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An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary (2017)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

An Assessment of

ARPA-E

SUMMARY

Committee on Evaluation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
(ARPA-E)

Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy
Policy and Global Affairs

Board on Energy and Environmental Systems
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Pradeep K. Khosla and Paul Beaton, Editors

A Consensus Study Report of

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported by Contract No. DE-PI0000010, Order Number DE-DT0008147, with the U.S. Department of Energy, and Grant No. G-2014-13809 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/24811

Copyright 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/24811.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

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Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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COMMITTEE ON EVALUATION OF THE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY-ENERGY (ARPA-E)

PRADEEP K. KHOSLA (NAE), Chancellor, University of California, San Diego, Chair

MAXINE SAVITZ (NAE), General Manager (ret.), Honeywell, Inc. (Vice Chair for Technical Evaluation)

PIERRE AZOULAY, International Programs Professor of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

TERRY BOSTON (NAE), Director, GridLiance GP, LLC and Grid Protection Alliance

ERICA R. H. FUCHS, Professor, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

SUPRATIK GUHA (NAE), Director, Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory; Professor, Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago

MARK JONES, Executive External Strategy and Communication Fellow, The Dow Chemical Company

ERIC LANDREE, Associate Research Department Director, Engineering and Applied Sciences Department, and Senior Engineer, RAND Corporation

GILBERT E. METCALF, Professor of Economics, Tufts University

JOHN PLASTER, Managing Director, Global Power and Utilities Group, and Head of Alternative Energy, Barclays Capital

LOUIS SCHICK, Founding Partner and CTO, NewWorld Capital Group

CHARLES SHANK (NAS/NAE), Senior Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Physics, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley

STEPHANIE S. SHIPP, Deputy Director and Research Professor, Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory (SDAL), Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech

SCOTT STERN, David Sarnoff Professor of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

JOHN WALL (NAE), Vice President and CTO (ret.), Cummins, Inc.

JAY WHITACRE, Professor, Engineering and Public Policy and Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University (Member 5/8/2015–9/20/2016)

VALERIE WILLIAMS, Senior Program Evaluator, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

PEIDONG YANG (NAS), S. K. and Angela Chan Distinguished Chair Professor in Energy and Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

______________

NOTE: See Appendix B, Disclosure of Conflict of Interest.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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PROJECT STAFF

BOARD ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND ECONOMIC POLICY

POLICY AND GLOBAL AFFAIRS

PAUL BEATON, Study Director

GAIL COHEN, Board Director

JEFF ALSTOTT, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow

CHRISTOPHER J. JONES, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow

DAVID ALLEN AMMERMAN, Financial Officer (until June 2017)

DAVID DIERKSHEIDE, Program Officer

FREDERIC LESTINA, Senior Program Assistant

ERIK SAARI, Senior Program Assistant

BOARD ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS

DIVISION ON ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

K. JOHN HOLMES, Study Co-Director

ELIZABETH EULLER, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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BOARD ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND ECONOMIC POLICY

For the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, this project was overseen by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), a standing board established by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine in 1991. The mandate of the STEP Board is to advise federal, state, and local governments and inform the public about economic and related public policies to promote the creation, diffusion, and application of new scientific and technical knowledge to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the U.S. economy and foster economic prosperity for all Americans. The STEP Board and its committees marshal research and the expertise of scholars, industrial managers, investors, and former public officials in a wide range of policy areas that affect the speed and direction of scientific and technological changes and their contributions to the growth of the U.S. and global economies. Results are communicated through reports, conferences, workshops, briefings, and electronic media subject to the procedures of the National Academies to ensure their authoritativeness, independence, and objectivity. The members of the STEP Board and staff are listed below:

RICHARD K. LESTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair

JEFF BINGAMAN, Former U.S. Senator, New Mexico

ELLEN R. DULBERGER, Dulberger Enterprises, LLC

ALAN M. GARBER (NAM), Harvard University

RALPH E. GOMORY (NAS/NAE), New York University

MICHAEL GREENSTONE, The University of Chicago

ARATI PRABHAKAR (NAE)

LUIS M. PROENZA, University of Akron

KATHRYN L. SHAW, Stanford University

Staff

GAIL COHEN, Board Director

PAUL BEATON, Senior Program Officer and Study Director

DAVID DIERKSHEIDE, Program Officer

FREDERIC LESTINA, Senior Program Assistant

ERIK SAARI, Senior Program Assistant

SUJAI SHIVAKUMAR, Senior Program Officer

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

BOARD ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS

The Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) is a unit of the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Since 1975, the Board (formerly the Energy Engineering Board [EEB]) has conducted a diverse program of studies and related activities (workshops, symposia, etc.) to produce authoritative, independent recommendations about the science and technology aspects of public policy questions in energy, the environment, national security, and defense.

