Every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day; promoting environmental enthusiasm and efforts to protect our planet’s precious natural resources. As part of ARPA-E’s authorizing authority that established the agency within the Department of Energy, we’re tasked to overcome long-term and high-risk technological barriers in the development of transformative science and technology solutions to address the energy and environmental missions of the Department.
We sat down with ARPA-E Program Director, Dr. Rachel Slaybaugh, as she reflected on her experience attending the very first ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit Student Program back in 2010.
ARPA-E Announces $70 Million in Funding for New Programs to Power Transportation and Store Carbon in Soil
The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced up to $70 million in funding for its two newest programs: Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) and Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS). REFUEL projects will use water, molecules from the air and electricity from renewable sources to produce high-energy liquid fuels for transportation and other uses. ROOTS projects will tackle the growing problem of soil “carbon debt” by developing sensing technologies to help farmers choose crop varieties that better capture carbon molecules from the atmosphere and store them in their root systems.
Reducing (and eventually reversing) the increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere due to human activities, and thus reducing the extent and severity of anthropogenic climate change, is one of the great challenges facing humanity. While most of the man-caused increase in GHGs has been due to fossil fuel use, land use (including agriculture) currently accounts for about 25% of total GHG emissions and thus there is a need to include emission reductions from the land use sector as part of an effective climate change mitigation strategy.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced up to $60 million in funding for two new programs that aim to solve some of the nation’s most pressing energy challenges by accelerating the development of novel energy technologies. The first program, NEXT Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated on-Road vehicles (NEXTCAR) seeks to develop new technologies that decrease energy consumption of future vehicles through the use of connectivity and automation. The second program, Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) seeks to improve crop breeding for root and soil function to allow for greater carbon storage in plants.
This workshop convened thought leaders in plant biology, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, biogeochemistry, computational analytics, and emerging imaging technologies to determine the most promising methods to enhance terrestrial carbon sinks.