The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the five program areas that will benefit from the fourth round of Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) funding. The five programs will receive up to $130 million in funding, which will help advance our nation’s clean energy goals.

The five program areas that are part of this funding round focus on the following technologies:

  • Plants Engineered to Replace Oil (PETRO)
  • High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage (HEATS)
  • Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies (REACT)
  • Green Electricity Network Integration (GENI)
  • Solar Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (Solar ADEPT)
I’m not a scientist or an engineer but the PETRO program sounds promising. Basically, projects working in that program area will focus on creating plants that can capture more energy from the sun and convert this energy into fuels. If this goal is achieved, biofuels will be half of their current cost and actually be financially competitive with oil-based fuels. Funding of up to $30 million has been set aside for PETRO projects.

The REACT program also piqued my interest. Modern technology uses rare earth minerals and the more that the nation embraces new technology, the more rare earth minerals that are needed. Demand is going up, prices are going up and the supply is relatively limited. Projects in the REACT program will focus on finding rare earth substitutes for electric vehicle motors and wind generators. The DOE has committed up to $30 million for REAC projects.

Learn more about the latest round of funding and the five new program areas by visiting the ARPA-E website.

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