The Department of Energy recently announced another $30 million was being made available from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for “full-spectrum” solar energy technologies that go beyond solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP).
ARPA-E has more info:
The new program entitled Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) seeks to develop two distinct technology options to deliver low-cost, high-efficiency solar energy on demand, specifically: (1) new hybrid solar energy converters and (2) new hybrid energy storage systems.
The first approach will develop advanced solar converters that turn sunlight into electricity for immediate use, while also producing heat that can be stored at low cost for later use. These hybrid converters will use the entire solar spectrum more efficiently than PV or CSP technologies. The second approach will develop innovative storage systems that accept heat and electricity from variable solar sources to deliver electricity when needed.
With this new $30 million program, ARPA-E has in 2013 put $145 million into “vehicle manufacturing techniques, biologically convert natural gas to liquids, develop robust battery chemistries and architectures for electric vehicles, and create innovative semiconductor materials for improved power conversion.”
ARPA-E, modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is aimed at making the US a world leader in advanced energy technologies. Cleantech, or “advanced energy,” is going to dominate the future of the global marketplace. Developing the technologies that are the base of that is one of the biggest economic opportunities of today (if not the biggest).
The ARPA-E program, launched not long after Obama first took office, is an excellent government program stimulating development of clean technologies of various types that will lead the world forward in addressing global warming and climate change, while also delivering a huge economic boost to the US in the process.
Here’s a bit more from ARPA-E itself:
ARPA-E was launched in 2009 to seek out transformational, breakthrough technologies that show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private-sector investment. To date, ARPA-E has funded 285 projects, across 33 states, with $770 million in funding.
For more information about the funding opportunity, ARPA-E and previously announced awards please visit: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/.