JARED COHON (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, Chair

DAVID ALLEN (NAE), University of Texas, Austin

TERRY BOSTON (NAE), GridLiance GP, LLC and Grid Protection Alliance

WILLIAM BRINKMAN (NAS), Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

EMILY A. CARTER (NAS/NAE), Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

BARBARA KATES-GARNICK, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts

JOANN MILLIKEN, Independent Consultant, Alexandria, Virginia

MARGO OGE, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, McLean, Virginia

JACKALYNE PFANNENSTIEL, Independent Consultant, Piedmont, California

MICHAEL RAMAGE (NAE), ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (retired), New York City

DOROTHY ROBYN, Consultant, Washington, D.C.

GARY ROGERS, Roush Industries, Livonia, Michigan

KELLY SIMS-GALLAGHER, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

MARK THIEMENS (NAS), University of California, San Diego

JOHN WALL (NAE), Cummins, Inc. (retired), Belvedere, California

ROBERT WEISENMILLER, California Energy Commission, Sacramento, California

Staff

K. JOHN HOLMES, Acting Director/Scholar

JAMES ZUCCHETTO, Senior Scientist

DANA CAINES, Financial Associate

LANITA JONES, Administrative Coordinator

MARTIN OFFUTT, Senior Program Officer

JANKI PATEL, Program Assistant

___________________

Deceased on April 26, 2017.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

Preface

In 2005, the National Research Council (NRC) report Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended a new way for the federal government to spur technological breakthroughs in the energy sector. It recommended the creation of a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, as an adaptation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) model—widely considered a successful experiment that has funded out-of-the-box, transformative research and engineering that made possible the Internet, GPS, and stealth aircraft. This new agency was envisioned as a means of tackling the nation’s energy challenges in way that could translate basic research into technological breakthroughs while also addressing economic, environmental, and security issues. It was unclear ex ante whether such an adaptation would work, whether an ARPA-E engineered from the ground up to be lean, agile, and independent would be effective at catalyzing the transformation of energy technologies as DARPA had been with other technologies. Accordingly, Rising Above the Gathering Storm also recommended that ARPA-E be independently reviewed after some years of operation. When Congress authorized ARPA-E in the 2007 America COMPETES Act, it followed the recommendations both to create the agency and to request an early assessment following 6 years of operation to examine the agency’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals. This report documents the results of that assessment.

Now 7 years into its operations, ARPA-E is demonstrably built on the DARPA model while differing in certain respects. People form the core of the agency. Program directors are hired for limited terms; highly empowered to act outside of the box when designing new programs; expected to search for, identify, and support high-risk but potentially high-impact projects; and substantially involved in managing the research and technical aspects of funded projects. ARPA-E is characterized by institutional independence and a flat organizational structure, and it can quickly initiate and terminate projects based on performance. The agency has tailored the DARPA model to include in-house contracting so that funding decisions can be made much more quickly relative to most government funding agencies. It also has developed a continuously

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

evolving system intended to aid project teams in preparing for the eventual development of their technologies into commercial products.

The assessment documented in this report is based on currently available data and analytical methods, and should be useful to ARPA-E as it continues to evolve and improve its operations and programs. In addition, the report provides valuable information for Congress as input to its decisions regarding ARPA-E’s future, and for scholars and stakeholders within the energy technology innovation system who study or interact with ARPA-E and other participants in that system. Independent reviews can provide reliable, external indicators of the performance of government programs or agencies. A number of the analyses conducted for this assessment take advantage of analytical methods developed only recently. As increases in computing power and the unlimited ingenuity of the human mind continue to expand the frontiers of analytical methodology and thus the value of assessments, this report can serve as a vision of what is possible, as well as a glimpse of how much more would be possible with additional data, time, and other resources.

Since 1991, the NRC, under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), has undertaken a program of activities designed to improve policy makers’ understanding of the interconnections among science, technology, and economic policy and their importance for the American economy and its international competitive position. STEP’s activities have corresponded with increased policy recognition of the importance of knowledge and technology to economic growth. New economic growth theory emphasizes the role of technology creation, which is believed to be characterized by significant growth externalities. Likewise, under the auspices of the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES), the NRC has undertaken a program of studies and other activities to provide independent advice to the executive and legislative branches of government and the private sector on issues in energy and environmental technology and related public policy. BEES directs expert attention to issues surrounding energy supply and demand technologies and systems, including resource extraction through mining and drilling; energy conversion, distribution and delivery, and efficiency of use; environmental consequences of energy-related activities; environmental systems and controls in areas associated with the production, energy conversion, transmission, and use of fuels; and related issues in national security and defense.

