Blog Posts
We’re excited to announce a new partnership with DoD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) to further demonstrate and validate ARPA-E derived technologies at DoD installations across the country. ESTCP targets DoD’s urgent environmental and installation energy needs to improve Defense readiness, resilience and costs. Projects under this partnership will conduct demonstrations to validate the performance and operational costs of promising ARPA-E technologies and provide valuable data needed for end-user acceptance and to accelerate the transition of these technologies to commercial use.

Slick Sheet: Project
Advanced Conductor Technologies will develop two-pole, high-temperature, superconducting DC power cables and connectors with a power rating of up to 50 MW to enable twin-aisle aircraft with distributed electric propulsion to reduce carbon emissions. The cables and connectors will contain insulation independent of the cryogenic medium used as coolant and allow an operating voltage of 10 kV. Because they have intrinsic fault current limiting capabilities, the cables can protect the power distribution network from over-currents.

Slick Sheet: Project
The average age of large power transformers (LPTs) currently operating in the U.S is 40 years, with 70% older than 25 years. Insulation failure contributes to more than 60% of LPT failures, costing the U.S. over $18 billion annually. To improve transformer life, GE Research will develop a long-term stable nanofluid dielectric to double the service life of current LPTs to at least 80 years. GE’s TiO2-based nanofluid will replace the conventional transformer insulating fluid and is expected to improve thermal conductivity by >25% and enhance dielectric strength by at least 50%.

Slick Sheet: Project
To make the power density of electric aircraft closer to conventional aircraft, an electric power system (EPS) with high power delivery and low system mass is necessary. As an essential component of aircraft EPS, cables are necessary to transmit power from one node to another. Virginia Tech will develop a high-power density, cost-effective ±5 kV cable for twin-aisle all-electric aircraft.

Slick Sheet: Project
Fault protection must be provided for future turboelectric aircraft’s medium-voltage direct current power systems, but not necessarily from conventional circuit breakers. Illinois Institute of Technology will develop a 10 kV/150A superconducting momentary circuit interrupter (SMCI) to provide fault protection with ultralow power loss (<1 W), ultrafast response (<10 μs or ten millionth of a second), and high-power density. The architecture comprises an SMCI with a fast mechanical disconnect switch.

Slick Sheet: Project
GE Research will develop a safe, lightweight, and altitude-capable megawatt power cable system with electromagnetic interference shielding capability for large aircraft. The proposed 10 MW cable system is expected to achieve ten times greater power density than conventional technology without degradation by partial discharge and is fire safe and oil resistant.

Slick Sheet: Project
There are two key engineering challenges in the development of 10 kV, 10 MW electric power distribution cables for double-aisle passenger aircraft. One is providing sufficient electrical insulation at high voltages and the second is transferring heat away from the conductors.

Blog Posts
Update: October 19, 2021 ESS began trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange on October 11, 2021. ESS’ (NYSE: GWH) batteries provide a new tool for decarbonizing the grid and further ARPA-E's mission of changing what's possible in how we generate, use, and store energy. For a look back at ESS’ time as an ARPA-E project, check out the original blog below and watch the video we recorded with them in 2017.

Slick Sheet: Project
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) will use novel nanotechnology to develop a power transformer capable of operating for 80 years, increasing U.S. grid reliability. Key elements of UT- Austin’s research includes (1) the development and synthesis of cellulosic material and nano-additives (boron nitride, oxides) for paper and pressboard, (2) use of validated high-fidelity models to predict the thermal and electrical performance and life of transformers, (3) refurbishing a transformer to assess the impact of new materials, and (4) scale-up manufacturing of down-selected nanomaterials.

Slick Sheet: Project
The key cause of transformer failure is overheating, which becomes more likely over time due to breakdown of mineral oil, an important transformer heat dissipation and insulating component. C-Crete Technologies will integrate advanced surface chemistry, colloidal engineering with high-throughput characterization, and standardized testing to develop insulating nanofluids for large power transformers (LPTs), with a projected lifetime greater than 80 years.