R&D is never a bad thing, especially when it has the potential to create new jobs for Americans. Recently, a federal-funded program distributed $156 million to 60 different projects focused on developing new green technology and energy efficient solutions.
The US Department of Energy branch, established in 2009, called the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), is providing the funding. Sound familiar? The agency was modeled after the Department of Defense program that funds new technology research, most of which eventually becomes widely used by the public.
In the announcement released Thursday September 29, ARPA-E director, Arun Majumdar, equated the green tech race to the Sputnik space race of the 50s, explaining that to compete in the global marketplace, America must create new jobs and sellable products instead of outsourcing from abroad.
The funding will primarily be going to educational institutions and national research labs, although some will be going to private companies such as General Electric.
The funding will benefit projects involving research into plant engineering and oil alternatives, rare-earth independence, advanced thermal storage, green electricity and solar electrical power. For example, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is working on re-engineering plants so that they use energy more efficiently. University of Houston is developing high-performance, low-cost superconductors for wind generators. And the Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) is creating high-energy density thermal fuel.
To learn more about the projects and the institutions that are developing them, please visit http://arpa-e.energy.gov and click on its ‘news’ section. Without high-risk investments in cutting-edge research, there can be no high reward.