Issue Date: February 20, 2012
Six ARPA-E Projects Killed
Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced last week that DOE terminated six research projects funded through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) after they failed to make adequate progress. The six were among 180 projects to receive a total of $522 million through the three-year-old program intended to encourage development of high-risk but potentially game-changing technologies. These cuts mark the first time ongoing ARPA-E projects have been axed. Chu said the terminations were made by mutual consent after milestones could not be met. The projects received $13.2 million and returned $3.6 million to the U.S. Treasury, ARPA-E head Arun Majumdar tells C&EN. The projects are Material Methods’ advanced phononic heat pump, NanOasis Technologies’ nanotube membrane reverse-osmosis water treatment technology, Inorganic Specialists’ advanced lithium-ion battery, Nalco’s carbon dioxide capture system, Iowa State University’s microalgae-based biofuels technology, and United Technologies Research Center’s CO2 capture system. DOE has emphasized that all ARPA-E projects are risky, will be closely monitored, and could be terminated or restructured throughout the funding period, which usually runs from three to five years.
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