Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Powering Innovation

Chemical and Engineering News
July 11, 2011 Volume 89, Number 28pp. 27 - 30
by Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay

Energy Department’s latest programs target critical energy challenges
The Department of Energy is gunning to accelerate innovative energy R&D in the U.S. In the past two years, the agency has funded three new initiatives: Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), Energy Innovation Hubs, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The programs’ scales and operations are different, but the idea is the same: Give teams of scientists and engineers the resources to solve the U.S.’s most pressing energy challenges—quickly.

The EFRCs, hubs, and ARPA-E joined DOE’s portfolio of programs starting in 2009. Since then, DOE has funded 46 EFRCs, three hubs, and 121 projects across ARPA-E’s seven programs. T. Brent Gunnoe, a chemist at the University of Virginia and a director of an EFRC, says the new programs complement the individual principal investigator’s (PI) efforts traditionally funded by DOE and enhance the national energy research portfolio by aggressively focusing on alternatives to petroleum-based fuels and other long-standing energy issues.

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