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ORNL receives ARPA-E funding for transformational energy technology

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 30, 2015—The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will participate in three research projects that have been awarded $10.2 million in funding from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The funding will be used to develop new alloys, membranes and batteries for energy applications.

ORNL received the competitive awards from ARPA-E’s OPEN 2015 program, which serves as an open call to scientists and engineers for transformational technologies outside the scope of ARPA-E’s existing focused programs. Through both open and focused solicitations, ARPA-E funds technologies that display technical promise and commercial impact but are too early for private-sector investment.

ORNL leads two ARPA-E OPEN 2015 awards and is a partner on a project led by University of Michigan.

New High-Temperature, Corrosion-Resistant Cast Alloy For Operation in Industrial Gaseous Environments, led by ORNL with partners University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Duraloy Technologies, MetalTek International and ArcelorMittal USA, will receive $3.9 million. Researchers led by ORNL’s Govindarajan Muralidharan will develop new cast alumina-forming alloys, along with associated casting and welding processes for component fabrication. These innovations would allow various industrial and chemical processing systems and gas turbines to operate at higher temperatures, to improve efficiencies, and to reduce downtimes, thus providing cost and energy reductions for a wide range of energy-intensive applications.

Hydration-Free Conductive Membranes Based on Two-Dimensional Materials, led by ORNL with partners New Mexico State University and ITN Energy Systems, will receive $2.8 million. The team led by ORNL’s Ivan Vlassiouk will design two-dimensional proton-selective membranes for use in storage technologies, such as flow batteries or electrolyzers for liquid-fuel storage. Current proton-selective membranes such as Nafion require hydration, but the proposed materials would be the first low-temperature membranes that conduct protons without the need for hydration. These membranes could have the potential to lower costs by removing system components and complexity.

ORNL is a partner on the University of Michigan-led project, Transitioning Advanced Ceramic Electrolytes into Manufacturable Solid-State EV Batteries. The $3.5 million project is aimed at developing new electrode structures and manufacturing techniques to incorporate lithium-conducting ceramic electrolytes into solid-state batteries. Solid-state lithium batteries could double the energy density of today’s lithium-ion cells and also eliminate the use of conventional flammable electrolytes, increasing abuse tolerance and reducing the need for battery thermal management systems.

To view the complete list of selected OPEN 2015 projects, please visit: Additional information about ARPA-E is available at

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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