6 ARPA-E Projects Raise $100M in Private Investment

In a little over one year, six projects that received a total of $23.6 million in seed funding from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) have generated more than $100 million in outside private capital investment, according to the DOE.

The six projects, which received between $750,000 and $8 million each, focus on improving solar and wind energy technologies and advanced battery storage.

"This amount of private capital support indicates that the business community is hungry to invest in truly innovative solutions to the country’s energy challenges," said Secretary Steven Chu.

The six projects include:

  • 1366 Technologies, Lexington, Mass. – 1366 Technologies is a small startup developing a new way to make silicon wafers – the key part in solar panels – for 80% less than the current cost.  The company received $4 million investment from ARPA-E and since then has secured an additional $33.4 million from investors and interested customers.
  • Envia, Hayward, Calif. – Envia Systems, in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, received $4 million from ARPA-E in December 2009 to develop lithium-ion batteries with the highest energy density in the world. They recently received an additional $17 million in venture capital funds, including $7 million from GM.
  • FloDesign, Wilbraham, Mass. – FloDesign Wind Turbine (FloDesign) received $8.3 million from ARPA-E to accelerate the development of a new wind turbine inspired by airplane jet engines.  ARPA-E funding helped FloDesign raise an additional $27 million, recruit a stellar executive team, and more than double its staff from 20 to 50 employees.
  • SunCatalytix, Cambridge, Mass. – Sun Catalytix, a start-up spun out of MIT, received $4 million from ARPA-E to develop their technologies for combining sunlight and water to provide affordable, highly distributed solar energy to the individual. They have since received an additional $9.5 million in venture capital funds.
  • General Compression, Newton, Mass. – General Compression is developing fuel-free compressed air energy storage technology to enable low-cost grid storage and to help make intermittent renewable power (such as from solar and wind) fully dispatchable.  The company received a small ARPA-E grant of $750,000 to test an improved version of their technology with significantly higher efficiency and lower cost, which has been built and is now in testing.   Following the ARPA-E award, General Compression has received over $12 million in additional funding from existing and new investors.
  • 24M, Cambridge, Mass. – 24M is a start-up that was spun out of MIT and A123 Systems after receiving an ARPA-E award of $2.55 million.  The company is developing a new battery architecture that could take batteries for electric vehicles well beyond the performance and below the cost of lithium ion batteries.  Shortly after spinning out, the company secured $10 million in venture capital funds.

These six companies and 100 other innovative ARPA-E supported projects will be presenting at the upcoming ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit on February 28 – March 2 in Washington, DC. The full ARPA-E portfolio is available at the link below.

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