Department of Energy

Department of Energy (19)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $3 million prize competition to reenergize innovation in U.S. solar manufacturing. The American Made Solar Prize will incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to develop new processes and products that will reassert American leadership in the solar marketplace. This prize is in addition to total DOE funding of up to $400 million for solar projects and technologies in 2017. It will lower barriers American innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale by accelerating the cycles of learning, while helping to create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE’s national laboratories.

“The United States possesses the talent, expertise, and vision to surpass the rest of the world in solar technologies and forge a new solar energy landscape around the globe,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The American Made Solar Prize will galvanize our country’s entrepreneurs, allow them to utilize technologies and innovations developed through DOE’s early-stage research and development, and, ultimately, bring new American-made products to market.”

This solar prize brings together America’s world-class research base with its unparalleled, entrepreneurial support system consisting of universities, energy incubators, and DOE’s 17 national laboratories to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for private investment and commercial scale up. The prize will connect these diverse stakeholders in a process that opens the full panorama of next-generation solar technologies that are needed by private industry, as well as amplify opportunities for revolutionary innovations to be tested that could potentially obsolete the status quo.

This newly formed network will leverage cutting-edge technologies and facilities, such as small batch prototyping to speed cycles of innovation. Testing and development capabilities of DOE’s national labs will put the foremost research expertise and analytic tools at the fingertips of U.S. entrepreneurs, and deliver immediate insights that improve research prioritization. Finally, the program will catalyze early and ongoing connections with both corporate and venture capital sources, which is key to bringing the crucial investment and financial instruments needed in the later stages of commercial scaling.

This program is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

A new public-private institute for manufacturing innovation in Youngstown, Ohio was annouced as part of ongoing efforts to help revitalize American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States.  This new partnership, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), was selected through a competitive process, led by the Department of Defense, to award an initial $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from the winning consortium, which includes manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia ‘Tech Belt.’

On March 9, 2012, President Obama announced his plan to invest $1 billion to catalyze a national network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes around the country that would serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help to make our manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States.  The President called on Congress to act on this proposal and create the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

As part of his Administration’s We Can’t Wait initiative, President Obama also announced immediate steps to launch a pilot institute to serve as a proof-of concept for the NNMI.  Five federal agencies - the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and NASA – jointly committed to invest $45 million in a pilot institute on additive manufacturing.  Today's announcement of an initial $30 million award under existing authorities is matched by $40 million from the winning consortium.

Youngstown, Ohio and the surrounding region knows what happens when manufacturing production declines. But in this area once known as the ‘rust belt’, investments like this new pilot institute demonstrate the potential within a region to bring together the capabilities of America’s companies and universities, in partnership with the federal government, to invest in the cutting-edge technologies and skills our manufacturers need to compete. With this initiative, Youngstown is poised to become the epicenter of burgeoning new industries from its leadership in additive manufacturing or 3-D printing.

The President’s proposal for a NNMI is part of his comprehensive plan to revitalize American manufacturing, which includes providing tax incentives to encourage manufacturers to invest in America, eliminating of tax breaks for manufacturing firms that ship jobs abroad, investing in community colleges and workforce training, supporting innovation in cross-cutting manufacturing technologies, investing in the 21st century infrastructure our manufacturers need, and leveling the playing field so American workers can compete on the merit of their hard work.

Background on the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute:

The NAMII will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new additive manufacturing technology and products in order to become a global center of excellence for additive manufacturing.  This pilot institute will bridge the gap between basic research and product development for additive manufacturing, provide shared assets to help companies, particularly small manufacturers, access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an environment to educate and train workers in advanced additive manufacturing skills.

Additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, is a new way of making products and components from a digital model, and will have implications in a wide range of industries including defense, aerospace, automotive, and metals manufacturing. Like an office printer that puts 2D digital files on a piece of paper, a 3D printer creates components by depositing thin layers of material one after another using a digital blueprint until the exact component required has been created.  The Department of Defense envisions customizing parts on site for operational systems that would otherwise be expensive to make or ship.  The Department of Energy anticipates that additive processes would be able to save more than 50% energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.