A central focus of NRC analysis has been the importance of energy innovation to the growth of the U.S. economy and to the reduction of negative environmental, public health, and other consequences of energy-related activities. Many performance gains in energy technologies remain to be achieved, such as the capture of carbon from the use of fossil fuels, advanced nuclear power from fission and fusion, renewable fuels for electricity generation and for vehicles, and increasingly efficient use of energy. Yet undertaking the efforts required to produce the innovations needed to transform the performance of the energy sector so as to mitigate the risks from energy production,

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

conversion, and consumption may be the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. It is a worldwide challenge demanding tremendous effort and leadership. Throughout history, the United States has consistently demonstrated that its greatest resource is its people and their talent for innovation and leadership. There has never been a greater need or opportunity for American leadership than that posed by the challenge of achieving dramatic innovations in energy technology, a challenge that is the subject of this report.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

On behalf of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the committee expresses its appreciation for and recognition of the insights, information, experiences, and perspectives provided by the many participants in workshops and roundtables held while this study. We would particularly like to recognize Anna Goldstein, Tom Howell, and Michael Kearney for their invaluable research and technical assistance in the preparation of this report. We also thank Frederic Lestina, Erik Saari, Alisa Decatur, and Rona Briere for their assistance in preparing this report for publication.

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Gary Anderson, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Ewa Bardasz, Zual Associates in Lubrication LLC; Harvey Blanch, University of California, Riverside; William Brinkman, Princeton University (retired); Douglas Cameron, First Green Partners; Maryann Feldman, University of North Carolina; Shane Greenstein, Harvard University; Douglas Kirkpatrick, InnerProduct Partners; Gerald D. Mahan, Pennsylvania State University; Ramana Nanda, Harvard University; and David Popp, Syracuse University.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert Frosch, Harvard University (retired), and Michael Ladisch, Purdue University. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
×

accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

Pradeep Khosla
Committee Chair
Paul Beaton
Study Director
Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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Contents

SUMMARY

The contents of the entire Consensus Study Report, from which this Summary is extracted, are listed below.

1 INTRODUCTION

Statement of Task

Study Scope

Study Approach

Organization of the Report

2 OVERVIEW OF ARPA-E

Origins

Attributes

Structure an Operations

3 ARPA-E’s INTERNAL OPERATIONS: CULTURE, PEOPLE, AND PROCESSES

Defining Organizational Features of ARPA-E

Methods

ARPA-E’s Culture, People, and Processes: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis

Summary of Findings and Recommendations

4 TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT

ARPA-E Technical Objectives: Transformational Technologies and White Space

External Metrics Used to Assess Outcomes

Evidence of Outcomes from Analysis of Key External Metrics: Scientific Publications, Patents, and Follow-on Funding and New Firm Foundation

Evidence of Impact from Case Studies

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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Transforming Energy Industry Attitudes

Creating New Communities of Researchers

Improving Public Awareness of ARPA-E Achievements

Additional Metrics That May Be Used for Technology Assessments

Summary of Findings and Recommendations

REFERENCES

APPENDIXES

A COMMITTEE MEMBER BIOGRAPHIES

B DISCLOSURE OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST

C METHODS USED TO ASSESS ARPA-E

D CASE STUDIES USED TO ASSESS ARPA-E’S OPERATIONS AND POTENTIAL TO ACHIEVE ENERGY IMPACTS

E GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

F REQUEST FOR DATA FROM ARPA-E, INPUT FROM OTHER OFFICES AT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, AND AGENDAS FOR COMMITTEE’S PUBLIC INFORMATION GATHERING SESSIONS

G CONSULTANTS’ REPORTS OF DATA ANALYSIS

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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Boxes, Tables, and Figures

BOXES

S-1 Complete List of All Findings

S-2 Complete List of All Recommendations

1-1 Statement of Task

2-1 Questions That Must Be Answered for New Projects

3-1 Creating the Counterfactual Project Selection System

4-1 Description of Metrics for Technology Assessment of ARPA-E Used in This Report

4-2 Summary of External Metrics Analysis

C-1 Case Study Questions for ARPA-E Performers

TABLES

2-1 Recommended Funding Levels (in millions of dollars) for ARPA-E versus Authorizations and Appropriations, 2007–2017

