WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich congratulated two New Mexico businesses on receiving $6.2 million to jump-start innovative energy projects. Pajarito Powder, based in Albuquerque, is receiving $2,790,000 to develop a cost-effective regenerative hydrogen electrode for fuel-cell vehicles. Tibbar Technologies of Los Alamos has been awarded $3,500,000 to create a low-cost transformer for HVDC transmission.
The projects were selected for funding through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) open call to scientists and engineers for transformational technologies that help advance economic prosperity, national security and environmental well-being. ARPA-E funds innovative technologies that display promise for both technical and commercial impact, but are too early for private-sector investment. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the funding, which is part of a $125 million award to 41 cutting-edge energy technologies nationwide.
“Clean energy innovation is helping create high-tech jobs and grow New Mexico’s economy,” Udall said. “I’m proud that Pajarito Powder and Tibbar Technologies are rising to the challenge and helping our nation build a secure energy future. Investing in alternative energy development also helps us fight climate change, and I’ll continue to support smart investments in New Mexico innovators.”
“This investment will support private research and development projects that will spur innovation to help modernize our electric grid and provide clean-energy solutions to combat climate disruption,” Heinrich said. “New Mexico’s history of ingenuity and creating new technology drives our economy and contributes to our great nation. By developing new ways to generate, deliver, store and use energy, we not only create jobs, but we also inspire the next generation of STEM leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Details on the two projects are below:
Precious Metal Free Regenerative Hydrogen Electrode for Fuel-Cell Vehicles
Pajarito Powder, LLC | Albuquerque, N.M. | $2,790,000
Pajarito Powder and its team will develop a reversible hydrogen electrode that would enable cost-effective hydrogen production and reversible fuel cells. The key to this technology is the replacement of precious metal catalysts with less expensive and more abundant base metal catalysts to dramatically lower the costs of electrolyzers and fuel cells.
Plasma-based AC-DC Transformer for HVDC Transmission
Tibbar Technologies | Los Alamos, N.M. | $3,500,000
Tibbar Technologies will develop an AC-DC transformer that uses no capacitors or semiconductor switches. The device will rely on helical coils that induce output current and voltage through electrodes at the ends of plasma. The resulting devices have the potential to be half the cost and yield power densities 10 times higher than state-of-the-art transformers, potentially providing an innovative new enabling technology for HVDC transmission.