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Challenge ARPA-E Challenge: High Gas Mass Transfer for Bio-Based Reactors
ARPA-E Challenge: High Gas Mass Transfer for Bio-Based Reactors
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 138
Posted: Oct 23 2014
Challenge ID: 9933437
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The mission of the U.S Dept. of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) is to identify and fund research to translate science into breakthrough energy technologies that are not yet mature enough for  private sector investment but may, if successfully developed,  create the foundation for entirely new industries.  One such research program is Reducing Emissions Using Methanotrophic Organisms for Transportation Energy (REMOTE).  The goal of REMOTE is to develop  bioconversion technologies to transform our ability to convert methane (the main component of natural gas) into liquid fuels at small scale and low capital expense (CapEx).  One important technology challenge in this area is the energy efficient transfer of gas feedstocks into an aqueous phase for bioconversion at high volumetric productivities.  

This ARPA-E Challenge seeks new strategies and approaches to achieving high rates of  mass transfer of gas feedstocks in bio-based catalytic reactors (bioreactors), while minimizing the input of energy.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.


ARPA-E is looking for new ideas, concepts, and approaches to increase the rate of gas transfer (particularly methane and oxygen) in a bioreactor where bio-based/microbial catalysts are present. Technologies such as bubble columns, forced-air and/or pressurized continuously stirred tank reactors, and U-loop reactors are representative of the current state of technology. Although technically viable, all require significant input energy and CapEx.  ARPA-E is particularly interested in solutions requiring minimal CapEx, and which can be cost effective at a range of scales.  

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,000. Seeker may also issue “Honorable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards. 
  • Solvers selected for awards (monetary) or “honorable mention” (no monetary award) UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT proposed SOLUTIONs selected for award or honorable mention will BE PUBLISHED ON SEEKER’S WEB SITE FOR UNLIMITED USE BY ANYONE AND IN ANY MANNER, AND SUCH SOLVERS WAIVE ANY AND All intellectual property rights IN THEIR PROPOSED SOLUTIONS.  In other words, your submission will be put into the public domain to promote further research in this area. THIS MAY INCLUDE CONTACT BY ARPA-E awardees WHO ARE INTERESTED IN COLLABORATING WITH SOLVERS WHOSE AWARDS SEEM GERMANE TO THEIR WORK.
  • NOTE: Seeker, on its website, will credit each selected Solver (awarded cash or Honorable Mention) for its selected submission (name and contact email); however, each selected Solver will be given the option to opt out of having their name and contact info used on the Seeker’s website; however, the Solver cannot opt out of having your submission published, if selected for a monetary or non-monetary award. 

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submitted a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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