NAMII is led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and includes:

40 Companies:  Allegheny Technologies, AlphaMicron, Applied Systems and Technology Transfer, Autodesk, Boeing, Catalyst Connection, Energy Industries of Ohio, ExOne, FMW Composites, General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, IBM, Johnson Controls, Kennametal, Kent Displays, Laser Technology Assts, Lockheed Martin, Lubrizol, M-7 Technologies, MicroFab Technologies, Morris, Northrop Grumman, nScrypt, OSRAM Sylvania, Optomec, Oxford Performance Materials, Paramount Industries / 3D Systems, Parker Hannifin, Plextronix, POM, RTI, Ruger, Sciaky, Stratasys, Stratonics, Timken, Touchstone Research Lab, Westinghouse Nuclear, Wohlers Associates

9 Research Universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Robert Morris University, University of Akron, University of Pittsburgh, Youngstown State University

5 Community Colleges: Eastern Gateway Community College, Lorain County Community College, Northampton Community College, Penn College of Technology, Westmoreland County Community College

11 Non-Profit Organizations: Association for Manufacturing Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, JumpStart Ohio, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, MT Connect, NorTech, National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Robert C. Byrd Institute, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

For more information, visit:

The Department of Energy today announced that 19 transformative new projects will receive a total of $43 million in funding from the Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to leverage the nation’s brightest scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to develop breakthrough energy storage technologies and support promising small businesses. These projects are supported through two new ARPA-E programs -- Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) – and will focus on innovations in battery management and storage to advance electric vehicle technologies, help improve the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid and provide important energy security benefits to America’s armed forces.

“This latest round of ARPA-E projects seek to address the remaining challenges in energy storage technologies, which could revolutionize the way Americans store and use energy in electric vehicles, the grid and beyond, while also potentially improving the access to energy for the U.S. military at forward operating bases in remote areas,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “These cutting-edge projects could transform our energy infrastructure, dramatically reduce our reliance on imported oil and increase American energy security.”

Twelve research projects are receiving $30 million in funding under the AMPED program, which aims to develop advanced sensing and control technologies that could dramatically improve and provide new innovations in safety, performance, and lifetime for grid-scale and vehicle batteries. Unlike other Department of Energy efforts to push the frontiers of battery chemistry, AMPED is focused on maximizing the potential of existing battery chemistries. These innovations will help reduce costs and improve the performance of next generation storage technologies, which could be applied in both plug-in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. For example, Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, will develop an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of a lithium-ion battery in real-time.

ARPA-E is also announcing a total of $13 million for seven projects to enterprising small businesses to pursue cutting-edge energy storage developments for stationary power and electric vehicles.  These projects will develop new innovative battery chemistries and battery designs, continuing ARPA-E’s funding for storage technologies.  These awards are part of the larger Department-wide Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

For more information, visit:

As part of the Obama Administration’s blueprint for an American economy built to last, the Energy Department today announced new investments that support American leadership and global competiveness in manufacturing. The Energy Department awarded more than $54 million – leveraging approximately an additional $17 million in cost share from the private sector – for 13 projects across the country to advance transformational technologies and materials that can help American manufacturers dramatically increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs. These projects will develop cutting-edge manufacturing tools, techniques, and processes that will be able to save companies money by reducing the energy needed to power their facilities. These projects are a part of the Administration’s strategy for investing in emerging technologies that create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. companies in today’s global markets.

“By investing in breakthrough technologies that can drastically reduce the amount of energy consumed during manufacturing, the Energy Department is supporting President Obama’s blueprint for an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “When it comes to clean energy, our motto should be: ‘Invented in America, made in America, and sold around the world.’ The projects announced today will improve the competitive position of U.S. industry and help manufacturers produce more while saving energy, saving money and protecting our air and water.”

As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, an economy built to last depends largely on American manufacturing and American energy.  With sustained job growth for the first time since the 1990’s and the addition of nearly 500,000 jobs over a little more than two years, the American manufacturing sector has begun to rebound. At the same time, the U.S. reclaimed the position as the world’s leading investor in clean energy and has nearly doubled clean, renewable energy use in the country over the past few years. To continue this progress, President Obama has called on Congress to extend the clean energy manufacturing tax credits that have helped create jobs and maintain America’s competitive edge in this multi-trillion dollar global industry.

Today’s awards build on that foundation. Manufacturing is so central to the American economy that industrial processes consume about one-third of all energy produced in the United States, representing a huge opportunity to boost American competitiveness through advances in energy-saving technologies.

