US DOE awards funding for smart grid projects


Steven Chu, U.S.
Energy Secretary
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 13, 2010 – U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu yesterday announced funding of $92 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for research on clean energy technologies, including projects that will advance the development of the smart grid.

The three focus areas of the 43 projects, which are funded through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), are grid-scale energy storage, power electronics, and building energy efficiency, and they are aimed at dramatically improving how the U.S. uses and produces energy.

The “Grid-scale rampable intermittent dispatchable storage” (GRIDS) program seeks to develop revolutionary new storage technologies that exhibit energy, cost, and cycle life comparable to pumped hydropower, but which are modular and can be widely implemented at any location across the power grid. In particular, energy storage will be needed to enable the widespread use of wind and solar power. Projects focus on various types of storage, including superconducting magnetic energy, flywheels, a rechargeable zinc”manganese oxide battery, a metal”air energy storage system, and soluble lead flow battery technology.

The “Agile delivery of electrical power technology” (ADEPT) program is aimed at exploring integrated circuits that incorporate high voltage transistors and high performance magnetic materials in applications including light weight chargers for electric vehicles and miniature power supplies for electronics products, in order to improve the efficiency and cost of power conversion and switching, and reduce losses. Among the projects being funded is one to develop a compact, low cost battery charger for electric vehicles – with $5.06 million to HRL Laboratories, LLC, this is the largest award – and another to develop a dynamic switching system using direct AC converter cells that could dramatically reduce smart grid implementation costs.

In the third program, building energy efficiency through innovative thermodevices (BEET-IT), the focus is on developing new approaches and technologies for cooling in buildings to dramatically improve energy efficiency and reduce the use of refrigerants and their impact on climate change.

“These innovative ideas will play a critical role in our energy security and economic growth,” said Secretary Chu. “It is now more important than ever to invest in a new, clean energy economy.”

To view the complete list of projects click HERE