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U.S. May Spend $130 Million for Energy Research, Chu Says

The U.S. Energy Department said it will provide as much as $130 million for projects in its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, known as ARPA-E.

The funding is for five categories: producing biofuels as an alternative to oil, storing thermal energy, finding alternatives to expensive rare-earth minerals, maintaining electric grid reliability as renewable sources are added and reducing costs for solar power, according to a statement.

“ARPA-E is unleashing American innovation to strengthen America’s global competitiveness and win the clean energy race,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said today in a statement.

The agency, created in 2009, backs technologies that are too risky to lure business investments alone. President Barack Obama’s administration has asked Congress to provide ARPA-E with $650 million for fiscal year 2012.

ARPA-E received $363 million in economic stimulus money, which has funded 121 projects in 30 states, the Energy Department said. Six of those projects have drawn $100 million from private investors, the agency said in February.

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