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Bill Loveless from Platts Energy Week interviews ARPA-E Acting Director, Dr. Cheryl Martin, about the many transformational energy technologies on display at ARPA-E's 5th annual Energy Innovation Summit.
Allowing people to refuel natural gas vehicles at home could revolutionize the way we power our cars and trucks. Currently, our nation faces two challenges in enabling natural gas for transportation. The first is improving the way gas tanks are built for natural gas vehicles; they need to be conformable, allowing them to fit tightly into the vehicle.
The electric grid was designed with the assumption that all energy generation sources would be relatively controllable, and grid operators would always be able to predict when and where those sources would be located. With the addition of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which can be installed faster than traditional generation technologies, this is no longer the case.
The U.S. military has a vested interest in advancing microgrid technologies that can power forward operating bases. These technologies could not only help the military significantly reduce its energy demand both at home and abroad, but also they could reduce the number of fuel-supply convoys required on the battlefield and the number of troops killed in fuel-supply convoy attacks.
ARPA-E’s PETRO program was created to supply the transportation sector with plant-derived fuels that are cost-competitive with petroleum and don’t affect U.S. food supply. This video highlights the role that ARPA-E has played in connecting traditionally distinct research areas to inform the research and development efforts of PETRO project teams.

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