Grid-free Renewable Energy Enabling New Ways to Economical Liquids and Long-term Storage SBIR/STTR (GREENWELLS SBIR/STTR)

Active
No
Status
Posted
Published Date
December 12th, 2023
Close Date
April 18th, 2024
Total Funding
$38,000,000.00
Award Ceiling
$4,300,000.00
Award Floor
$306,872.00
Expected No. Awards
15
Opportunity No.
DE-FOA-0003235

Agency

Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (DOE-ARPAE)

Eligible Applicants

Small Businesses

Funding Category

Science and Technology and other Research and Development

Funding Instrument

Other

Opportunity Category

Discretionary

Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement

Yes

Additional Information

https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov

Summary

The federal grant notice titled "Grid-free Renewable Energy Enabling New Ways to Economical Liquids and Long-term Storage SBIR/STTR (GREENWELLS SBIR/STTR)" is being offered by the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E). This grant opportunity is aimed at producing sustainable carbon-containing liquids from renewable energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) by developing dynamically operable reactor systems that can utilize cheap, intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar. The purpose of this grant is to address the challenges in interconnecting renewable energy projects to the electric grid. Currently, the wait times for wind and solar projects from interconnection request to operation can take up to four years. This grant aims to find a method to use renewable energy without grid interconnection, which can accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and provide cost-effective energy carriers for long- and medium-term energy storage. Additionally, this grant seeks to develop technological solutions for transportation sectors, such as aviation, marine, and heavy-duty vehicles, to lower their emissions. Alternative fuels and power trains are being explored for these sectors, and low-carbon fuels derived from power-to-liquids (PtL) processes are being considered. However, the current cost of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived from PtL processes is around $10 per gallon (gal). This grant aims to reduce costs by minimizing high capital expenditure units and utilizing cheaper electricity sources like wind and solar power with no connection to the grid. The primary objective of the GREENWELLS program is to develop chemical reactors and supporting units that can economically store at least 50% of incoming intermittent electrical energy in carbon-containing liquids. The program expects that these reactors will need to be dynamically operable to optimize the entire system of renewable energy production, electrolysis capital, and energy storage. Various technical process approaches, such as thermal, electrochemical, plasmonic, photonic, and biological, are expected to be explored to address this problem. Successful projects under this grant will provide low-cost carbon-containing liquids that enable the transportation and storage of renewable energy. These liquids should be suitable for use in the difficult-to-decarbonize sectors and contribute to reducing energy-related emissions and imports of energy from foreign sources. The deadline for submissions to this grant is April 18, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. For more information and to access the full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), please visit the ARPA-E eXCHANGE website at https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov.

