The US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has announced up to $60m funding for two new programs to detect and measure methane emissions and develop innovative localized thermal management systems that cut the energy needed to heat and cool buildings.

The two new ARPA-E’s programs are Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR) and Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA).

The MONITOR program has been designed to help the oil and gas sector in reducing methane emissions and build a more sustainable energy future.

Up to $30m will be made available through the MONITOR program to help US teams to develop low-cost, highly-sensitive systems that detect and measure methane associated with the production and transportation of oil and natural gas.

If successful, MONITOR’s technologies could accurately and cost-effectively measure methane emissions and provide a detection network to mitigate the release of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

The DELTA program has been designed to help develop innovative localized heating and cooling devices for expanding temperature ranges within buildings – enhancing personal comfort while saving energy.

This program seeks to develop both installed and wearable devices that can regulate temperatures in close proximity to a building’s occupants.

According to ARPA-E, this localized thermal management will enable buildings to operate in wider temperature ranges while still ensuring occupant comfort, which would dramatically reduce the building’s energy consumption and associated emissions.

Acting ARPA-E director Cheryl Martin said developing a broad range of technology options to reduce energy emissions and consumption is critical for a secure, affordable, and sustainable American energy future.

"The disruptive technologies that ARPA-E will fund through these two new programs will fill critical gaps in energy research and development and push the boundaries of emissions reduction and energy efficient technologies," Martin added.