National agency announces $100M in funding for energy advancement at Houston event
Rice University played host to the first-of-its-kind event from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, earlier this month in which the governmental agency announced $100 million in funding for its SCALEUP program.
Dubbed “ARPA-E on the Road: Houston,” the event welcomed more than 100 energy innovators to the Hudspeth Auditorium in Rice’s Anderson-Clarke Center on June 8. Evelyn Wang, director of ARPA-E, announced the funding, which represents the third installment from the agency for its program SCALEUP, or Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential, which supports the commercialization of clean energy technology.
The funding is awarded to previous ARPA-E awardees with a "viable road to market" and "ability to attract private sector investments," according to a statement from the Department of Energy. Previous funding was granted in 2019 and 2021.
"ARPA-E’s SCALEUP program has successfully demonstrated what can happen when technical experts are empowered with the commercialization support to develop a strong pathway to market” Wang said. “I’m excited that we are building on the success of this effort with the third installment of SCALEUP, and I look forward to what the third cohort of teams accomplish.”
Rice Vice President for Research Ramamoorthy Ramesh also spoke at the event on how Rice is working to make Houston a leader in energy innovation. Joe Zhou, CEO of Houston-based Quidnet Energy, also spoke on a panel about how ARPA-E funding benefited his company along with Oregon-based Onboard Dynamics’s CEO Rita Hansen and Massachusetts-based Quaise Energy’s CEO Carlos Araque.
Attendees were able to ask questions to Wang and ARPA-E program directors about the agency’s funding approach and other topics at the event.
Houston energy innovators have benefited from programs like SCALEUP.
Quidnet Energy received $10 million in funding from ARPA-E as part of its SCALEUP program in 2022. The company's technology can store renewable energy for long periods of time in large quantities.
In January, Houston-based Zeta Energy also announced that it has secured funding from ARPA-E. The $4 million in funding came from the agency's Electric Vehicles for American Low-Carbon Living, or EVs4ALL, program. Zeta Energy is known for its lithium sulfur batteries