Yesterday the Department of Energy announced that $92 million in Recovery Act funding would be awarded through the organization’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) for energy research projects in 18 states. The projects fall into three main categories: Grid-Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage (GRIDS), Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (ADEPT), and Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices (BEET-IT).

GRIDS projects will focus on energy storage. The lack of energy storage is preventing the widespread implementation of wind and solar energy systems. Once the energy storage issue is addressed, these two key sources of renewable energy will be better prepared to meet the energy demands of our nation. Projects receiving GRIDS funding include a flywheel program at Boeing and a compressed air energy storage process at General Compression in Newton, Massachusetts.

The purpose of the ADEPT projects is to reduce the amount of energy lost between the point of generation and the time in which we can use it. Project focuses include the creation of an ultra-compact silicon carbide plug-in hybrid electric vehicle charger by Arkansas Power Electronics International and a new chip converter for notebook computers by a team of researchers based out of Virginia Tech.

The final category includes projects that will help improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Buildings are responsible for a large portion of both energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and improvements in this sector will have a far-reaching impact.

If you live in the South or another area of the country prone to warm and humid summers, a project at The Advanced Materials Group (ADMA) may be of interest to you. ADMA has received more than $3 million to advance their project to create a product that will provide buildings with a highly efficient cooling system that also dehumidifies the air while saving the building owner money on energy costs.

Architectural Applications in Portland, Oregon also received funding for a dehumidification research project. The organization received $458k to develop a product that recycles exhausted air to help cool the building. The technology will use the exhausted air to cool and dehumidify incoming air, which could be 25 to 40 percent more efficient than a conventional air-cooling system.

These are just a few examples of the dozens of projects that have received funding through the DOE’s ARPA-E program. For more information, download the DOE’s ARPA-E Project Selections July 12, 2010 data sheet (PDF).

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