Inventing the Future of Energy: A Q&A with ARPA-e’s Arun Majumdar


How can a small federal agency help reinvent how the U.S. produces and uses energy?

arun-majumdar ENERGY DIRECTOR: Arun Majumdar, pictured here, is the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-e, a high risk energy research effort by the U.S. government. Image: DOE PHOTO: Kenn Shipp

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—Every day the U.S. imports $1 billion worth of oil. Yet, the nation is no closer to weaning itself from such foreign oil than it was 40 years ago when President Carter called energy reform the “moral equivalent of war.”

Enter ARPA–e, the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, started in 2009 and tasked with taking scientific findings on alternative energy and turning them into deployable technologies. “The future of the U.S. depends on three securities: national, economic and environmental,” said mechanical engineer Arun Majumdar and ARPA–e director at the agency’s second annual summit in Washington, D.C., on March 1. “The foundation of all three is innovations in energy technology.”

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David Biello, Scientific American

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