ARPA-E provides $60 million for technologies to boost energy efficiency

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Today, at the Advanced Energy Conference in Albany, New York, Acting ARPA-E Director Cheryl Martin announced up to $60 million for two new programs to detect and measure methane emissions and develop innovative localized thermal management systems that cut the energy needed to heat and cool buildings.

The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, encourages America’s top scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs from different organizations, scientific disciplines and technology sectors to form new projects teams for applications that leverage interdisciplinary and cross-organizational collaboration.

“Developing a broad range of technology options to reduce energy emissions and consumption is critical for a secure, affordable, and sustainable American energy future,” said Acting ARPA-E Director Cheryl Martin. “The disruptive technologies that ARPA-E will fund through these two new programs will fill critical gaps in energy research and development and push the boundaries of emissions reduction and energy efficient technologies.”

Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR)

In the U.S. methane emissions make up nearly nine percent of all greenhouse gas emitted as result of human activity, and methane pollution is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030 absent additional action to reduce emissions.

ARPA-E’s new MONITOR program will help the oil and gas sector reduce methane emissions and build a more sustainable energy future. The program will make up to $30 million available to help U.S. teams develop low-cost, highly-sensitive systems that detect and measure methane associated with the production and transportation of oil and natural gas. If successful, MONITOR's technologies could accurately and cost-effectively measure methane emissions and provide a detection network to mitigate the release of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA)

According to the Energy Information Administration, about 48 percent of energy consumption in U.S. homes is used for heating and cooling. Broadly, space heating and cooling of buildings represents more than 12 percent of all energy used domestically.

ARPA-E’s DELTA program will help develop innovative localized heating and cooling devices to expand temperature ranges within buildings — enhancing personal comfort while saving energy. While most of today’s heating and cooling systems are designed to heat and cool entire buildings, DELTA seeks to develop both installed and wearable devices that can regulate temperatures in close proximity to a building’s occupants. This localized thermal management will enable buildings to operate in wider temperature ranges while still ensuring occupant comfort, which would dramatically reduce the building’s energy consumption and associated emissions.

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April 2014
Volume 18, Issue 4

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