Complete Freedom and Flexibility: A Look Back on the ARPA-E Summer Scholars Program with David Zhang

With spring break just around the corner, ARPA-E is getting ready to welcome a new crop of energy enthusiasts to its annual Summer Scholars program. We reached out to a former Summer Scholar, David Zhang, to learn a little about his background, his experience at ARPA-E, and how it helped change the course of his career. Tell us a little about yourself! How did you become involved in the energy world? Growing up in the energy capital of the world – Houston, Texas – I’ve always been surrounded by the energy industry. I interned abroad during my sophomore year of college, designing…


Gone Fission with New Program Director Bob Ledoux

Newest ARPA-E Program Director Dr. Robert (Bob) J. Ledoux’s professional experience ranges from professor to entrepreneur and his patents from nonintrusive cargo inspection to medical technologies. Prior to joining ARPA-E, the Boston native founded Passport Systems, a cargo inspection technology company, where he served as director and CEO. Previous to that, he developed control algorithms and hardware used in semiconductor manufacturing equipment as vice president of Pyramid Technical Consultants—and before that was CEO of a medical instruments company that developed and brought to market…


Turning Ideas Into Reality - Projects in Progress

ARPA-E focuses on next-generation energy innovations that will help create a sustainable energy future. The agency provides R&D funding for technologies that could fundamentally change the way we get, use, and store energy. Since 2009, ARPA-E has provided approximately $2 billion in R&D funding for more than 800 energy technology projects. Today, we are introducing a new series to highlight the transformational technology our project teams are developing across the energy portfolio. Check out these projects turning ideas into reality: ESS Inc. Pioneers a New Flow Since its…


Untapped Resources and New Horizons – The ATLANTIS Program

For thousands of years, civilization has been fascinated by the fabled lost city of Atlantis. Legend has it that the ancient city was a technologically advanced utopia filled with riches and wealth, and theories on the lost civilization speculate it’s reach extended far past the boundaries of the ancient Mediterranean world. While over the years skeptics have dismissed its existence as the stuff of myth and legend, explorers have nonetheless long searched for Atlantis. To this day, its story continues to serve as inspiration to those seeking to discover new frontiers and reach untapped…


ARPA-E: Innovating Through Unconventional Ideas

In 2019, ARPA-E announced an ongoing funding opportunity for a range of the most innovative and unconventional ideas across the energy technology spectrum, exploring high-risk R&D that could lead to the development of disruptive technologies. The topics explored under this opportunity are not part of existing ARPA-E programs, but if successful could establish new program areas for ARPA-E to further explore. Take a look at specific projects ARPA-E has funded under this opportunity across the broad range of technical areas outlined below. [collapsed title="Mining Incinerated Disposal…


The Long and Winding Road – ARPA-E Retrospective with Program Director Chris Atkinson

Since October 2014, Dr. Chris Atkinson has served as a Program Director at ARPA-E, focusing on the Agency’s energy, transportation and vehicle technology portfolio. Throughout his tenure at ARPA-E, Dr. Atkinson has worked to advance transformative technologies through a broad range of ARPA-E programs, including developing new approaches to building cooling equipment and air conditioners (BEETIT), energy storage technologies for advancing the adoption of electric vehicles (RANGE), novel hybrid solar energy systems (FOCUS), high efficiency engines (OPEN 2015, OPEN 2018) and natural gas…


The Sky's The Limit - Electrifying Aviation

In 1962, the American Broadcasting Company debuted a prime time cartoon about a family living in a distant space age. In addition to a robot maid and a talking dog, a defining aspect of George and Jane Jetsons’ day-to-day life was their flying cars. Nearly 60 years later, we haven’t quite cracked flying car technology yet, but more and more people are flying every year in commercial aircraft. In 2017, this led to the U.S. consuming nearly 3.5 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of jet fuel, and commercial air travel accounting for nearly 175 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in the U.S. - or about 2…


You'd Better FLECCS Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Under ARPA-E’s statutory charter, one of our key goals is to develop technology that contributes to the reduction of energy-related emissions. Our recently announced FLExible Carbon Capture and Storage (FLECCS) program - led by Program Director Dr. Scott Litzelman - focuses on this goal, by developing CCS technologies that enable power generators to be flexible and responsive to grid conditions in a high variable renewable energy (VRE) penetration environment. As the nation’s grid continues to evolve towards lower-carbon systems, FLECCS identifies that a need for flexible commercially…


We’re Not Saying We’re the Avengers, But...

In the 2019 blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame", it takes genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist Tony Stark as long to perfect time travel as it takes most people to mow their lawn. Critical to his success is his Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant, which is able to almost instantly turn his offhand musings into workable, visually pleasing solutions. While a time heist isn’t on ARPA-E’s agenda, we are excited to announce the project selections for our first AI/machine learning-focused program: Design Intelligence Fostering Formidable Energy Reduction (and) Enabling Novel Totally…


Leaves Are Falling (And So Are Temperatures) - Staying Warm with ARPA-E

It’s almost November, and as much as we all don’t want to leave spring and summer behind the time is long overdue to put away the beach gear and change out your shorts, swimsuits and flip flops for jeans, cozy sweaters and boots - because it’s fall!  The change in seasons doesn’t just mean switching from lemonade and iced tea to warm cider and hot coco, it’s also time to change your HVAC usage from air-conditioning to heat. Recent estimates by DOE’s Energy Information Administration on residential electricity consumption put space heating at 15% of all residential electricity…