Five Energy Company Pioneers

09/02/2011 |


Vice President Joe Biden announced a milestone for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0.  Five pioneering energy companies have attracted more than $100 million in outside private capital investment.  These energy innovators could change the way Americans use and produce energy.

"America is at its best when we innovate – and ARPA-E supports the very best of American innovation. These five companies are swinging for the fences, pioneering new technologies that could help answer the energy challenge and create jobs,” says Vice President Biden. “They illustrate how a small but strategic investment by the federal government can pay big dividends down the road and bring into the market groundbreaking new technologies.”

The five companies receiving attention and their innovations are as follows:

Phononic Devices (Raleigh, NC) - ARPA-E funding $3 million – private funding $11 million

Phononic Devices is designing devices to capture wasted heat produced by factories, power plants and vehicles, and convert it directly into usable electric power.  These “thermoelectric” devices are also being designed to remove heat so they can be used as efficient cooling systems.

Primus Power (Hayward, CA) - ARPA-E funding $2 million – private funding $11 million

Primus Power has developed a battery using high energy fluids that are pumped throughout the battery. This “flow battery” can store renewable energy such as wind and solar power and then release that energy into the grid during peak load times.

OPX Biotechnologies (Boulder, CO) - ARPA-E funding $6 million – private funding $36.5 million

Scientists at OPX Biotechnologies are developing bacteria to produce a liquid biofuel using electricity and carbon dioxide. This liquid biofuel is being designed to replace petroleum fuel at a competitive cost.  The project combines OPX’s technological capabilities with expertise in bacteria from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Stanford University (Stanford, CA) - ARPA-E funding $1.5 million – private funding $25 million

Professor Fritz Prinz at Stanford University is commercializing a new type of energy storage device that will perform many of the same jobs as a normal battery. It will also deliver greater energy and power and withstand 1,000s of charges without showing a significant drop in performance.

Transphorm (Goleta, CA) - ARPA-E funding $3 million – private funding $25 million

Transphorm is developing compact and efficient semiconductor devices that can quickly switch electrical currents. The aim is to reduce wasted power from electric motors, thereby reducing energy consumption.

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