Vision OPEN 2024

ARPA-E Vision OPEN 2024

Release Date:
Project Count:

Program Description:

Since ARPA-E’s inception, the OPEN program has served as an opportunity to advance transformative energy breakthroughs in critical areas that fall outside the scope of the agency’s focused technology programs. Unlike OPEN programs in the past, Vision OPEN challenges the research community to develop groundbreaking technologies aligned with three specific goals to enable a future energy landscape that is dramatically different than today’s.

Vision OPEN’s three goals include: (1) greenhouse gas free abundant primary energy, (2) an intermodal energy superhighway that transports diversified forms of primary energy, and (3) a carbon transition that sustainably meets demand for polymers and other materials.

Achieving these three goals by 2050 will necessitate development and deployment of disruptive and ambitious technologies at an unparalleled speed and scale.

Innovation Need:

Greenhouse Gas-Free Abundant Primary Energy: The International Energy Agency’s Net-Zero by 2050 roadmap calls for a decrease in total energy supply to reach net-zero. However, energy use is expected to grow due to various factors, including higher standards of living and rising energy use from computing technologies. Supplying greenhouse gas-free abundant primary energy will meet the growing need for energy while satisfying net zero goals.

Intermodal Energy Superhighway: Today, 1,350 gigawatts of power generation and 650 gigawatts of storage projects are awaiting domestic transmission interconnections. This is roughly equivalent to the entire present grid capacity of the United States. Additionally, as the energy network is decarbonized, there will be more opportunities to transport energy not just by electrons, but also in the form of chemicals or heat produced from renewable sources. To fully realize the benefits of abundant, diverse sources of energy, an intermodal energy superhighway is envisioned as a nationwide network that resolves energy challenges associated with interconnection, intermittency, and access.

Carbon as the Sustainable Building Block of the Future: One consequence of the long-standing dominance of fossil fuels is an abundant supply of ubiquitous fossil materials. While most carbon in petroleum and natural gas is used for combustion, 10-15% of this carbon is converted to diverse products ranging from plastics to asphalts. Plastic production alone contributes roughly 7% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, and its end-of-life disposal raises significant environmental concerns. A critical component of the sustainable energy transition requires decoupling harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the production of essential carbon-based materials.

Potential Impact:

The technologies inspired by Vision OPEN 2024 will enable a novel and robust global energy system that meets the needs and aspirations of future generations while respecting the environment.


Achieving abundant greenhouse gas-free energy, an intermodal energy superhighway, and carbon as a clean material of the future reduces the need to rely on other countries for energy resources and technologies.


Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing energy transfer infrastructure of greenhouse gas-free energy sources lessens the impact of energy production on the environment. The envisioned carbon transition will satisfy the increasing demand for carbon products to facilitate the energy transition while simultaneously diverting carbon products from traditional waste streams, reducing the environmental impacts of carbon materials on the environment.


Invigorating American-made clean energy sources, energy transfer infrastructure, and sustainably produced carbon materials fuels economic growth and creates new opportunities for American workers.


Program Director:
Multiple Program Directors manage this program. For specific PD information please contact the ARPA-E Communications Team.
Press and General Inquiries Email:

Project Listing