Obama Administration Launches Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)
By Jim Lane
April 29, 2009
Major announcements came from Washington regarding new advanced projects energy research funding and rules for offshore development.
The Administration announced the launch of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was authorized by Congress in 2007 and funded through the $400 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
ARPA-E will develop new energy technologies that offer significant progress toward reducing imported energy; reducing energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; and improving energy efficiency. DOE will offer individual awards of $500,000 to $20 million based on eight-page “concept papers” that briefly outline the technical concept, which would lead to grants, cooperative agreements, or Technology Investment Agreements, with the latter two most likely because of the need for substantial interaction between ARPA-E and the awardees. Concept papers can be submitted to DOE from May 12 through June 2. The full solicitation is here with a reference number DE-FOA-0000065.
Finally, the Administration established a framework for development of renewable energy projects on the US outer continental shelf.
Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol. Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program. Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector. On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline. Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.