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June 25, 2015

DOE Announces $55 million To Fund GENSETS And TERRA Programs


On June 18, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $55 million in funding for projects to accelerate biomass development and develop generator technologies under the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding will be divided between two of ARPA-E's programs, GENerators for Small Electrical and Thermal Systems (GENSETS) and Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA). GENSETS will receive $25 million to support 12 projects to improve generator technologies that will provide more affordable and efficient residential Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems. CHP takes otherwise wasted head and uses it for water and home heating, reducing energy costs. The GENSETS program intends to use the 12 projects to focus on internal combustion engines, Stirling engines, microturbines, and solidstate devices to develop one-kilowatt CHP systems that are energy efficient and affordable for residential homes. TERRA will receive $30 million to support six projects with the goal of improving sorghum varieties for biofuel production by developing improved plant remote sensing, analysis, and breeding methods. The six project teams will identify limitations with the physical and genetic characteristics of the plant, and will create advanced algorithms to analyze data and predict plant growth based on recorded characteristics of the plant. A large public database will also be created with sorghum genotypes and field phenotypes, allowing a greater community of scientists to improve sorghum and bioenergy crops.