Dr. Anthony Atti, CEO of Phononic Devices, demonstrates the standard semiconductor bonding equipment used to fabricate Phononic's high performance thermoelectric devices. Phononic Devices is one of the five innovative ARPA-E Awardees that have attracted over $100 million in outside capital investments. | Photo Courtesy of Phononic Devices.
To create jobs and lead in the global clean energy economy, the Obama Administration has made a point of supporting game-changing innovations – including the Energy Department’s Advance Research Programs Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E invests in projects that swing for the fences, aiming to knock it out of the park with stunning breakthroughs in energy tech.
While it is too early to tell if the projects ARPA-E has funded so far will turn out to be home runs, we already have a number of ventures that are rounding second base. During his remarks yesterday at the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Vice President Joe Biden highlighted five innovative companies that have attracted more than $100 million in outside private capital investment since receiving seed funding from ARPA-E. This is a significant endorsement from the private sector. The five companies received between $1.5 and $6 million each from ARPA-E for their respective projects. Thanks to early support from ARPA-E, they were able to make progress over the past two years toward developing new technologies that could transform the way Americans use and produce energy. Their progress, in turn, attracted support from the private sector.
These projects, which are working to develop advanced grid scale batteries, innovative approaches to biofuels and waste heat recovery, are just the latest success stories from ARPA-E, joining six other companies that Secretary Chu highlighted back in February for also attracting more than $100 million in private financing.
As Secretary Chu mentioned in his remarks at yesterday's National Clean Energy Summit 4.0, and as a just issued White House report confirms, we are in the midst of a global clean energy race in which countries such as China, Germany and the United Kingdom are investing big to foster innovation in an effort to secure as much of the worldwide energy market as they can. The investments made by ARPA-E represent a critical, highly-leveraged step the United States can take to lead in the clean energy race.