Fresh water withdrawal for thermoelectric power generation in the U.S. is approximately 139 billion gallons per day (BGD), or 41% of total fresh water draw, making it the largest single use of fresh water in the U.S.  Of the fresh water withdrawn for the power generation sector, 4.3 BGD is dissipated to the atmosphere by cooling towers and spray ponds. 

With aggressive commitments to mitigate the impacts of climate change and emphasis on maintaining an advantage in technological development in an increasingly globalized marketplace, the U.S. government is actively taking measures to ensure the nation’s environmental and economic health and sustainability. As part of its broader strategy, with motivation from the National Academies, the United States established the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy (DOE) through the America Competes Act in 2007. The agency was allotted an initial appropriation of $400 million in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Since 2009, ARPA-E has funded over 500 potentially transformational energy technology projects. Many of these projects have already demonstrated early indicators of technical and commercial success. ARPA-E has begun the process of analyzing and cataloging some of the agency’s most successful projects. This document is a compilation of the first volume of these impactful technologies.

Reducing (and eventually reversing) the increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere due to human activities, and thus reducing the extent and severity of anthropogenic climate change, is one of the great challenges facing humanity. While most of the man-caused increase in GHGs has been due to fossil fuel use, land use (including agriculture) currently accounts for about 25% of total GHG emissions and thus there is a need to include emission reductions from the land use sector as part of an effective climate change mitigation strategy.

During the ALPHA program, ARPA-E commissioned a report on the fusion intellectual-property (IP) landscape.  Some key takeaways from the report are: Magnetic and inertial confinement dominate existing IP landscape Magneto-inertial or other approaches are a ripe area for creating new IP Over 50% of fusion IP is expired, primarily due to non-payment of fees Be judicious in timing of filing, given the 20-year protection time frame.

Investments in solar photovoltaics and wind turbines are soaring as costs fall and governments and companies seek to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But fluctuating power from the wind and sun threatens to destabilize electricity grids. As more intermittent sources are connected, the power surges and crashes. This increases variability in voltage, in power and in the frequency of alternating current.

ABSTRACT: A variety of inherently robust energy storage technologies hold the promise to increase the range and decrease the cost of electric vehicles (EVs). These technologies help diversify approaches to EV energy storage, complementing current focus on high specific energy lithium-ion batteries.

ABSTRACT: Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems are being deployed at an accelerating rate to supply low-carbon electricity worldwide.

Abstract: Wide bandgap power semiconductor devices offer enormous energy efficiency gains in a wide range of potential applications. However, today, they remain too costly relative to Si devices to gain ubiquitous adoption in many higher power applications. In 2014, ARPA-E launched a new research program entitled SWITCHES, that seeks to enable the development of high voltage (1200 V+), high current (100 A) single die power semiconductor devices that, upon ultimately reaching scale, have the potential to reach functional cost parity ($/A) with silicon power transistors while also offering breakthrough relative circuit performance (low losses, high switching frequencies, and high temperature operation).

Executive Summary: The main objective of this study is to quantify the entitlement for system benefits attainable by pervasive application of flexible energy resources in scenarios with extra-high penetration of renewable energy.