ARPA-E Gets a Congressional Hearing


(From L to R)
Dr. Arun Majumdar
Dr. Chuck Vest
Dr. Anthony Atti
Mr. John Denniston
Dr. John Pierce

ARPA-E is one of the newest funding programs at the Department of Energy. It was authorized in 2007 with the passage of the America COMPETES Act, but was only funded when The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was passed with an initial $400 million. ARPA-E is unique in that its first Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) was kept broad and only asked for 8-page proposals for high-risk but high-reward “transformational” technologies. Yesterday (Wednesday) in the House Committee on Science and Technology ARPA-E was examined, the chairman for the hearing was Bart Gordon (D-TN).

Arun Majumdar, the current director for ARPA-E, gave several examples why federal funding is necessary for energy research and used a graph on worldwide shipments of solar photovoltaic cells to make his point that America is losing its edge in energy technologies.

Arun also gave some metrics on the ARPA-E awards. 3,700 concept papers were received. Only 340 were invited to write a full proposal. 37 projects were selected and $151 million was pegged for those projects. 45% went to small business, 35% went to educational institutions, and 20% to large industries. Also mentioned was the start of their Fellows Program for recent PhD students interested in energy/policy.

John Pierce, the vice president of DuPont Applied BioSciences, gave a statement that called for “external advisory panels” to guide the perspective of the ARPA-E agenda. Which sounds like something industry would want.

Link to more information on the hearing: Program to Foster Innovation in Energy Technologies Is Off to a Promising Start

Link to ARPA-E: Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy

Mitch

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