Specter and Casey Announce $2.5 Million for Two Projects at Penn State University, University Park

Stimulus funds will be used to research converting hydrogen and carbon dioxide into an alternative energy source, developing high power density storage device

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey announced the Department of Energy’s(DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded Penn State University in University Park $2.5 million for two projects made possible through the Recovery Act of 2009.

The first project, Penn State University, in conjunction with the University of Kentucky, will facilitate groundbreaking research, encouraging our energy sector to produce alternative sources of energy.   An oil-producing algae that usually derives its energy from residual light and organic waste at the bottom of ponds will be “rewired” to use electricity.  From there, hydrogen and carbon dioxide will be converted into a bio-oil that can be refined into gasoline.  

The second project, Penn State University, in conjunction with Recapping Inc. in Menlo Park, California, will develop a novel energy storage device – a high energy density capacitor – based on a 3D nanocomposite structure.  The approach combines the benefits of high cycling ability, high power density, and low cost.

“I am pleased Penn State University has been recognized as a leader in renewable energy research with this significant funding,” Specter said.  “These projects will help grow Pennsylvania’s green economy and are a great boost in our efforts to end our country’s dependence on foreign oil and energy.”

“The funding going to Penn State is yet another example of the way the Recovery Act is making a positive impact in Pennsylvania and across the country,” said Senator Casey. “I am pleased that federal funds will be used to seek innovative and sustainable alternatives to foreign oil to meet our nation’s energy needs.”  

This award is part of a larger announcement from DOE for $106 million for 37 projects, throughout the nation that could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy.

For a list of projects nationwide click here.


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