U.S. Department of Energy Announces $38 Million to Enable Transportation and Storage of Renewable Energy through Carbon-Containing Liquids

New ARPA-E Program Aims to Speed up Development of New Renewable Energy Projects by Alleviating Requirements for Connection to Electric Grid

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $38 million in funding to develop sustainable carbon-containing liquids from renewable energy through the Grid-free Renewable Energy Enabling New Ways to Economical Liquids and Long‑term Storage (GREENWELLS) program. Managed by the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the new program seeks to develop chemical reactor systems that can store energy from sustainable, intermittent sources as low-carbon fuels or chemicals through an approach called renewables-to-liquids (RtL). By enabling the transportation and storage of renewable energy independent of the grid to maximize the benefits of distributed energy resources, GREENWELLS supports President Biden’s continued efforts to achieve a net‑zero economy by 2050 and reinforces America’s global competitiveness in the clean energy technologies of the future.

“At ARPA-E, we support transformational, impactful energy projects in order to fill the gaps and overcome the limits that must be addressed to meet our nation’s energy targets,” said ARPA-E Director Evelyn N. Wang. “I look forward to seeing these teams that will work to store and transport renewable energy as a liquid through our new GREENWELLS program.”

GREENWELLS will support projects that focus on the development of RtL reactor systems that can efficiently convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and an intermittent feedstock of electricity or hydrogen (H2) to carbon-containing liquids. Their work will include developing the necessary catalysts, manufacturing methods, and balance of plant.

Sustainable energy resources like wind and solar are most effective in areas typically not convenient for grid connection. GREENWELLS seeks to develop chemical reactors and supporting units with at least 50 percent electricity-to-liquid efficiency to store incoming intermittent electrical energy in liquid form.

GREENWELLS fuels could provide cost-effective energy carriers for long- and medium-term energy storage and potentially moderate supply and demand imbalances. They could also help decarbonize the aviation, marine, and heavy-duty transportation sectors. Low-carbon fuels and chemicals are currently expensive to produce, and less expensive electricity sources like remote wind and solar power could help drive down costs.

Visit the ARPA-E eXCHANGE website for more information about GREENWELLS, including key guidelines and dates for applicants.

ARPA-E advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies across a wide range of technical areas that are too early for private-sector investment. Learn more about these efforts and ARPA-E's commitment to ensuring the United States continues to lead the world in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.


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