Welcome to OPEN 2018

Welcome to OPEN 2018 This week, ARPA-E announced the fourth edition of its OPEN funding solicitation, OPEN 2018. Comprising $98 million for 40 projects across 9 different technology areas, OPEN 2018 is a showcase of some of the innovation community’s most exciting ideas in energy. This year’s OPEN is a little different, so let’s break down the facts and figures. How does OPEN work? Most of the time, ARPA-E supports projects through focused programs, which fund a variety of projects in the same technology area. Focused program examples include ARID for dry cooling of power plants, SHIELD…


Modernizing the Grid with the GO Competition

Energy Secretary Rick Perry just took to the airwaves to announce the launch of ARPA-E’s newest challenge, the Grid Optimization (GO) Competition. America’s electric grid is a vast network, consisting of several regions that cover all 50 states and Canada. Serving this huge geography requires thousands of miles of electric lines, connecting customers with generation sources including wind, solar, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. Today’s grid is evolving faster than ever, driven largely by the increasing competitiveness of intermittent renewable resources like solar and…


Still Changing What's Possible: Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Ashwin Salvi is a former ARPA-E fellow. We recently sat down with him to discuss how he became interested in energy, his experience working at ARPA-E, and what he’s doing now to transform America’s energy future. How did you first become interested in energy? As an engineer, I’ve always been interested in energy, but it was in 2012 that I became aware of its resonance, as it was mentioned during several speeches and debates. So, I got together with a few of my graduate school classmates at the University of Michigan to start the Michigan Energy Club. Our goal was to educate the public…


Current Events: Novel Protections for an Increasingly DC World

Electricity delivered by alternating current (AC) has a long and colorful history in the United States. This method, which alternates the flow of electricity back and forth many times per second, dominates our transmission and distribution system. AC proliferation has been driven by the ease and lower cost of voltage regulation as compared to direct current (DC), despite higher efficiencies that could be enabled by transitioning to DC. Through recent and ongoing technological innovations, economically competitive and robust DC hardware solutions have started to pave the way for radical…


ARPA-E Technologies Strengthening the Grid

September 6, 2018 Severe weather, cyber intrusions, and physical attacks can damage America’s critical energy infrastructure and cause power outages that affect families and businesses alike. As Secretary Perry observes, “A reliable and resilient electric grid is critical not only to our national and economic security, but also to the everyday lives of American families.” Increasing use of distributed generation and battery storage technologies creates new operating requirements for the grid. This transformation is driving ARPA‑E to support promising early-stage energy technologies that…


Efficient, Compact, Manufacturable, and Durable: Next-Generation Heat Exchangers

August 9, 2018 Last fall, ARPA-E Program Director Dr. Mike Ohadi led a workshop to explore innovative, high efficiency, modular electricity generation systems. You can read more about Dr. Ohadi’s background, what brought him to ARPA-E, the original goals for the workshop and some initial post-workshop thoughts in the original blog here. Having gained a better understanding of the challenge of efficient heat transfer, Dr. Ohadi sat down to chat about how his thinking surrounding both the problem and solution has evolved—and how the broader research community could help find a solution…


Keeping your cool with ARPA-E

July 10, 2018 Summer is in full swing, and for many Americans that means high temperatures and even higher electric bills. The amount of energy used to heat, cool and ventilate buildings in the United States is enormous, equivalent to approximately 13% of the country’s annual power use.[1] This is in part due to how inefficient environmental systems can be, which results in significant power wasted or lost. But as anyone who’s spent a summer in Florida, or a winter in Wisconsin, knows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are often essential to comfort and health. HVAC…


Control Co-Design

June 20, 2018  Control Co-Design: Concurrent Control Engineering for Optimal System Design ARPA-E Program Director Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz discusses his background and upcoming workshop.   1. You are leading an upcoming workshop entitled “Control Co-Design for Wind and Marine-hydro-kinetic systems” – what is “control co-design”?  Control engineering is the application of mathematics, physics and technology towards autonomous control of physical systems. Control engineers take data about system status and performance, and use microprocessors, algorithms, circuits and…


Exploring Machine Learning-Enhanced Energy-Product Development with Dr. David Tew

June 13, 2018 Dr. David Tew joined ARPA-E as a Program Director in 2016 after nearly 20 years at United Technologies Corporation. His research focus at ARPA-E includes combined heat and power systems, industrial processes, and transportation energy efficiency. Dr. Tew delivered a Fast Pitch on Machine Learning-Enhanced Energy-Product Development at the 2018 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. Now, he is leading a workshop on the topic to engage the broader research community.  Dr. Tew delivering his fast pitch at the 2018 Summit 1. In one sentence, can you tell us what this workshop is…


Three Technologies to Think About on your Commute: Improving the Future of Transportation

May 17, 2018 1. Is your gas light on again? ARPA-E’s Achates Power, Inc. team is working with Argonne National Laboratory and Delphi Powertrain to develop innovative technologies to improve gasoline efficiency in automobiles. Under its OPEN 2015 Award, the Achates team has successfully designed a new engine that is 30-50% more efficient than conventional gasoline engines without raising the engine’s cost. The team integrated a gas compression ignition (GCI) strategy with an opposed piston (OP) engine architecture. The OP engine design offers efficiency improvements as it reduces…