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Three New Technologies for Cleaner Energy

PNNL leads one ARPA-E project, collaborates on two others

December 2015
Flow Cells will combine components of two established technologies: a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer and a redox flow battery (redox flow battery electrolytes are pictured).

Three technologies—a computational tool to improve power grid planning, a process to create biofuel from kelp and a hybrid device that makes hydrogen and stores energy—are being developed by PNNL and its partners under new projects just announced by the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E.

"The ARPA-E projects selected today highlight how American ingenuity can spur innovation and generate a wide range of technology options to address our nation's most pressing energy issues," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a DOE news release.

The three projects are among 41 new technologies that were awarded a total of $125 million; they include:

  • High-Performance Power-Grid Operation (or HIPPO): Explores and enhances algorithms on high-performance super computers that perform multiple mathematical procures at the same time in order to develop day-ahead generation plans for participants in energy markets. The project is led by PNNL and partners include GE's Grid Solutions (formerly known as Alstom Grid), Midcontinent Independent Service Operator (also known as MISO), and Gurobi Optimization. ARPA-E awarded the project a total of about $3.1 million over three years.
  • Flow Cell: Develops a new prototype that is a cross between a flow battery and an electrolyzer, which can either create hydrogen to power fuel cells or store energy to balance electricity demand. The project is led by Proton OnSite, and co-led by PNNL. ARPA-E awarded the project a total of about $2.5 million over three years, with PNNL and Proton Onsite each receiving approximately $1.25M.
  • Biofuel from Seaweed: Tests methods for the growth and cultivation of giant kelp in the ocean. Once farmed, the kelp will be converted into biocrude oil and other hydrocarbon liquids by combining methods for hydrothermal liquefaction, catalytic hydrothermal gasification, and hydrotreating. Partners include lead Marine BioEnergy, Inc. and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego. ARPA-E awarded the project a total of about $2.1 million over three years, with approximately $479,000 going to PNNL.

For more information on these three projects, read the PNNL press release.

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