Return of the Scientist: A Q&A with Dr. Scott Litzelman

  Dr. Scott Litzelman is a Program Director at ARPA-E. We recently sat down with him to discuss how he became interested in energy, his experience working in the industry, and how he’s hoping to transform America’s energy future. How did you first become interested in energy? I first became interested in energy in grad school. My doctoral thesis was on nanomaterials for fuel cells. Although my research was fundamental in nature, the motivation behind it was to find ways to make fuel cells cheaper, which could have a big energy impact. This was in the 2002-2008 timeframe; I knew…


Announcing an ARPA-E First: OPEN+

On November 15, ARPA-E announced its newest family of projects as part of the OPEN 2018 program, providing $98 million in support for 40 early-stage energy technologies. In that announcement, we not-so-subtly hinted we were just getting started. Today, we are delighted to announce, for the first time ever, a selection of mini-programs we’re calling OPEN+. We call these mini-programs “cohorts,” and they are inspired by the high quality applications we received for our OPEN 2018 solicitation. This first cohort will provide $12 million for five projects to use new materials and methods to…


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

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 could make the U.S.…


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…