Team Given Power Grid Project Funding

TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2024


Researchers at the University of Arkansas are reportedly receiving $2.9 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to build solid-state power modules for the nation’s power grid and electrified transportation.

According to a news release from the university, the funding is a part of ARPA-E’s Unlocking Lasting Transformative Resiliency Advances by Faster Actuation of Power Semiconductor Technologies program, which aims to upgrade control over the country’s power grid.

“We are pleased to be selected for this award,” said Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering and head of the University of Arkansas Power Group. “We feel that our module concepts are game changers for fast charging infrastructure and grid protection devices.” 

About the Project

Mantooth and other Power Group researchers reportedly plan to develop a heterogeneously integrated, high-power semiconductor module for several applications on the electric power grid and electric vehicles, such as aircraft.

Additionally, the researchers explain that they are building silicon-carbide integrated circuits and power modules for current and next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles.

Under a separate ARPA-E project from earlier this year, the researchers reportedly reached a major milestone with the successful test flight of their electric motor drive on a hybrid electric aircraft.

The Power Group benefits from the University of Arkansas’ High Density Electronics Center (HiDEC). The release adds that HiDEC is one of the more advanced power electronics packaging facilities universities in the United States.

The DOE grant is reportedly a part of $42 million for 15 projects across 11 states to improve the reliability, resiliency and flexibility of the domestic power grid through the development of next-generation semiconductor technologies.

Other universities receiving funding from this program were Texas Tech University; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Pennsylvania; University of Wisconsin-Madison; and University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

More Grid News

In September 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that nine states and five tribal nations would receive funding as the seventh cohort of Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants.

According to the DOE’s news release, the combined $125 million in grants was to help modernize the electric grid in order to reduce the impacts of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters while also helping to ensure the power sector’s reliability.

The funding was expected to enable communities to access affordable, reliable and clean electricity while helping deliver on the President Joe Biden's clean energy goals.

The release stated that the cohort of nine states and five tribes would obtain a combined total of $125 million. Since May 2023, the DOE reportedly gave out over $580.5 million in Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants due to the Investing in America Agenda.

Some of the states and Tribes to receive funding included:

  • Beaver Village ($112,917), to support a continuous supply of power to consumers through preventative maintenance and training for utility owners and operators;
  • Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan) ($117,116), to support continuous operations through preventative maintenance and grid resilience training and will reduce outage risks while reducing restoration times following a severe event;
  • Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma ($927,979), to install battery backup for critical care and emergency facilities and will reduce the overall cost of operations while increasing grid resilience;
  • Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe ($169,830), to ensure critical community facilities that serve the Tribe are not impacted by extreme weather and other disruptive events and will address outdated or failing grid infrastructure;
  • Maryland ($8.7 million), to improve the resilience and reliability of the power grid, critical infrastructure and essential services, especially in disadvantaged communities;
  • Massachusetts ($9.2 million), to improve energy reliability and resilience while reducing the cost and number of outages for communities and underserved populations; and
  • Mississippi ($12 million), to mitigate the risk of severe weather to critical facilities through investments in grid hardening and last-mile delivery solutions for low-income customers.

According to the release, over the next five years the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants will distribute a total of $2.3 billion to states, territories and federally recognized Tribes, including Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Alaska Native Village Corporations, based on a formula that included factors such as population size, land area, probability and severity of disruptive events, as well as a locality’s historical expenditures on mitigation efforts.

The states, territories and Tribes will then reportedly award these funds to eligible entities to complete a diverse set of projects, with priority given to efforts that can create the greatest community benefit while providing clean, affordable and reliable energy.

Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grant recipients are reportedly being announced on a rolling basis as applications are received. Applications for the fiscal year 2022 and 2023 are now closed.

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Colleges and Universities; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Energy efficiency; Environmental Control; Environmental Controls; Environmental Protection; Funding; Government; Latin America; North America; Ongoing projects; Power; Power; Program/Project Management; Research; Research and development; U.S. Department of Energy; Z-Continents

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