ARPA-E Issues Crowdsourced Challenge: Simple, Rapid, Minimally Invasive Method to Determine Energy Content of Plant Material

ARPA-E Issues Crowdsourced Challenge: Simple, Rapid, Minimally Invasive Method to Determine Energy Content of Plant Material

Jan 07, 2014

ARPA-E is piloting a crowdsourced energy challenge. This pilot challenge will focus on ARPA-E’s PETRO program, which aims to increase the viability of biofuels by investing in research to double the energy-capture-per-unit area from that of corn ethanol. The challenge asks "solvers" to present a detailed description and scientific rationale for a simple, rapid, and minimally invasive method to determine the energy content of plant material.

Historically, this energy content has been determined through destructive methods: cutting, drying, and then burning plant tissue to calculate the amount of energy released through combustion. While this approach is generally effective, it is also time-consuming, difficult to scale, and wasteful.

ARPA-E is working with InnoCentive, a global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems, and Booz Allen Hamilton to take on this challenge. InnoCentive has a global network of millions of problem solvers who have helped clients, including Eli Lily & Company, the Air Force Research Labs, NASA, and several other government agencies—among many others. Winners of this crowdsourced challenge could receive up to $30,000. To learn more and to submit a solution, please visit the ARPA-E Challenge on the InnoCentive website.

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