nutrient information that will support system design, optimal project siting and risk analysis. Better clarity can also help macroalgae system developers reduce deployment cost, operational risk, and potential impacts on the local marine environment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
10/01/2012 to 09/30/2014
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is developing a low-cost, conformable natural gas tank for light-duty vehicles utilizing the same metal forming techniques used to fabricate high-strength cruise missile fins. Traditional gas tanks are made using a method known as arc welding, where an electric arc is used to melt and combine metals, which can limit their conformability. PNNL's ultra-light design relies on friction stir welding, where metal is softened--like taffy--instead of melted, which allows the metal to retain its original properties and preserves its conformability. The manufacturing process for PNNL's tanks incorporates high-strength internal strut technology that efficiently fits into a vehicle, offering a tank that costs around $1500, a substantial price reduction compared to today's best tanks.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/15/2010 to 07/31/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is designing more efficient adsorption chillers by incorporating significant improvements in materials that adsorb liquids or gases. An adsorption chiller is a type of air conditioner that is powered by heat, solar or waste heat, or combustion of natural gas. Unlike typical chillers, an adsorption chiller has few moving parts and uses almost no electricity to operate. PNNL is designing adsorbent materials at the molecular level that have at least 3 times higher refrigerant capacity and up to 20 times faster kinetics than adsorbents used in current chillers. By using the new adsorbent, PNNL is able to create a chiller that is significantly smaller, has twice the energy efficiency, and lower material and assembly costs compared to conventional adsorption chillers. PNNL received a separate award of up to $2,190,343 from the Department of the Navy to help decrease military fuel use.
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.
University of Washington (UW)
Program: 
Project Term: 
03/01/2012 to 10/14/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
The University of Washington (UW) and the University of Michigan are developing an integrated system to match well-positioned energy storage facilities with precise control technologies so the electric grid can more easily include energy from renewable power sources like wind and solar. Because renewable energy sources provide intermittent power, it is difficult for the grid to efficiently allocate those resources without developing solutions to store their energy for later use. The two universities are working with utilities, regulators, and the private sector to position renewable energy storage facilities in locations that optimize their ability to provide and transmit electricity where and when it is needed most. Expanding the network of transmission lines is prohibitively expensive, so combining well-placed storage facilities with robust control systems to efficiently route their power will save consumers money and enable the widespread use of safe, renewable sources of power.
University of Washington (UW)
Program: 
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 12/31/2018
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

University of Washington (UW) is developing a predictive battery management system that uses innovative modeling software to manage how batteries are charged and discharged, helping to optimize battery use. A significant problem with today's battery packs is their lack of internal monitoring capabilities, which interferes with our ability to identify and manage performance issues as they arise. UW's system would predict the physical states internal to batteries quickly and accurately enough for the data to be used in making decisions about how to control the battery to optimize its output and efficiency in real time. UW's models could be able to predict temperature, remaining energy capacity, and progress of unwanted reactions that reduce the battery lifetime.

University of Washington (UW)
Program: 
Project Term: 
08/24/2015 to 12/31/2019
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
The University of Washington (UW), along with its partner Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will work to mitigate instabilities in the plasma, and thus provide more time to heat and compress it while minimizing energy loss. The team will use the Z-Pinch approach for simultaneously heating, confining, and compressing plasma by applying an intense, pulsed electrical current which generates a magnetic field. While the simplicity of the Z-Pinch is attractive, it has been plagued by plasma instabilities. UW will investigate Z-pinch fusion using sheared-flow stabilized plasmas, meaning that adjacent layers of the plasma move parallel to each other at different speeds. These sheared axial flows have been shown to stabilize Z-pinch instabilities, and the team will investigate whether this will hold true under more extreme conditions using experimental and computational studies. If successful, UW's design would simplify the engineering required for an eventual reactor through its reduced number of components and efficiency. In addition, the design's avoidance of single-use components would enable fusion research to progress faster through more rapid experimentation.
University of Washington (UW)
Program: 
Project Term: 
09/29/2017 to 03/28/2019
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 

The University of Washington (UW) will develop a new approach to generate edge transport barriers (ETBs), a way to confine and retain plasma heat. Many low-cost magnetized target fusion concepts rely on plasmas having sufficient energy confinement to reach the necessary densities and temperatures required for the large-scale production of fusion power. ETBs enable higher performance (better energy confinement), and more compact fusion plasmas for mainline fusion experiments. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art ETB generation is thought to be impractical for smaller and/or pulsed plasma experiments because it requires complex external magnetic fields, current profile shaping, and heating. The University of Washington team has recently discovered a new, simpler, approach to ETB generation that may be as effective as the state-of-the art approaches. Their method is to drive the current at the edge of a plasma while applying magnetic perturbations, thus injecting a corkscrew-like motion into the plasma, producing edge velocity shear that creates an ETB. If successful, this approach would allow ETBs to be used in smaller plasma systems, an important step on the pathway to fusion energy.

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.
Program: 
Project Term: 
08/02/2018 to 08/01/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Washington State University will develop a hybrid power system using a high-pressure, high-temperature fuel cell stack and gas turbine. The project will examine the benefits of a decoupled design, in which the fuel cell stack and gas turbine components are not directly connected within the hybrid system. The team's other primary innovation is the integration of a membrane to concentrate oxygen from air supplied by the turbine before feeding it into the fuel cell, which avoids pressurizing the entire air feed stream, improving performance and boosting efficiency. The pressurized solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and a micro gas turbine (mGT) are physically separated by the ceramic oxygen transport membrane (OTM), which prevents the SOFC from being exposed to damaging pressure surges from the mGT. In this way, the decoupled system allows the individual components to contribute synergistically to the high-efficiency, cost-effective hybrid power generation system. By combining the efficiency of pressurized SOFC operation using natural gas and pure oxygen fuel with a microturbine in a decoupled configuration, the team hopes to achieve 75% fuel-to-electric efficiency.
Program: 
Project Term: 
07/30/2019 to 07/29/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Project State: 
Washington
Technical Categories: 
Zap Energy will advance the fusion performance of the sheared-flow stabilized (SFS) Z-pinch fusion concept. While the simplicity of the Z-pinch is attractive, it has been plagued by plasma instabilities. Like traditional Z-pinch approaches, the SFS Z-pinch drives electrical current through a plasma to create magnetic fields that compress and heat the plasma toward fusion conditions. The innovation of the SFS Z-pinch is the velocity gradient across the radius of the Z-pinch--in other words, the outer edge of the plasma column is moving at a different velocity than the center--which stabilizes the plasma instabilities of traditional Z-pinches. In this project the team will raise the electrical current of their SFS Z-pinch, reduce physics risks relating to plasma stability and confinement, and develop the electrode technology and plasma-initiation techniques necessary to enable the next steps toward a functional SFS Z-pinch fusion power plant. This could provide nearly limitless, on-demand, emission-free energy with negligible fuel costs.