The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced up to $30 million in funding for a new program for technologies that use renewable energy to convert air and water into cost-competitive liquid fuels. ARPA-E’s Renewable Energy to Fuels through Utilization of Energy-dense Liquids (REFUEL) program seeks to develop technologies that use renewable energy to convert air and water into Carbon Neutral Liquid Fuels (CNLF), which can be stored, transported, and later converted into hydrogen or electricity to provide power for transportation.
In the transportation sector, most vehicles use liquid fuels like gasoline and diesel. Liquid fuels have several advantages: they are energy dense, can be stored for long periods, and can be distributed using existing infrastructure. However, use of liquid fossil fuels, including gasoline and diesel, emits significant amounts of CO2.
REFUEL seeks to develop technologies that convert water and air into CNLFs using chemical or electrochemical processes powered by renewable electricity sources, such as wind and solar. By transforming renewable resources into liquid fuels, renewable power can be stored for longer periods and transported efficiently and inexpensively as liquids via existing infrastructure to consumers. REFUEL also targets technologies that convert CNLFs into electricity or into hydrogen to power zero-emission vehicles.
Under REFUEL, ARPA-E will allocate up to $5 million to small businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, with up to $25 million made available to all applicants.
ARPA-E is encouraging outstanding scientists and engineers from different organizations, scientific disciplines, and technology sectors to form new project teams for the REFUEL program. ARPA-E believes that interdisciplinary and cross-organizational collaborations can facilitate scientific and technological discoveries that a single group alone would not be able to achieve.
More information on the REFUEL Teaming Partner Arrangements and the full REFUEL Funding Opportunity Announcement can be found here. Information on REFUEL SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity Announcement can be found here.