Posted: 26 Oct 2009 12:05 PM PDT
The Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency announced its first grant awards Monday morning, handing out more than $150 million for what the agency describes as "bold, transformational" energy projects.
The fledgling "Darpa for energy" bet between half a million and 9 million dollars on 37 companies and universities.
The lion's share of the grant money went to energy-storage projects followed by biomass-energy technologies and then renewable power like wind and solar. That said, the money was spread pretty evenly among the agency's areas of interest. Of the 10 technological categories, seven of them received more than $10 million, and none received more than $30 million. Oil and gas received the least money with a sole project garnering $1 million.
The largest wards went to Foro Energy and DuPont, which received $9.1 and $9 million, respectively. Foro, which does not appear to have a website, has a new geothermal drilling technique that could provide faster drilling with less wear on drill bits. DuPont is trying to produce butanol from seaweed.
ARPA-E was created on paper in 2007 by George W. Bush, but had no actual funding until its budget was passed as part of President Barack Obama's stimulus package, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The DOE was allocated $36.7 billion when Obama signed the bill into law in February.
Since then, energy industry watchers have eagerly waited to see where the agency would put its chips. In August, 99 percent of applicants to the program received a rejection letter. The winners are now detailed in this Wired.com Google Spreadsheet and at the Department of Energy.
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