November 08, 2009

ARPA E Renewable Power Projects

Four of the 37 first round ARPA E projects were for renewable power

* 1366 Direct Wafer: Enabling Terawatt Photovoltaics
* Breakthrough High Efficiency Shrouded Wind Turbine
* Adaptive Turbine Blades: Blown Wing Technology for Low-Cost Wind Power
* Low-contact drilling technology to enable economical EGS wells

1366 Direct Wafer: Enabling Terawatt Photovoltaics

1366 Technologies, Inc. (Lexington, MA), in collaboration with the Massachuseetts Institute of Technology, will develop a breakthrough new "Direct Wafer" technology to form high efficiency "monocrystalline-equivalent" solar silicon wafers directly from the silicon melt at 1/5th the cost of the current industry standard. These next generation solar silicon wafers have the potential to decrease the amount of expensive silicon material needed for silicon solar cells by a factor of > 3 and to decrease installed solar power system costs by a factor of ~2. If successful, this leveraged technology in the silicon solar value chain will slash installed system costs and rapidly accelerate the deployment of carbon-free solar power in the U.S.

1366 Technologies was selected for their Direct Wafer technology that forms high-efficiency 'monocrystalline-equivalent' silicon wafers directly from molten silicon, with the potential to slash the cost of PV installations by half.

"For over 35 years, silicon PV has been hobbled by high costs and difficulties in scaling due to expensive wafering. Our Direct Wafer technology solves the wafering problem with a breakthrough manufacturing solution that is compatible with today's supply chain," said Frank van Mierlo, co-founder and president of 1366 Technologies. "This funding will allow us to accelerate the development and scaling of Direct Wafer, which will have strong implications for the competitiveness of the U.S. PV industry and provide a basis for future economic growth and jobs".
1366 Technologies also recently unveiled the ground breaking Self-Aligned Cell (SAC) architecture, with innovative cell texturing and metallization design to deliver simpler, more commercially-viable solutions for multi-crystalline cell manufacturers striving to achieve 18 percent cell efficiency.

Another 1366 Solar Technology - Self-Aligned Cell

Adaptive Turbine Blades: Blown Wing Technology for Low-Cost Wind Power

PAX Streamline, Inc (San Rafael, CA), along with Georgia Tech Research Institute, will lead a project to adapt Blown Wing technology for wind turbines, culminating in a 100 kW prototype. Circulation control technology or "Blown Wing" technology creates a virtual airfoil by jetting compressed air out of orifices along a wing and has the potential to radically simplify the manufacture and operation of wind turbines. Unlike a fixed airfoil, a Blown Wing can be dynamically adjusted to maximize power under a wide range of wind conditions, and can be generated from a slotted extruded pipe that can be domestically manufactured at a fraction of the cost.

Pax Streamline press release on its ARPA E win

Pax Streamline technology

Low-contact drilling technology to enable economical EGS wells

Foro Energy, Inc (Littleton, CO) will develop a disruptive new hybrid thermal-mechanical drilling technology to enable rapid and sustained penetration of ultra-hard rock formations to open up cost effective access to the U.S.'s vast domestic store of U.S. geothermal energy available in deep ultra-hard crytstallinecrystalline basement rock. If successful, this project will revolutionize the geothermal energy field and will allow the U.S. to exploit a huge new source of domestically available baseload carbon-free power.

Foro Energy is evidently working on technology that uses thermal energy to soften crystalline rock so that drill bits can penetrate it with less wear. Exactly what methods Foro is using to deliver this thermal energy is unclear, but based on thermal drilling techniques tried by others, its system could include technologies such as electrical heaters; pressurized liquid, gas, or steam; or even lasers.

Breakthrough High Efficiency Shrouded Wind Turbine

FloDesign Wind Turbine Corporation (Wilbraham, MA) will develop a new shrouded, axial-flow wind turbine known as the Mixer Ejector Wind Turbine (MEWT), which is capable of delivering significantly more energy per unit swept area with greatly reduced rotor loading as compared to existing horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT). Prototypes will be built and tested, demonstrating the advantages of lightweight materials and a protective shroud that will reduce noise and safety concerns and accelerate distributed wind applications.

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