ARPA-E’s SCALEUP Program Accelerates Clean Technology Development

Institutions and labs that lead research and development (R&D) of low-greenhouse gas (GHG) technologies will play a critical role in reducing global emissions. However, market and financial barriers impede the ability to commercialize these new technologies. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported in July 2020 that while the technology exists to create a resilient and zero-carbon economy by 2050, only 25% of those technologies are currently mature. While a prototype or demonstration project exists, additional R&D will be required before cost effective deployment at scale.

Historically, technological development takes collaboration. The development of solar PV was an international, multi-stakeholder effort, involving companies, the national laboratory system, NASA, utilities, and universities.

Large energy buyers can accelerate deployment of both existing and next generation clean energy technologies through a new program called Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) from the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

Driving clean tech innovation

ARPA-E’s mission is to advance high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. The SCALEUP program identifies key disruptive technologies in the prototype phase that have the potential to outperform existing technologies. Then, as the name suggests, the technologies are scaled through demonstration projects to accelerate development. This year there are 32 semifinalists in the following categories:

  • Transportation 
  • Buildings and Agriculture 
  • Grid and Renewables 
  • Industrial

If you are interested in engaging in REBA’s clean energy technology work, contact the Innovations team: innovation@rebuyers.org.

If you are interested in becoming a REBA member to access the ARPA-E SCALEUP Buyers Call and additional resources, please contact REBA’s Membership Team: membership@rebuyers.org.