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Just a few months after the Obama administration set aside $400 million for high-risk clean energy research projects, the Department of Energy has narrowed the pool of some 3,500 applicants down to about a couple hundred. This week, the DOE completed its evaluation of the initial […]

doe-logoJust a few months after the Obama administration set aside $400 million for high-risk clean energy research projects, the Department of Energy has narrowed the pool of some 3,500 applicants down to about a couple hundred. This week, the DOE completed its evaluation of the initial concept papers — meant to outline “the kernel” of applicants’ technical ideas, as President Obama put it earlier this year — and have chosen the ones that stand the best chance of winning funds under the so-called ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) program, greenlighting them to submit full applications.

Given that the program has been around since 2007 but didn’t get funding from Congress until the stimulus package passed earlier this year, and in light of the delays seen in other government energy programs, it’s encouraging that feedback is going out on schedule at this point. According to Elise Zoli, a partner at law firm Goodwin Procter, who moderated a panel on Thursday at the AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford about how venture capitalists and startups can work with federal policymakers, only hundreds of applications were expected in the original application process. Of those that were submitted, an estimated 4-10 percent (around 140-350) have been given the nod to proceed with a full proposal.

For the projects that have made it through this first round, teams now have less than a month to complete their proposals. The DOE has not released many details about this week’s selections, but we do have an idea of what the agency is looking for. As we explained earlier this year, when the feds first provided guidelines for ARPA-E, they made clear that the ideal project would have a “multi-disciplinary” technical idea that could reduce dependency on oil imports, improve energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or give the U.S. an edge when it comes to the deployment of energy technologies.

In other words, the basic idea is to think really, really big. In its solicitation for the program, the DOE explained, “We are not looking for incremental progress on current technologies.” It wants transformation, and it wants to make investments that are too financially or technically risky for the private sector to buy into them.

For cleantech startups and researchers, the program could help bridge a critical funding gap, providing up to $20 million in aid to, as the WSJ’s Environmental Capital blog put it, “make moonshots reality.” The DOE is specifically looking for ideas and technologies facing what’s called the  “valley of death,” where many capital-intensive startups fall flat because they can’t find financing for a critical phase of development or commercialization.

If you missed the deadline for this round, keep an eye on FedConnect.net, where the DOE will post additional solicitations for ARPA-E proposals “in the near future.” Don’t be discouraged, Zoli said. “It takes time” to make headway in Washington, she said. “You have to keep coming back.”

  1. [...] http://earth2tech.com/2009/07/31/doe-winnows-down-pool-for-high-risk-energy-tech-funds/#more-38153 This entry was posted in Sustainability, energy, politics and tagged clean energy, government. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Car Mileage Changes Upgrade Clunkers [...]

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  2. douglas puckett Saturday, August 1, 2009

    my self charging battery rus a all electric car for as long as you want to drive . you dont plug in for recharge and you dont use any motor from gas and this battery recharges at night or day . i use a 12 volt acid battery 3 phases of water for pos. /neg./ and neutrall. useing a copper coil in neutral hooked to neg. and pos. by copper wire and magnet on reverse sides of water with magnettic energized stater to make cycle for the battery to stay charged while it is in use or not . a compasator is useing the water for a electric current that builds up electric faster than a all electric car can use so the extra neutron and proton are stored with the water . this is having lighting in a box but under control with regulators . this means no gas used and no power grid used to recharge . this is its own self power supply that never needs help from anything . this is the future for cars homes planes trains whatever runs on electric . from douglas puckett in kentucky

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  3. [...] A team of 500 scientists from U.S. universities considered 3,600 preliminary proposals, and invited 300 of those teams to submit complete proposals this [...]

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  4. [...] in stimulus funds is one of the largest U.S. public funds for cleantech ever, there have been way more great applications filed and proposals submitted. Rogers said 70 to 80 percent of the applicants for ARPA-e funds were turned down — there [...]

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