WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $30 million in Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) funding for a new program focused on the development of intermediate-temperature stationary fuel cells to enable low-cost distributed power generation. ARPA-E’s Reliable Electricity Based on Electrochemical Systems (REBELS) program will develop fuel cell technology for distributed power generation to improve grid stability, increase energy security, and balance intermittent renewable technologies while reducing CO2 emissions.

“To maintain our technological lead in the 21st century, American ingenuity must continue to drive new technology options for generating, transmitting, and storing energy,” said Acting Director of ARPA-E Cheryl Martin. “ARPA-E is re-imagining distributed generation by pushing the boundaries of fuel cell technology to improve grid resiliency and reliability.”

Renewable generation technologies, such as solar and wind, pose a challenge to centralized power generation due to variability and intermittency, noted DOE. In addition, centralized generation frequently requires long transmission distances that result in power losses and leave lines susceptible to disruption during natural disasters. Many of these challenges can be mitigated through a distributed system, where power is generated in close proximity to the end-user. REBELS addresses these challenges by developing low-cost distributed generation technologies using electrochemical power generation that can also act as a storage device.

REBELS projects will focus on developing intermediate-temperature fuel cells through new designs, fuel activation approaches, and low-cost materials to help facilitate widespread distributed power generation. REBELS projects will also explore multi-functional fuel cell systems that can store energy like a battery or use electricity to convert natural gas to liquids.

ARPA-E is encouraging scientists and engineers from different organizations, scientific disciplines, and technology sectors to form new project teams for REBELS applications and projects. ARPA-E believes that inter-disciplinary and cross-organizational collaborations can facilitate scientific and technological discoveries that a single group alone would not be able to achieve.

More information on REBELS teaming partner arrangements and the full REBELS funding opportunity announcement can be found at https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/.

Publication date: 12/9/2013

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