DOE Awards Funds To ‘Transformational’ Energy Projects

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has selected six ‘transformational’ energy research and development projects to receive $9.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects round out the selections made by the Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

The projects include two solar research initiatives. Teledyne Scientific & Imaging LLC, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., received a $500,000 award for its research of optofluidic solar concentrators. Currently, tracking of solar radiation in concentrated photovoltaic systems is provided by mechanical means with multiple moving parts, which raises reliability concerns, the DOE explains.

This project will develop an electrowetting-based dynamic liquid prism to track both the daily and seasonal changes of the sun's orbit for concentrating photovoltaics and reduce capital costs through increased operational efficiency by eliminating bulky mechanical tracking, according to the DOE.

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) received $2.4 million in funding for its research of thermal energy storage with supercritical fluids.

Two-tank molten salt is currently the preferred state-of-the-art thermal energy storage for solar thermal power plants. The UCLA-led team will develop and implement a supercritical fluid-based thermal energy storage system that will potentially increase the energy density by over a factor of two compared to the two-tank molten salt system, with a cost less than 70% of the molten salt system.

The proposals were reviewed based on scientific and technical merit and the potential to dramatically advance national energy and economic goals. In addition to the projects ARPA-E selected as part of previous funding opportunity announcements, these awards bring the organization's total to 121 high-risk projects funding through the Recovery Act.

SOURCE: U.S. Department Of Energy

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