Sixty-six research projects were selected to receive funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E), part of the Department of Energy’s “OPEN 2012” program. The projects, which show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private-sector investment, will receive a combined total of $130 million.
The selected projects encompass 11 technology areas in 24 states and focus on a wide array of technologies: advanced fuels, advanced vehicle design and materials, building efficiency, carbon capture, grid modernization, renewable power and energy storage. Approximately 47 percent of the projects are led by universities, 29 percent by small businesses, 15 percent by large businesses, 7.5 percent by national labs, and 1.5 percent by non-profits. The “OPEN” funding began in 2009 and to date, there nearly 285 projects that have been awarded approximately $770 million in awards.
There were a wide-range of projects selected. For example, Plant Sensory Systems was awarded $1.8 million over three-years to develop an enhanced energy (sugar) beet optimized for biofuel production. The beets will be engineered to use fertilizer and water more efficiently and produce higher levels of fermentable sugars compared to current feedstocks.
Another example is Metabolix, who received a subaward to work with UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science to reengineer biochemical pathways for carbon fixation into camelina. Carbon fixation is the key process that plants use to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into higher energy molecules, such as sugars, using energy from the sun.
Click here for the full list of 66 OPEN 2012 winners.