On February 14, 2022, ARPA-E announced $175 million for 68 OPEN 2021 research and development projects aimed at developing disruptive technologies to strengthen the nation’s advanced energy enterprise. These high-impact, high-risk technologies support novel approaches to clean energy challenges. The selected projects—spanning 22 states and coordinated at universities, national laboratories, and private companies—will focus on technologies such as revolutionizing fuel cells for light- and heavy-duty vehicles, and recycling used nuclear materials to generate less nuclear waste and reduce the cost of fuel.
Since ARPA-E opened its doors in 2009, the agency has issued an OPEN funding announcement approximately every three years, in order to investigate energy technology concepts that are outside of the scope of previous ARPA-E program funding. Visit our OPEN Programs page for more information about past OPEN programs.
What is ARPA-E?
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy funds high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy. ARPA-E projects have the potential to radically improve U.S. economic prosperity, national security, and environmental wellbeing. We focus on transformational energy projects that can be meaningfully advanced with a small amount of funding over a defined period, typically two to four years. For more information on the ARPA-E funding process, watch this video.
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 ATLANTIS for deep water wind turbines, BREAKERS for medium voltage direct current circuit breakers, and GEMINA for next-generation nuclear reactors.
With OPEN, we welcome the innovation community to give us their ideas for the next big leap in energy technology. We do this for a few reasons, but most importantly, it ensures we get to evaluate the strongest, most creative concepts to help us fulfill our goal of keeping America secure, boosting competitiveness, and protecting the environment. To learn more about OPEN programs, click here.
What makes an OPEN project?
ARPA-E uses Open FOAs to identify high-potential projects that address the full range of energy-related technologies, including areas that are outside of the current portfolio. The objective of an ARPA-E OPEN FOA is to support the development of potentially disruptive new technologies across the full spectrum of energy applications. For more information on what makes an OPEN project, click here.
For examples of past OPEN projects, click here. To view a webinar explaining the ARPA-E funding process, the types of projects funded, and how to prepare a Concept Paper, click here.
In 2018, ARPA-E issued its fourth open funding opportunity designed to catalyze transformational breakthroughs across the entire spectrum of energy technologies. ARPA-E received more than 2,600 concept papers for OPEN 2018, which hundreds of scientists and engineers thoroughly reviewed over the course of several months. ARPA-E awarded $199 million to 77 projects across 13 technical areas in 30 states. To learn more about OPEN 2018 selectees, click here.
What is a Teaming List?
ARPA-E is compiling a Teaming Partner List for a potential OPEN 2021 FOA to facilitate the formation of new project teams and encourage collaboration. Teaming partners include organizations and individuals who can offer expertise, facilities, or other complementary resources toward a potential ARPA-E project. The teaming list identifies partners’ capabilities as well as their areas of interest, understanding that expertise and experience in one field can often be applied successfully to a new field. This list is completely voluntarily to participate in and utilize. ARPA-E will not identify or facilitate connections through the teaming list, but encourages researchers to reach out to other potential partners themselves to explore teaming opportunities.
For more video content from ARPA-E - including technical webinars, project snapshots, staff interviews, public presentations, and more - please visit and subscribe to the agency's YouTube Channel.