Energy research receives ARPA funds
The DOE is offering $100 million for innovative energy research projects in grid storage, power converters, and cooling systems for buildings.
The Dept. of Energy (DOE) has issued three Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) on March 2 that offer $100 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the third round of its Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) program.
The FOAs, announced at the first ARPA-E summit in Washington, D.C., are focused on innovations in three areas of technology: grid storage, power converters, and cooling systems for buildings. The goal is to promote U.S. leadership in the emerging global market for these advanced energy technologies, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing U.S. electrical consumption by as much as 30%.
Specifically, the ARPA-E program aims to support the development of modular, cost-effective, grid-scale energy storage technologies, including advanced system prototypes and proof-of-concept projects that address critical shortcomings of existing grid-scale energy storage technologies.
For power converters, the ARPA-E program seeks fundamental advances in soft (non-permanent) magnets, high-voltage switches, and high-density charge storage. By coupling these to advanced circuit architectures and scalable manufacturing, the program aims to leapfrog existing power converter performance while offering reductions in cost. The program breaks down power converters into three categories: chip-scale power converters; kilowatt-scale power converters for grid-tied photovoltaic systems and variable-speed motors; and medium-voltage energy converters for high-power applications, such as electrical substations and wind turbine generators.
For building cooling technologies, the program seeks cooling systems that use refrigerants with low global warming potential, efficient air conditioning systems for warm and humid climates, and vapor-compression air conditioning systems for hot climates. Technologies should ideally be suited for both retrofits and new cooling systems.
Concept papers must be submitted by April 2, but the deadline for complete applications has not yet been determined.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey