U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Wednesday announced a $30 million research competition intended to improve the performance and safety of energy storage devices, including hybrid energy storage modules being developed by the Department of Defense for military applications.
Through its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), the Department of Energy (DOE) is funding the “Advanced Management and Protection of Energy-storage Devices” (AMPED) program, to “seek out transformational, breakthrough energy storage technologies that are too risky for private-sector investment but have the potential to translate science into quantum leaps in energy technology, form the foundation for entirely new industries, and have large commercial impacts,” the DOE said in its press release.
“Innovation is our nation’s sweet spot, and it is critically important that we look at every possible energy solution in order to ensure America’s future prosperity and security,” said Secretary Steven Chu. “Through the AMPED competition, we are charging our nation’s best and brightest to develop more effective energy storage technologies, which are used in everything from cell phones to electric vehicles to high-powered military equipment.”
Specifically, AMPED technologies have the potential to:
- Create a new generation of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.
- Increase the fuel efficiency of military generators to help reduce the need for fuel-convoys on the battlefield.
- Improve the reliability of military aircraft generators to help to reduce operation and maintenance costs.
- Enable next generation high power weapons systems and fuel efficient operations for Navy ships.
- Enhance the efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electricity grid.
Since President Obama launched ARPA-E in 2009, the program has invested over $500 million in 12 programs, which has resulted in about 180 groundbreaking projects. Yesterday’s announcement is ARPA-E’s third funding opportunity for 2012. The DOE announced last year that 11 of its projects secured more than $200 million in outside private capital investment after initial funding from its programs.