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REACT InnoCentive Challenge Results Announced

The Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has announced two awards of $5,000 each for solutions submitted in response to its Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies (REACT) InnoCentive Challenge. ARPA-E’s REACT program is developing cost-effective alternatives to rare earth materials. These materials are elements with unique magnetic properties that are the high-performance magnets required for electric vehicle (EV) motors, wind generators, and many of the technologies that we rely on every day, such as cell phones and laptop computers. The REACT projects that comprise the program seek to identify low-cost and abundant replacements for rare earth magnets while encouraging existing technologies to use them more efficiently. These alternatives will facilitate the widespread use of EVs and wind power by drastically reducing, or eliminating, the amount of costly rare earth materials.

One technical challenge faced by many REACT performers is the issue of nanoscale order in macroscopic magnets. Accordingly, ARPA-E partnered with InnoCentive to issue a Challenge focused on finding new and alternative methods for creating nanoscale order in macroscopic, near-fully dense materials.

The Challenge was issued on April 23, 2014 and responses were due by May 23, 2014.

ARPA-E received 23 proposals, of which 20 met the basic criteria of the Challenge and were considered for award.  Two Solutions were judged to be worthy of the $10,000 prize:

  • Production of Macroscopically Ordered Nanostructured Magnetic Composites Using an Innovative Drawing and Bundling Technique

  • Concept for a Laser-Interference Assisted Technique for the Synthesis of Nanoarranged Materials

ARPA-E has also decided to make several honorable mention submissions available for public review and use.

  • Magnetic Molding of Nanometer-Sized Materials

  • Ultrasound-Induced 3D Nano-Lattice Leads to 3D Array of Mechanonochemically Induced Reaction Nucleation Centers

  • Hydrophobic Aerogel Template with Ion Beam Engineered Hydrophilic Channels

  • Aerial Nucleation of Macroscopic Materials with Nanoscale Order

  • Nanoscaled Composites Based on Skeleton of Aerogels or Xerogels

ARPA-E would like to congratulate to all winners and thank everyone for participating in this exercise. Stay tuned for more Challenges to come.

"Disclaimer Notice: The proposed solutions published below were provided by solvers unaffiliated with ARPA-E. These proposed solutions are published only as an indication of responses to this Challenge. Neither ARPA-E, DOE, the U.S. Government, nor any person acting on their behalf:

(1) makes any warranty or representation, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the proposed solutions; or

(2) assumes any liabilities with respect to the use of, or damages resulting from the use of any information contained in the proposed solutions."