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Rinaldi Awarded $1.7M ARPA-E Grant for Transformational Energy Technology

January 18, 2019

Matteo Rinaldi, ECE Associate Professor and director of Northeastern SMART, was awarded a $1.7M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for “Zero-Power Wireless Infrared Digitizing Sensors for Large Scale Energy-Smart Farm”.

Northeastern University will develop a maintenance-free sensor network to improve energy and agricultural efficiency by monitoring water content in plants. The team’s zero-power sensors will form distributed networks that can capture, process, and communicate in-field data to help farmers determine how to maximize yield. Specifically, sensors will monitor water stress-related plant characteristics, relaying these data wirelessly to a control center in the irrigation system. The proposed technology does not consume any power in standby mode, eliminating the cost of battery replacements.

Northeastern University received this competitive award from ARPA-E’s OPEN+ program, a project inspired by the agency’s OPEN funding solicitations, in which teams develop innovative technologies to transform the nation’s energy system. The agency decided to create the OPEN+ cohorts—drawing from the large and impressive OPEN 2018 application pool—to focus on particular topics in energy where ARPA-E sees significant opportunities to innovate and create new communities.