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  • Jodie Alexander

DOE PROPEL-1K Railroad, Oceanic, and Plane Electrification – Due 10/17

Opportunity Title:

Pioneering Railroad, Oceanic, and Plane Electrification with 1K Energy Storage Systems (PROPEL-1K)


DOE; Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy

Opportunity Number:



Electrification of the transportation sector is an ambitious vision and an essential strategy toward achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. One thing is certain – a multitude of technologies and strategies will be required to achieve these ambitious goals. Batteries and fuel cells represent potential solutions; however, for heavy-duty vehicles, vessels and aircraft, the maximum achievable energy density (by mass and by volume) for both existing and anticipated next-generation electrochemical energy storage technologies is impractically too low.

In response, the Pioneering Railroad, Oceanic, and Plane ELectrification with 1K Energy Storage Systems (PROPEL-1K) program will support the research and development of alternative approaches to energy storage to ultimately achieve a > 4x improvement compared to existing state-of-the-art options. The technical scope encompasses electrochemical and/or chemical solutions that do not require hydrocarbon-based fuels (fossil or synthetic). The targets for these energy storage system solutions are 1000 Watt-hour per kilogram (Wh/kg) and 1000 Watt-hour per liter (Wh/l) (so-called “1K” technologies) at the end of life and at the net energy storage system level. Of particular interest are technologies that are not mere extensions of current mainstream electrochemical device thinking or short-term technology road maps. The primary program objective is to develop exceptionally high-energy storage solutions, capable of catalyzing broad electrification of the aviation, railroad, and maritime transportation sectors.

  1. Aviation: PROPEL-1K can enable regional flight up to 1000 miles (700 nautical miles [nm] with reserve) on aircraft transporting up to 100 people.

  2. Railroads: PROPEL-1K can electrify all North American railroads and enable cross-country travel in the U.S. with fewer stops and reduced infrastructure required for charging or refueling.

  3. Maritime: PROPEL-1K is expected to enable the electrification of all vessels that operate exclusively in U.S. territorial waters (ferries, barges, tugs, and Jones Act freight).

Note: The PROPEL-1K program targets aviation, railroad and maritime, however, it may also provide benefits for long-distance trucking.

Award Details:

Total Amount Available:


Maximum Award:

approx. $4,000,000

Minimum Award:

approx. $200,000


October 17, 2023

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