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New ARPA-E Awards Announced, with Low-Temp Geothermal Development Project at Yale

On November 28, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced 66 transformational or breakthrough technology projects to receive a total $130 million in a new round of funding through the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) "OPEN 2012" program. An award for $2,648,074 will be negotiated for a Yale University project with geothermal aspects that could help lower costs for low-temperature development.

The “Power Generation from Waste Heat with Closed-Loop” project plan is to develop a system for electricity generation from low-temperature waste heat at power plants, industrial, facilities, and geothermal wells. From the project description, “This system will use waste heat and the difference in salt content between two liquid streams to create electricity through membrane processes known as pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) or reverse electrodialysis (RED).”

Texas A&M University and e Nova, Inc. in Texas also received awards for projects on waste heat (for $1,700,000 and $640,000, respectively), but did not specify implications for geothermal wells. The Texas A&M project will use a metal hydride to produce a flow of high-pressure hydrogen; the e Nova project will
develop a gas compressor powered by waste heat.

The DOE (Energy.gov) said in a statement, “The projects were selected through a merit-based process from thousands of concept papers and hundreds of full applications. The projects are based in 24 states, with approximately 47% of the projects led by universities, 29% by small businesses, 15% by large businesses, 7.5% by national labs, and 1.5% by nonprofits. Today’s announcement brings ARPA-E’s total portfolio of projects to about 285 projects for a total of approximately $770 million in awards.”

This article was originally published in GEA Geothermal Weekly and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Geothermal geyser via Shutterstock

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