The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $175 million for 68 research and development projects aimed at developing disruptive technologies to strengthen the nation’s advanced energy enterprise. Led by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the OPEN 2021 program prioritizes funding high-impact, high-risk technologies that support novel approaches to clean energy challenges.
The selected projects – spanning 22 states and coordinated at universities, national laboratories and private companies – will advance technologies for a wide range of areas, including electric vehicles, offshore wind, storage and nuclear recycling. These investments support President Biden’s climate goals to increase production of domestic clean energy technology, strengthen the nation’s energy security, and uplift the economy by creating good-paying jobs.
“Universities, companies and our national labs are doubling down on advancing clean energy technology innovation and manufacturing in America to deliver critical energy solutions from renewables to fusion energy to tackle the climate crisis,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s investments show our commitment to empowering innovators to develop bold plans to help America achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, create clean energy, good-paying jobs and strengthen our energy independence.”
The selected projects include technologies such as revolutionizing fuel cells for light- and heavy-duty vehicles. Carnegie Mellon University will work to electrify the nation’s vehicles by developing more efficient fuel cells that could enable low-cost, high-efficiency options for trucks and SUVs with an award amount of $3,220,310. For the full selectee list and more detailed project descriptions, visit the ARPA-E OPEN 2021 webpage.
Among the first of billions of dollars for research and development opportunities that DOE announced last year to address the climate crisis, OPEN 2021 is ARPA-E’s latest installment of the OPEN program. The first four iterations – 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 – awarded over $600 million in funding to 225 projects working to achieve breakthroughs in commercializing a variety of energy solutions, including in the development of transformative solar, geothermal, batteries, biofuels and advanced surface coating technologies.
Since its founding in 2009, ARPA-E has provided $2.93 billion in R&D funding, and ARPA-E projects have attracted more than $7.6 billion in private sector follow-on funding to commercialize clean energy technologies and create sustainable clean energy jobs. Previous ARPA-E awardees have also gone on to achieve breakthroughs in commercializing a variety of energy solutions, including in the development of transformative solar, geothermal, batteries, biofuels and advanced surface coating technologies.