Calling for a revival of the moon shot in America has become something of a trend. The Google guys are big fans, particularly with their Google Solve for X project, and the MIT Tech Review has recently been questioning why America can’t solve big problems anymore. But at the ARPA-E Summit this week there were thousands of researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs and investors who are working on “out there” answers to our energy problems, which, if they actually succeed, could be game-changers.
That’s the whole idea of the ARPA-E program — the small grants are given to high-risk early-stage projects that have the potential to make a big impact, but are likely too early for private investors to support. At the end of the day that means that most of the projects won’t succeed, or as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a speech on the final morning: probability says most of these projects will flop. But in a year when other forms of government funding, and venture capital funding are drying, up ARPA-E is still giving big energy ideas a glimmer of hope.
As Bill Gates once said: we need crazy energy entrepreneurs. And they were there in full force at the ARPA-E Summit. Here are 5 projects I checked out this week:
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