2-2 Example of Focused Program Technical Targets from the MOSAIC Program Announced in 2014

2-3 ARPA-E Programs as of October 2016

3-1 Transition Matrix for Overall Status

3-2 Comparison of Attributes of DARPA and ARPA-E

4-1 ARPA-E Individual Project Case Studies

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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C-1 Statement of Task and Corresponding Research and Evaluative Questions for the Operational Assessment

C-2 Methods and Data Sources for Questions under Statement of Task Charge 1

C-3 Methods and Data Sources for Statement of Task Charge 6

C-4 Methods and Data Sources for Statement of Task Charge 9

C-5 Consultations Conducted for ARPA-E Assessment

C-6 Categorization of Questions Used for Individual Consultations

C-7 ARPA-E Events Attended by Committee Members

D-1 Projects Funded under the SWITCHES Program

D-2 Funding for Electricity Storage Projects, 2009−2014

D-3 Impact Analysis of the 63 Electricity Storage Projects Funded by ARPA-E from 2009 to 2014

D-4 ARPA-E Individual Project Case Studies

FIGURES

2-1 Schematic of ARPA-E’s internal process for program creation, project selection, and performer management

2-2 Organizational chart of ARPA-E in 2016

2-3 ARPA-E’s depiction of how it has built itself on a foundation modeled after DARPA

2-4 Schematic of ARPA-E’s “white space” strategy

3-1 Career pathways of ARPA-E program directors as of May 2017

3-2 Mean overall scores of applications

3-3 Percent of concept paper applications that result in selection for award negotiation

3-4 Selection of full applications by focused and OPEN programs

3-5 Evidence of program director discretion in project selection (RANGE program): Projects selected with a high score and discretionarily selected projects

3-6 Program director discretion in project selection, by focused program: Portion of projects with a low score that were discretionarily selected

3-7 Frequency of milestone creations and deletions

3-8 Frequency of program director changes across projects

3-9 Technology readiness level of projects funded by ARPA-E

4-1 Plot of performance per cost from 1910 to 2010 for common information storage technologies

4-2 White space addressed by the Full-spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program

Page xvii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. An Assessment of ARPA-E: Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24811.
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4-3 Relationship between performance dimensions of power capacity and voltage for representative semiconductors and gallium oxide (Ga2O3)

4-4 Focus of ARPA-E electricity storage projects funded 2009-2014

4-5 Degree of novelty and prior support for ARPA-E electricity storage projects

4-6 Funding history for 1366 Technologies

4-7 Funding history for SLIPS

4-8 Funding history for Smart Wires

C-1 Relationship between statement of task charges and themes that arose during consultations

C-2 Statement of task charges and topics covered by case studies

D-1 Price of existing high-voltage silicon power semiconductor devices, based on data from the electronic components distributor Digi-Key

D-2 Relationship between performance dimensions of power capacity and voltage for representative semiconductors and gallium oxide (Ga2O3)

D-3 Electricity storage projects by status, 2009–2014

D-4 Type of storage project (a) and technology maturity goal (b), ARPA-E electricity storage projects funded 2009–2014

D-5 Focus of the ARPA-E electricity storage projects funded 2009- 2014

D-6 Performer collaboration types of electricity storage projects funded by ARPA-E, 2009–2014

D-7 Degree of novelty and prior support for ARPA-E electricity storage projects

D-8 Funding history for 1366 Technologies

D-9 1366 Technologies’ growth as a company

D-10 Funding history for 24M

D-11 Schematic of 24M Li-ion battery cell versus conventional Li-ion cell

D-12 Funding history for SLIPS

D-13 Compared with a solid surface, a SLIPS surface features a stable and immobilized liquid lubricant overlayer that presents a liquid interface

D-14 Funding history for Smart Wires

D-15 Funding history for Agrivida

D-16 Funding history for Ceres

D-17 Demonstration of how photonic structures can be used to cool a building, and a picture of an early rooftop test

D-18 Funding history for Stanford University radiative coolers

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In 2005, the National Research Council report Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended a new way for the federal government to spur technological breakthroughs in the energy sector. It recommended the creation of a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, as an adaptation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) model—widely considered a successful experiment that has funded out-of-the-box, transformative research and engineering that made possible the Internet, GPS, and stealth aircraft. This new agency was envisioned as a means of tackling the nation’s energy challenges in a way that could translate basic research into technological breakthroughs while also addressing economic, environmental, and security issues.

Congress authorized ARPA-E in the 2007 America COMPETES Act and requested an early assessment following 6 years of operation to examine the agency’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals. This publication summarizes the results of that assessment.

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