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The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E): A New Paradigm in Transformational Energy Research

Co-sponsored by the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton Environmental Institute, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Eric Toone, Deputy Director for Technology, Program Director of Electrofuels
Mark Johnson, Program Director of GRIDS

Location: Carl Fields Multipurpose Room 104
Date/Time: October 25, 2010, 2-3:30 p.m.


In Spring of 2009, President Obama announced $400M in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for a new agency – the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA-E, an Agency created in 2007 through the America COMPETES Act. ARPA-E was created to fund high risk, high reward transformational research to reduce energy-related emissions, reduce imports of energy from foreign sources, improve energy efficiency in all economic sectors, and ensure American technological lead in advanced energy technologies.

In only 15 months, the agency has awarded over $350M in support of 121 projects across the energy landscape, including renewable energy, biofuels, building efficiency, carbon capture, and the electrification of transportation.This lecture will describe the history and mission of ARPA-E, how the agency and its projects differ from other branches of the Department of Energy, and highlight some of the revolutionary technologies currently supported by ARPA-E.

Eric Toone

Eric TooneDr. Eric Toone is the Deputy Director for Technology, responsible for oversight of all ARPA-E Technology and directs the ARPA-E’s Electrofuels program. In addition to his role at ARPA-E, Toone is currently the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University.

Toone is a scientific founder of two venture-backed companies: Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a research-based ophthamology company, and Vindica Pharmaceuticals, a nitric oxide delivery company. He has served as a permanent member of the Bioorganic and Natural Products Study Section at the National Institutes of Health, and is currently a member of the NSERC Organic & Inorganic Review panel (Canada). Toone has authored over 100 scientific papers and over 30 patents. He is an associate editor of the journal Biopolymers and the editor in chief of the monograph series Advances in Enzymology. He studied chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Guelph, graduating in 1983. That same year he moved to the University of Toronto to begin graduate studies with Professor J. Bryan Jones. Toone graduated from the University of Toronto in 1988 and moved to Harvard University to continue his studies with Professor George Whitesides.

Mark Johnson

Mark JohnsonJohnson is an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering as well as Director of Engineering for the Technology, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) Program at NC State. His work has focused at the intersection of smart-grid, renewable energy, wide band-gap semiconductor materials and devices, communications and photonics technologies; as well as entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and public-private partnership formation. Johnson has been a successful entrepreneur, playing a critical role in the early-stage formation of Quantum Epitaxial Designs, EPI MBE Systems, and Nitronex. Johnson holds a B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, both in Materials Science and Engineering.Mark Johnson leads ARPA-E’s Grid-Scale Rampable Intermittent Dispatchable Storage (GRIDS) program, which targets disruptive grid-level stationary energy storage technologies. Johnson joined ARPA-E on assignment from NC State University, where he previously served as the Director of Industry and Innovation Programs for the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center, a National Science Foundation Gen-III Engineering Research Center focused on the convergence of power electronics, energy storage, renewable resource integration and information technology for electric power distribution.