(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced that United Technologies Research Center and Yale University were selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to receive a total of $5.3 million in funding through the Department of Energy's “OPEN 2012” program. The ARPA-E seeks out transformational, breakthrough technologies that show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private-sector investment. The selected projects have the potential to produce game-changing breakthroughs in energy technology, form the foundation for entirely new industries, and could have large commercial impacts.
“These impressive and cutting-edge projects at Yale and UTC will work towards minimizing waste and pollution, and they are models for the type of advanced energy research that the nation needs,” said the senators. “This funding recognizes Connecticut’s long history as a leader in innovation.”
The OPEN 2012 projects will focus on a wide array of technologies, including advanced fuels, advanced vehicle design and materials, building efficiency, carbon capture, grid modernization, renewable power, and energy storage. The projects were selected through a merit-based process from thousands of concept papers and hundreds of full applications. The projects are based in 24 states, with approximately 47 percent of the projects 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. Today’s announcement brings ARPA-E’s total portfolio of projects to about 285 projects for a total of approximately $770 million in awards.
United Technologies Research Center received approximately $2.7 million to develop an ultra-high efficiency electric motor for automobiles. Additive manufacturing uses a laser to deposit copper and insulation layer by layer, instead of winding wires. The resulting motors will reduce electricity use and will require less rare earth material. This project will also examine the application of additive manufacturing more widely for energy systems.
Yale University received approximately $2.6 million to develop a system to generate electricity using low-temperature waste heat from power plants, industrial facilities, and geothermal wells. This system will use waste heat and the difference in salt content between two liquid streams to create electricity through membrane processes known as pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) or reverse electrodialysis (RED). This technology could produce electricity from waste heat at low cost.