Energy Dept. Invests $43M in Projects ‘Too Risky for the Private Sector’

August 13, 2012 - 4:57 PM

Energy Department

Energy Department (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – The Department of Energy announced the distribution of $43 million in funding for the development of energy storage technology that is “too risky for private-sector investment.”

The Aug. 2 press release said the recipients were chosen through two programs of DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy – the Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) and Small Business Innovation Research (STTR).

“ARPA-E was launched 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,” the press release said.

It states that AMPED and STTR funds projects that “focus on innovations in battery management and storage to advance electric vehicle technologies, help improve the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid and provide important energy security benefits to America’s armed forces.”

Stephen Chu

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

DOE Secretary Steven Chu said the work of the 19 fund recipients could “revolutionize” the way Americans use and store energy.

“This latest round of ARPA-E projects seek to address the remaining challenges in energy storage technologies, which could revolutionize the way Americans store and use energy in electric vehicles, the grid and beyond, while also potentially improving the access to energy for the U.S. military at forward operating bases in remote areas,” Chu said.

“These cutting-edge projects could transform our energy infrastructure, dramatically reduce our reliance on imported oil and increase American energy security,” he added.

Recipients include Ford Motor Company, which will receive $3.1 million to “develop a high-precision battery testing device to improve battery-life forecasting and validation.”

GE Global Research is receiving $3.1 million to “develop thin-film sensors that enable real-time, two-dimensional mapping of temperature and surface pressure for each cell within a battery pack.”

The multinational German company Bosch is getting $3.1 million for its Palo Alto, Calif., operation to develop “battery monitoring and control software.”

A Danish company, Det Norske Veritas, will receive $2 million to develop a gas monitoring system at its operation in Dublin, Ohio. The Obama administration hired Det Norske Veritas to investigate the cause of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Xilectric, Inc., in Auburndale, Mass., is receiving $1.7 million to “reinvent Thomas Edison’s battery chemistries for today’s electric vehicles.”

The DOE announced that $30 million of the $43 million will go to 12 research projects under the AMPED program “which aims to develop advanced sensing and control technologies that could dramatically improve and provide new innovations in safety, performance, and lifetime for grid-scale and vehicle batteries.”

The remaining $13 million will fund seven projects “to enterprising small businesses to pursue cutting-edge energy storage developments for stationary power and electric vehicles.”