President Obama launched the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) in 2009 to seek out transformational, breakthrough technologies that are too risky for private sector investment but have the potential to translate science into quantum leaps in energy technology, form the foundation for entirely new industries, and have large commercial impacts. ARPA-E selections focus on accelerating innovations in clean technology while advancing breakthroughs in biofuels, thermal storage, grid controls, and solar power electronics, and increasing America's competitiveness in rare earth alternatives.

Its most recent round of selections brings the total to more than 180 projects, for $521.7 million in awards across 12 program areas. Demonstrating the success ARPA-E has already seen, the program announced last year that eleven of its projects secured more than $200 million in outside private capital investment after initial funding from its programs.

2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

ARPA-E’s third annual Energy Innovation Summit featured a number of the nation’s leaders across industry, Congress and academia, and covered a wide range of energy topic areas.  The third annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit included 107 speakers and attracted 2,440 attendees from 49 states and 26 countries. Attendees included members of research and development institutions, global corporations, technology entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and government officials.

Keynote speakers for the Summit included:

·         President Bill Clinton

·         Microsoft Founder and Chairman Bill Gates

·         Xerox CEO Ursula Burns

·         FedEx CEO Fred Smith

·         BDT Capital Chairman Lee Scott

·         Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter

·         MIT President Susan Hockfield

·         U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu

·         ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar

The Summit featured comments by a bipartisan group of members of Congress:

·         House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 

·         New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman 

·         Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander

·         Delaware Senator Chris Coons

·         Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah          

·      Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack.

The Summit also featured a Technology Showcase displaying over 240 breakthrough energy developments from ARPA-E’s awardees and other innovative companies in areas including grid-scale storage, power electronics, batteries for electric vehicles, building efficiency, advanced carbon capture and electrofuels.

Open Funding Opportunity Announcement

Yesterday, Dr. Arun Majumdar, Director of ARPA-E, closed the Summit by announcing that on Friday, March 2, ARPA-E will release a $150 million funding opportunity open to all breakthrough energy technologies. 

The Open Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will support transformational and disruptive high-impact energy R&D projects related to renewable power, bioenergy, transportation, the electrical grid, and building efficiency, among other technology areas.  ARPA-E’s first FOA, issued in 2009, was similarly an open call for transformational energy technology solutions to our nation’s most pressing security, economic, and environmental challenges.  More details on all of ARPA-E’s Funding Opportunities are available HERE.

Quotes from the Summit:

“Throughout the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, cutting-edge innovations and promising American companies have been on display.  Whether they are developing fuels from electricity, capturing and storing carbon, or finding new ways to generate energy from the sun and wind, the projects highlighted through the Summit are helping to push the boundaries of technology and building an American economy that lasts,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

“The nearly 2,500 attendees of this year’s summit represent some of our nation’s best energy innovators and illustrate the true purpose of ARPA-E and the Innovation Summit: to catalyze energy breakthroughs for a secure American future.  The whole energy ecosystem – science and engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, small and large businesses, non profits, media and policy makers – were there to invent our future together,” said ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar.

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