The ARPA-E Newsletter: January 2, 2014

New ARPA-E Staff

ARPA-E recently welcomed several new staff members: 

Dr. Pat McGrath (top left) is a new program director at ARPA-E. He previously served as a technical advisor at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and his focuses include magnetic machines for transportation, energy storage and generation; low-cost, scalable approaches to particle acceleration and catalysis for the utilization and transformation of hydrocarbon fuels.

Dr. John Tuttle (top right) and Dave Henshall (bottom left) are the newest members of ARPA-E’s Technology-to-Market team. Dr. Tuttle was previously engaged in technology development and management of early-stage companies in the semiconductor and clean tech industries. He has extensive experience in thin-film photovoltaics. Mr. Henshall is a successful entrepreneur with 20 years of experience building high-performing teams and increasing sales and profitability for multiple wide-bandgap semiconductor companies.
Dr. Ashwin Salvi (bottom right) is ARPA-E’s newest fellow. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is interested in combustion systems, transportation, low energy power harvesting, building efficiency, and other emerging fields. 

Learn about I-Corps

In early 2013, ARPA-E partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a pilot program that put several ARPA-E project teams through the rigorous I-Corps program curriculum. I-Corps guides applied research teams through an iterative customer and business model discovery process aimed at identifying a path to market for early-stage technologies.

Join us on Tuesday, January 21 for an informative discussion about the I-Corps process and its value to researchers. ARPA-E Program Director and Senior Commercialization Advisor Dr. Ilan Gur will moderate this session featuring first-hand accounts by Dr. Anita LaSalle, NSF I-Corps Program Officer, and Sri Narayan, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and recent I-Corps graduate. Registration is free but required

Watch ARPA-E Acting Director Discuss Energy & Innovation

ARPA-E Acting Director Dr. Cheryl Martin spoke last month at The Atlantic's Energy + Innovation Super Summit in Washington, DC. She appeared alongside Darryl Banks from the Center for American Progress and Margot Anderson from the Bipartisan Policy Center on a panel moderated by Washington Editor-at-Large for The Atlantic, Steve Clemons. Watch the full panel on The Atlantic's website

Crowdsourced Challenge

ARPA-E is piloting a crowdsourced energy challenge. This pilot challenge will focus on ARPA-E’s PETRO program, which aims to increase the viability of biofuels by investing in research to double the energy-capture-per-unit area from that of corn ethanol. 

The challenge asks "solvers" to present a detailed description and scientific rationale for a simple, rapid, and minimally invasive method to determine the energy content of plant material. Historically, this energy content has been determined through destructive methods: cutting, drying, and then burning plant tissue to calculate the amount of energy released through combustion. While this approach is generally effective, it is also time-consuming, difficult to scale, and wasteful.

ARPA-E is working with InnoCentive, a global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems, and Booz Allen Hamilton to take on this challenge. InnoCentive has a global network of millions of problem solvers who have helped clients, including Eli Lily & Company, the Air Force Research Labs, NASA, and several other government agencies—among many others. Winners of this crowdsourced challenge could receive up to $30,000. To learn more and to submit a solution, please visit the ARPA-E Challenge on the InnoCentive website

Pitch Your Innovation!

Energy technology startups and researchers will have an opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of top investors at the 2014 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit's Future Energy Pitching Session. If you are running an innovative energy technology startup or a research project with commercial potential, then you can apply to pitch your idea. Eight applicants will have the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of venture capital investors, who will provide feedback and actionable advice to the startups in real-time. All Summit attendees are invited to attend the Pitching Session and vote for their favorite startup. 

This is a great opportunity to get investor feedback, generate exposure for your ideas, and make connections to get to the next level. Applications are due by Friday, January 17, 2014. Visit the ARPA-E Summit website for additional information and to apply.


Countdown to The Summit

The 5th annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is right around the corner, and early-bird registration for the February 24-26 event ends TODAYVisit the ARPA-E Summit website to learn more and secure your spot at the preeminent energy industry event of the year. 

ARPA-E has already confirmed exciting speakers for this year’s lineup, including economist Mariana Mazzucato and NRG Energy President and CEO David Crane. Mazzucato is a Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and an active advisor in the areas of innovation and industrial policy, both in the UK and abroad. She is the author of "The Entrepreneurial State," a book the Financial Times called "brilliant." Under Crane's leadership, NRG has become a Fortune 500 company with enough generating capacity to power nearly 40 million homes, benefiting about 2.2 million retail customers. Prior to joining NRG, Crane was CEO of International Power PLC, a UK-based wholesale power generation company. He also worked for Lehman Brothers and ABB Energy Ventures, where he was responsible for developing and financing independent power generation plants and transmission facilities in the Asia-Pacific region.