Navy Sec: DOD and ARPA-E Launch 2 Energy Storage Projects

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The Secretary of the Navy Raymond Mabus announced two new projects at the ARPA-E Summit on Wednesday between the Department of Defense and ARPA-E — the Department of Energy’s high-risk early stage grant program — that will focus on energy storage. The idea is that the DOD will harness its experience with DARPA, which led to the creation of the Internet and GPS, to work with ARPA-E to create defense applications for the ever-increasing appetite for energy for soldiers and marines.

The first initiative will work on developing hybrid energy storage modules that can be made to be long endurance, high energy density, and fit in a small modular and easily-scalable package, said Mabus. This type of device could lead to more stored energy for use on the battle field and at sea, and could lead to less effort and money going into getting fuel to these remote places.

Mabus said for fiscal year 2012, the DOD and ARPA-E have requested $25 million each (total $50 million) for the hybrid energy storage module project. Mabus noted that $25 million is the cost of one helicopter, but that if the energy storage technology is successful it could multiply the benefits of that helicopter “hundreds of thousands of times.”

The second project will fund grid storage studies to evaluate how to improve energy reliability and improve security of more than 500 DOD grid installations worldwide. This project would leverage the experience of the ARPA-E grid program, which has looked into ways to make the grid more reliable with clean power, said Mabus.

These projects could turn into consumer applications one day, said Mabus, and pointed out the experience that the DARPA program had moving the Internet and GPS into real world commercial products, which eventually emerged as consumer products.

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Image courtesy of the Joint Chief of Staffs.

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