ARPA-E Announces New Funding Opportunity for High-Efficiency Distributed Generation Systems

ARPA-E today announced up to $20 million in funding for a new program to reduce the cost and increase the energy efficiency associated with providing electric power to commercial and industrial end users. 

ARPA-E’s Innovative Natural-gas Technologies for Efficiency Gain in Reliable and Affordable Thermochemical Electricity-generation (INTEGRATE) program will develop advanced natural gas fueled, distributed electric generation systems with conversion efficiencies of more than 70% —double the current average delivered efficiency of utility-scale, fossil-fueled plants. The INTEGRATE program seeks to achieve this unprecedented efficiency level at an attractive cost by developing fuel cell and engine hybrid system concepts and enabling technologies. These systems would ultimately be used by both commercial and industrial end users—including hospitals, hotels, office buildings, factories, and others.

The U.S. electric system is dominated by large, central power plants and an extensive transmission and distribution system commonly referred to as the “grid.” While this system is one of the greatest technical achievements of the 20th Century, the centralized power model remains highly energy inefficient, losing approximately two-thirds of the primary energy potential of the supplied fuel (e.g. coal or natural gas) during generation and transmission. There is an opportunity, however, to replace at least a portion of this centralized system with a more efficient and cost-effective distributed model. INTEGRATE program technology would seek to overcome key technical barriers to enabling a highly flexible, efficient, distributed energy alternative, potentially dramatically increasing the efficiency of our electric system while reducing cost and increasing resiliency. 

ARPA E encourages outstanding scientists, engineers, and practitioners from different organizations, scientific disciplines, and technology sectors to form new project teams for the INTEGRATE program. ARPA E believes that interdisciplinary and cross-organizational collaborations can facilitate scientific and technological discoveries that a single group alone would not be able to achieve. 

The deadline to submit a Concept Paper for INTEGRATE is 5 p.m. ET on September 11, 2017. Additional information, including the full FOA and how to find project teaming partners, is available on ARPA-E’s online application portal, ARPA-E eXCHANGE