Georgia Tech Awarded Funding For Four Energy Projects

Department of Energy will fund four green technology initiatives at Georgia Tech.

Four Georgia Tech projects are among the 43 green technology initiatives awarded funding by the Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the selected projects on Monday. The projects announced are based in 18 states with 36 percent of projects led by universities, 33 percent by small businesses, 24 percent by large businesses, five percent by national labs and two percent by non-profits. These awards complete ARPA-E’s grants under its Recovery Act funding. In three rounds of awards since last year, the agency has selected a total of 117 projects for $349 million in funding, supporting research that can deliver breakthrough changes in how the U.S. generates, stores and utilizes energy.

The Georgia Tech projects, partners and respective funding are as follows:

  • Georgia Tech Research Corporation, partnered with Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc. and ARS Solutions, LLC will focus on their project, "Vapor Absorption/Adsorption: Modular Thermal Hub for Building Cooling, Heating and Water Heating." This project will develop a hub for cooling and heating systems in buildings using microscale passages. It uses fluids with zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) and can achieve from hundreds to tens of thousands of Watts in cooling capacity and a 51 percent primary energy use reduction. The project will be based in Atlanta and will receive $2,399,842 in funding. School of Mechanical Engineering Prof. Srinivas Garimella will be the principal investigator.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology will partner with Dartmouth, Georgia Tech, the University of Pennsylvania and OnChip Power on a project titled "Switches/Magnetics – Lighting: Advanced Technologies for Integrated Power Electronics." This project radically improves the size, integration, and performance of power electronics for high‐efficiency solid‐state lighting (SSL), with a focus on circuits for interfacing with grid‐scale voltages (>100 V) at power levels of 10 – 100W. Specifically, it will develop Gallium Nitride on Silicon (GaN‐on‐Si) high‐voltage transistors, nano‐structured magnetic components, and advanced circuit designs. The project will be based in Cambirdge, Mass. and is funded at $4,414,009. Georgia Tech's proposed amount is $600,000. School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Prof. Mark Allen will be the principal investigator.
  • Georgia Tech Research Corporation, partnered with National Semiconductor, will focus efforts on the project "Magnetics – Consumer Electronics: Highly Laminated, High Saturation Flux Density Magnetic Cores for On‐Chip Inductors in Power Converter Applications." The goal of this project is to greatly reduce the size and cost, and increase the efficiency of, laptop power supplies and other chargers used to power consumer electronics. It will do so through the development of new magnetic materials that support high‐currents despite their small size. New manufacturing technologies are employed to create microscale laminates, forming them into inductors and transformers, and integrating them with specialized electronic components to make very small‐scale power converters. The project will be based in Atlanta and funded in the amount of $999,017. Allen will also serve as principal investigator on this project.
  • Georgia Tech Research Corporation's third project will be "Circuit Topology/Switches –Transmission: Dynamic Control of Grid Assets Using Direct AC Converter Cells." Technology developed in this project will enable dramatic cost reductions in smart grid implementation and allow increased penetration of renewable energy resources by reducing transmission and distribution upgrade costs by up to 80 percent. The project will involve several key developments: a new converter layout that achieves an AC/AC function using minimal number of switches, and the elimination of large capacitors in the system. The project will be based in Atlanta and will be funded in the amount of $981,619. ECE Prof. Deepakraj Divan will serve as principal investigator. ECE Associate Prof. Carlos Grijalva will serve as co-principal investigator.

ARPA-E received 529 initial concept papers and encouraged approximately 164 applicants to submit full applications. Multiple review panels composed of leading U.S. science and technology experts reviewed each proposal and made recommendations based on scientific and technical merit and the potential to dramatically advance national energy and economic goals. Potential additional applications for funding innovative research projects are pending further review.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.