US Energy Secretary Steven Chu earlier this week announced a $100 million investment in cutting-edge research into energy storage, electrical power technology and building efficiency.
The investment will form the basis of a third round of funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which was set up last year to support innovative research that would be otherwise too risky to back.
Three areas will take priority in the new funding round:
- Grid-Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage (GRIDS) will look at addressing the short-term variability of renewable energy sources like wind and solar through both proof of concept and more advanced prototype energy storage technologies;
- Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (ADEPT) will focus on developing new materials for power converters for solid-state lighting, computer power supplies, as part of photovoltaic systems, variable speed motors and even high power applications like electricity substations and wind turbine generators;
- Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices (BEET-IT) will aim to develop energy efficient cooling technologies and air conditioners, which can be retrofitted to existing systems.
Just developing more efficient power electronics could reduce usage by as much as 25-30%, which could overall mean a 12% reduction in the country’s electricity consumption.
“This is about unleashing the American innovation machine to solve the energy and climate challenge, while creating new jobs, new industries and new exports for America’s workers,” said Chu.
For further information:
US launches multi-agency initiative to boost building efficiency (15-Feb)
US research project aims to improve home efficiency by half (27-Nov 2009)
Cutting edge energy research gets $151 million boost (29-Oct 2009)
US Department of Energy invests in energy research centres (29-Apr 2009)
04 March 2010