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Program Description:

In 2021, ARPA-E issued its fifth open funding opportunity designed to catalyze transformational breakthroughs across the entire spectrum of energy technologies. ARPA-E received thousands of concept papers for OPEN 2021, which hundreds of scientists and engineers reviewed over the course of several months. ARPA-E selected 68 projects for its OPEN 2021 program, awarding them $175 million in federal funding. OPEN 2021 projects cut across the technology areas of building efficiency, distributed energy resources, electrical efficiency, generation, grid, manufacturing efficiency, resource efficiency, storage, transportation energy conversion, transportation fuels, transportation network, transportation storage, and transportation vehicles.

Innovation Need:

Much of ARPA-E’s funding is awarded to projects in specific energy-related technology areas, but ARPA-E also provides open funding opportunities for high-potential projects that address the full range of energy-related technologies and concepts. ARPA‑E announces OPEN funding opportunities periodically and evaluates submissions based on their compatibility with the agency’s mission, the novelty of their approach to energy innovation, and the extent to which they meet technical needs currently underserved by other parts of the Department of Energy or private sector.

Potential Impact:

Game-changing advancements from OPEN 2021 would help ARPA-E achieve its mission and ensure the U.S. maintains a lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.


Increased access to, and use of, domestically produced sources of energy would help increase U.S. energy.


Developing new and sustainable energy sources reduces U.S. reliance on fossil fuels that create harmful greenhouse gas emissions.


Inexpensive energy sources would help reduce costs to millions of American consumers and small business owners.


Program Director:
Multiple Program Directors manage this program.
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Project Listing

• California Institute of Technology - A Hybrid Electrochemical and Catalytic Compression System for Direct Generation of High-Pressure Hydrogen at 700 Bar
• Carnegie Mellon University - Ionomer-Free Electrodes for Ultrahigh Power Density Fuel Cells
• Chilldyne - Helical Turbulator for Robust Nucleate Boiling Cold Plate
• Columbia University - Lithium Ion Bobbin Cells for Grid Scale Energy Storage
• Copernic Catalysts, Inc. - In-Silico Heterogeneous Catalyst Design for GHG Reduction via Bulk Chemicals
• Foro Energy, Inc. - Eliminating Methane Emissions From Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells
• Illinois Institute of Technology - Direct Conversion of Flue Gas to Value-Added Chemicals Using a Carbon -Nuetral Process
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Liquid Immersion Blanket: Robust Accountancy (LIBRA)
• Nokia of America Corporation - Delivering Energy & Exergy Efficiency in the Converged 5G RAN/EDGE Compute Network
• Precision Combustion, Inc. - Additively-Manufactured Electrochemical-Chip Based Scalable Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
• Princeton University - Economical Proton-Boron11 Fusion
• SixPoint Materials, Inc. - Vertical GaN Photoconductive Semiconductor Switch for HVDC Breakers
• Stanford University - Additive Manufacturing of Amorphous Metal Soft Magnetic Composites
• Synteris, LLC - Breaking the Board: Bringing 3 Dimensional Packaging and Thermal Management to Power Electronics
• University of California, Berkeley - Integrated System for Electromicrobial Production of Butanol from Air-Captured CO2
• University of Houston - Mini-PulPS: Miniaturized Pulsed Power Systems for Mission Critical Applications
• University of Michigan - Battery Separator for Completely Stopping Dendrite
• University of Washington - Harvesting Infrared Light to Improve Photosynthetic Biomass Production
• Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Substation in a Cable for Adaptable, Low-cost Electrical Distribution (SCALED)