[#SmartGrid #スマートグリッド] エネルギー省が$100Mの助成金の提供を発表:対象は次世代電池、バイオ燃料、CO2貯蔵技術


DOE Opens Up $100M for High-Risk Battery, Biofuel & Carbon Capture Tech

Less than two months ago, the Department of Energy opened the spigot in its high-risk green energy fund to provide $151 million in grants for 37 projects — just 1 percent of the original pool of applicants. This morning, the agency announced that another $100 million in the so-called ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) program is now available for projects in just three categories: electrofuels (advanced biofuels), carbon capture and electric vehicle batteries.

Created in 2007 but left unfunded until passage of this year’s stimulus package, ARPA-E has a total of $400 million to award over the next two years. This morning’s announcement — which allocates more than a third of the remaining funds — marks the start of a fresh round of intense competition among researchers and companies.

This time, applicants will be competing in a much narrower range of technologies compared with the earlier funding round, which supported work in seven different areas and provided grants for companies large and small — from General Motors to battery materials startup Envia Systems. In its release this morning, the DOE says it’s looking for proposals in the electrofuels topic area for this second round to “develop an entirely new paradigm for the production of liquid fuels that could overcome the challenges associated with current technologies.” The big challenge with current methods — such as harnessing energy from biomass or waste (sometimes through photosynthesis), notes the DOE, is inefficiency. In theory at least, metabolic engineering and synthetic biology offer a solution. The agency says it “specifically seeks the development of organisms capable of extracting energy from hydrogen, from reduced earth-abundant metal ions, from robust, inexpensive, readily available organic redo active species, or directly from electric current.”

The next category covers “Innovative Materials & Processes for Advanced Carbon Capture Technologies,” or IMPACCT. Grants in this topic area could support a range of projects, including development of low-cost catalysts, materials that resist degradation from the “caustic contaminants” in gas from coal plant flues, and processes for capturing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants that “dramatically reduce the parasitic energy penalties” associated with current methods for grabbing power plants’ CO2 emissions.

Finally, the latest round of ARPA-E grants is open to teams working on advanced battery tech, or as the DOE puts it in its release, development of “a new generation of ultra-high energy density, low-cost battery technologies for long electric range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles.”

For smaller, venture-backed companies working in these three areas, the ARPA-E funds represent an opportunity to build out a new business. And for larger companies with fatter budgets, they offer an opportunity to go out on a limb with early stage technology.

While ARPA-E awards of a few million dollars “will not at all move the needle” for larger companies, as Lux Research analyst Jacob Grose told us after the first round of grants back in October, “they will certainly allow these longer-term research projects to continue at a faster pace than they otherwise would, since cash-strapped companies rarely have the resources to invest in more speculative R&D.”

Concept papers for all three categories are due Jan. 15 (see details here). If this second round of awards moves as quickly as the first, we could see a new group of long-shot greentech projects getting under way with ARPA-E funds as early as the spring.

In Q3, Uncle Sam was the green IT king maker. Read the, “Green IT Q3 Wrap-up.”

Earth2Tech / Mon, 07 Dec 2009 18:30:18 GMT

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Posted via email from Ippei’s @CloudNewsCenter info database

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