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Nanotechnology Enabled Products Fare Well in First ARPA-E Funded Projects

Written by Vincent Caprio
December 21, 2009

Nanotechnology researchers fared very well when the Department of Energy announced the first-ever projects funded by the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in late October, utilizing money DOE received through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. As a direct example of the private-public partnership model, thirty-seven projects totaling $151 Million were funded from a group of about 300 proposals solicited in this new DARPA-inspired program. According to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, "ARPA-E is a crucial part of the new effort by the U.S. to spur the next Industrial Revolution in clean energy technologies, creating thousands of new jobs and helping cut carbon pollution."

Nanotechnology is front and center in seven projects—collectively worth over $18 Million—where it's being asked to deliver dramatic improvements in energy storage, water utilization, direct generation of fuels from sunlight, carbon capture, or waste heat capture. Additionally, it is likely that we would find nanotechnology in a supporting role in many of the other thirty R&D efforts selected for 2 to 3 years of first-round funding. The seven nanotechnology projects are listed below:

Envia Systems (Argonne National Laboratory)
Energy Storage, using nano-silicon-carbide anodes as a key component to store 3X the energy in lithium ion batteries as current technology, for use in vehicles.

FastCAP Systems Corporation (MIT)
Energy Storage, using nanotubes to build ultracapacitors combining battery-like energy density with greatly improved power density, for use in vehicles or to help interface wind and solar power to the electrical grid.

Inorganic Specialists, Inc. (Ultramet, Inc.EaglePicher, Southeast Nonwovens, EMTEC)
Energy Storage, building next-generation lithium ion batteries for vehicle use from carbon nanofiber paper.

NanOasis Technologies, Inc.
Water, using the extraordinary high flowthrough  properties of carbon nanotubes to reduce the energy demands of reverse osmosis desalination processes for agricultural or municipal water supplies.

Pennsylvania State University (Sentech Corporation)
Direct Solar Fuels, converting sunlight directly into methane or other fuels with catalyst-coated membranes made from titanium dioxide nanotubes.

Porifera Inc. (University of California Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)
Carbon Capture, adding carbon nanotubes to improve polymer membranes for capturing CO2 from coal-fired power plants, significantly lowering the cost of capturing green house gases.

University of Illinois (MC10, Inc.)
Waste Heat Capture, using arrays of silicon nanotubes to convert wasted heat to electricity.

The total of these seven Nanotechnology projects funded by The Department of Energy is $ $18,074,442

Last updated: December 21, 2009

Tags: Business + Entrepreneurship

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