“Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy” (MOVE) program
Through its Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E), the US Department of Energy will make $30 million available for a new research competition in the coming months that will engage the country’s scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to find ways to harness its abundant supplies of domestic natural gas for vehicles. President Obama announced the programs during a speech at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, where he toured the school’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC), an Energy Department program that teaches students how to become industrial energy efficiency experts as they help small- to mid-sized manufacturers cut energy costs.
The funding is part of Obama’s strategy to reduce national reliance on foreign oil and provide American families new choices for vehicles that do not rely on conventional gasoline.
“As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, in order to build a strong economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we must invest in developing American energy sources like natural gas and biofuels,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Today’s natural gas vehicle technologies require tanks (cylinders) that can withstand high pressures, are cumbersome and either too large or too expensive to be suitable for passenger vehicles. ARPA-E’s projects under this new program will focus on overcoming these barriers by developing innovative, low-cost natural gas storage technologies and methods to lower pressure in vehicle tanks that will help enable the widespread adoption of natural gas vehicles.
Specifically, ARPA-E seeks to fund projects that will develop lightweight tanks for cars that can run on natural gas and fit into modern passenger vehicles. This approach includes developing affordable natural gas compressors that can efficiently fuel a natural gas vehicle at home. ARPA-E also seeks to fund projects that will develop absorbing materials that are able to hold gas, similar to how a sponge holds water. These materials could lower pressure in vehicle tanks that hold and release natural gas, making them safer and more affordable for American consumers.
President Obama launched ARPA-E in 2009 to seek out transformational, breakthrough technologies that are too risky for private-sector investment but have the potential to translate science into quantum leaps in energy technology, form the foundation for entirely new industries, and have large commercial impacts.
For more information and application requirements for MOVE visit here.
(This article compiled using information from the US Department of Energy)