Description

To obtain a copy of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) please go to the ARPA-E website at https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov. To apply to this FOA, Applicants must register with and submit application materials through ARPA-E eXCHANGE (https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/Registration.aspx). For detailed guidance on using ARPA-E eXCHANGE, please refer to the ARPA-E eXCHANGE User Guide (https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/Manuals.aspx). ARPA-E will not review or consider concept papers submitted through other means. For problems with ARPA-E eXCHANGE, email ExchangeHelp@hq.doe.gov (with FOA name and number in the subject line). Questions about this FOA? Check the Frequently Asked Questions available at http://arpa-e.energy.gov/faq. For questions that have not already been answered, email ARPA-E-CO@hq.doe.gov. Agency Overview: The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), an organization within the Department of Energy (DOE), is chartered by Congress in the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-69), as amended by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358), as further amended by the Energy Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-260): “(A) to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States through the development of energy technologies that— (i) reduce imports of energy from foreign sources; (ii) reduce energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; (iii) improve the energy efficiency of all economic sectors; (iv) provide transformative solutions to improve the management, clean-up, and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel; and (v) improve the resilience, reliability, and security of infrastructure to produce, deliver, and store energy; and (B) to ensure that the United States maintains a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.” ARPA-E issues this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under its authorizing statute codified at 42 U.S.C. § 16538. The FOA and any cooperative agreements or grants made under this FOA are subject to 2 C.F.R. Part 200 as supplemented by 2 C.F.R. Part 910. ARPA-E funds research on, and the development of, transformative science and technology solutions to address the energy and environmental missions of the Department. The agency focuses on technologies that can be meaningfully advanced with a modest investment over a defined period of time in order to catalyze the translation from scientific discovery to early-stage technology. For the latest news and information about ARPA-E, its programs and the research projects currently supported, see: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/. ARPA-E funds transformational research. Existing energy technologies generally progress on established “learning curves” where refinements to a technology and the economies of scale that accrue as manufacturing and distribution develop drive improvements to the cost/performance metric in a gradual fashion. This continual improvement of a technology is important to its increased commercial deployment and is appropriately the focus of the private sector or the applied technology offices within DOE. In contrast, ARPA-E supports transformative research that has the potential to create fundamentally new learning curves. ARPA-E technology projects typically start with cost/performance estimates well above the level of an incumbent technology. Given the high risk inherent in these projects, many will fail to progress, but some may succeed in generating a new learning curve with a projected cost/performance metric that is significantly better than that of the incumbent technology. ARPA-E funds technology with the potential to be disruptive in the marketplace. The mere creation of a new learning curve does not ensure market penetration. Rather, the ultimate value of a technology is determined by the marketplace, and impactful technologies ultimately become disruptive – that is, they are widely adopted and displace existing technologies from the marketplace or create entirely new markets. ARPA-E understands that definitive proof of market disruption takes time, particularly for energy technologies. Therefore, ARPA-E funds the development of technologies that, if technically successful, have clear disruptive potential, e.g., by demonstrating capability for manufacturing at competitive cost and deployment at scale. ARPA-E funds applied research and development. The Office of Management and Budget defines “applied research” as an “original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge…directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective” and defines “experimental development” as “creative and systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience, which is directed at producing new products or processes or improving existing products or processes.” Applicants interested in receiving financial assistance for basic research (defined by the Office of Management and Budget as “experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts”) should contact the DOE’s Office of Science (http://science.energy.gov/). Office of Science national scientific user facilities (http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/) are open to all researchers, including ARPA-E Applicants and awardees. These facilities provide advanced tools of modern science including accelerators, colliders, supercomputers, light sources and neutron sources, as well as facilities for studying the nanoworld, the environment, and the atmosphere. Projects focused on early-stage R&D for the improvement of technology along defined roadmaps may be more appropriate for support through the DOE applied energy offices including: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (http://www.eere.energy.gov/), the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (https://www.energy.gov/fecm/office-fossil-energy-and-carbon-management), the Office of Nuclear Energy (http://www.energy.gov/ne/office-nuclear-energy), and the Office of Electricity (https://www.energy.gov/oe/office-electricity). Program Overview: The Grid-free Renewable Energy Enabling New Ways to Economical Liquids and Long-term Storage (GREENWELLS) program is targeted at producing sustainable carbon-containing liquids from renewable energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) by developing dynamically operable reactor systems that can take advantage of cheap, intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar. To meet current climate goals, dramatic increases in renewable energy deployment are required. Yet construction of renewables (particularly wind and solar) is hampered by challenges in interconnection to the electric grid. Wait times for wind and solar projects from interconnection request to operation now approach four years. A method to use renewable energy without grid interconnection can accelerate renewable deployment. This method could provide cost-effective energy carriers for long- and medium-term energy storage and potentially moderate imbalances of supply and demand in a high renewable penetration scenario. Simultaneously, transportation sectors, like aviation, marine, and heavy-duty vehicles, require technological solutions to lower their emissions. Alternative fuels and power trains are being developed for these difficult-to-decarbonize sectors with no clear economic winner. Low-carbon fuels can be a drop-in replacement, but are currently expensive, around $10 per gallon (gal) for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived from power-to-liquids (PtL) from a concentrated CO2 source. Costs can be reduced by minimizing high capital expenditure (CAPEX) units like hydrogen (H2) storage and by using cheaper electricity sources like wind and solar power with no connection to the grid. Projects that are independent from the grid can achieve lower overall costs and minimize project timelines and uncertainty, but this renewables-to-liquids (RtL) approach must grapple with the intermittency of wind and solar. The primary objective of the GREENWELLS program is the development of chemical reactors and supporting units that economically store at least 50% of incoming intermittent electrical energy in carbon-containing liquids. To achieve attractive economics, ARPA-E expects that chemical reactors will need to be dynamically operable to optimize the entire system of renewable energy production, electrolysis capital, and energy storage. Thermal, electrochemical, plasmonic, photonic, biological, and other technical process approaches are expected to potentially address this problem. The integration of these novel and known processes (e.g., oligomerization, water separation) in a dynamic system will be needed. If successful, the GREENWELLS program will provide low-cost carbon-containing liquids that (i) enable the transportation and storage of renewable energy, (ii) are suitable as-is or with upgrading for use in the difficult-to-decarbonize sectors, and (iii) will speed the development of new renewable energy projects by alleviating requirements for connection to an electric grid. With these goals, this program contributes to the ARPA-E statutory goals of “improv[ing] the resilience, reliability, and security of infrastructure to produce, deliver, and store energy,” “reduc[ing] energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases,” and “reduc[ing] imports of energy from foreign sources,” as seen in Section I.A of the FOA. To view the FOA in its entirety, please visit https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov.

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