Government’s Projects to Enhance the Grid with Advanced Technologies

Date: Sept. 13, 2016

“ARPA-E: The First Seven Years,” an extensive new 135-page report from the U.S Department of Energy, offers a comprehensive overview of the U.S. Government’s many programs to enrich the efficiency of our nation’s power grid.

Some of the information in the report, which includes in-depth case studies of individual research projects, is nothing short of eye-opening. If you have any involvement with microgrids, you’ll want to download a copy and review it carefully. Here are some of the highlights.


The Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) was founded in 2007. It has since provided approximately $1.3 billion to fund more than 475 projects in these main areas:

  • Electricity generation
  • Electrical grids and storage
  • Efficiency and emissions
  • Transportation and storage

A Sampling of the Many Projects Funded

  • ADEPT (Agile Delivery of Electric Power Technology), started in 2010, has studied the use of wide-band-gap semiconductors for high-power, high-current applications
  • AMPED (Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices), started in 2012, has partnered with the Department of Defense to study the nation’s battery storage system.
  • BEEST (Batteries for Electric Energy Storage in Transportation), started in 2010, has researched the use of alternative chemicals in storage batteries.
  • CHARGES (Cycling Hardware to Analyze and Ready Grid-Scale Electricity Storage), started in 2014, is currently conducting tests of new grid-scale batteries at two test sites.
  • FOCUS (Full Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight), started in 2014, is developing ways to capture both photovoltaic and thermal solar energy.
  • GRIDS (Grid Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage), started in 2010, has researched and developed grid-scale batteries.
  • NEXTCAR (Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles), started in 2015, is developing ways to reduce automotive energy use.
  • SOLAR ADEPT (Solar Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology), started in 2011, has studied ways to better integrate solar power into the grid.

The report also includes in-depth case studies of individual projects funded, including the Zinc-Air Grid Energy Storage program at Arizona State University, The Grid-Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage program at City University of New York, and the Small Organic Molecule Based Flow Battery for Grid Storage project at Harvard.

As we noted at the start of today’s post, this is a comprehensive and exciting report. Thanks to Uncle Sam, it’s free to download and review. We think you will benefit from it greatly.

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