From improving manufacturing processes that reduce the energy needed to make components for aircraft and vehicles, to lowering the production costs of carbon fiber for a wide range of clean energy products, these projects represent a major investment in the solutions that will transform energy-intensive manufacturing technologies and materials used by industry here in the U.S. The results of these projects could produce large improvements in energy productivity, reduce pollution, and boost product output, while creating jobs and helping American companies expand export opportunities globally.

Each project will advance technologies early enough in their development cycles to permit the full scope of their technical benefits to be shared across a broad cross-section of the domestic economy. Collectively, these projects are part of the Obama Administration’s effort to support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development. By strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing, these projects will help lay a foundation for an American economy built to last.

The projects selected for awards include:

  • Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. – Allentown, PA - $1,200,000
  • American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) – Salt Lake City, UT - $7,120,000
  • Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC – Rochester, NY - $3,700,000
  • General Motors LLC – Warren, MI - $2,672,124
  • Lyondell Chemical Company – Newtown Square, PA - $4,500,000
  • MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. – St. Peters, MO - $3,680,000
  • MIT – Cambridge, MA - $1,000,000
  • PolyPlus Battery Company – Berkeley, CA - $8,999,920
  • Research Triangle Institute – Research Triangle Park, NC - $4,800,000
  • Teledyne Scientific and Imaging – Thousand Oaks, CA - $2,110,000
  • The Dow Chemical Company – Midland, MI - $9,000,000
  • The University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah - $1,460,285
  • Third Wave Systems, Inc. – Minneapolis, MN - $4,069,882

A full list of project descriptions, visit:

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a $30 million research competition that will engage our country’s brightest scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs in improving the performance and safety of energy storage devices, including hybrid energy storage modules being developed by the Department of Defense for military applications.

Through its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), the Energy Department is funding the “Advanced Management and Protection of Energy-storage Devices” (AMPED) program, to seek out transformational, breakthrough energy storage technologies that are too risky for private-sector investment but have the potential to translate science into quantum leaps in energy technology, form the foundation for entirely new industries, and have large commercial impacts.

“Innovation is our nation’s sweet spot, and it is critically important that we look at every possible energy solution in order to ensure America’s future prosperity and security,” said Secretary Chu. “Through the AMPED competition, we are charging our nation’s best and brightest to develop more effective energy storage technologies, which are used in everything from cell phones to electric vehicles to high-powered military equipment.”

Since President Obama launched ARPA-E in 2009, ARPA-E has invested over $500 million in 12 programs, which has resulted in about 180 groundbreaking projects. Today’s announcement is ARPA-E’s third funding opportunity for 2012. Demonstrating the success ARPA-E has already seen, the Department announced last year that eleven of its projects secured more than $200 million in outside private capital investment after initial funding from its programs.

Specifically, AMPED technologies have the potential to:

  • Create a new generation of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles;
  • Increase the fuel efficiency of military generators to help reduce the need for fuel-convoys on the battlefield;
  • Improve the reliability of military aircraft generators to help to reduce operation and maintenance costs;
  • Enable next generation high power weapons systems and fuel efficient operations for Navy ships; and
  • Enhance the efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electricity grid.

For more information about ARPA-E, current funding opportunities, and previously announced awards, visit:

The White House announced a new $14.2 million effort at the Department of Energy to accelerate the development and deployment of stronger and lighter materials for advanced vehicles that will help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, save drivers money, and limit carbon pollution.  This funding will support the development of high-strength, lightweight carbon fiber composites and advanced steels and alloys that will help vehicle manufacturers improve the fuel economy of cars and trucks while maintaining and improving safety and performance.

“By investing in next-generation vehicle materials and components, we are helping U.S. manufacturers improve the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks and ensuring American companies remain at the cutting-edge of the global auto industry,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  “Lighter, stronger materials will help improve the performance of our vehicles while saving families and businesses money at the pump.”

Replacing cast iron and traditional steel components with lightweight materials – including advanced high-strength steel, magnesium, aluminum, and polymer composites - allows manufacturers to include additional safety devices, integrated electronic systems and emissions control equipment on vehicles without increasing their weight.  Using lighter materials also reduces a vehicle’s fuel consumption.  For example, reducing a vehicle’s weight by 10 percent can improve the fuel economy by 6 to 8 percent.

The Energy Department intends to fund projects across three major areas of materials research and development, including developing modeling tools to deliver higher performing carbon fiber composites and advanced steels, as well as researching new lightweight, high-strength alloys for energy-efficient vehicle and truck engines.

The specific research areas include:

  • Predictive modeling of carbon fiber composites:  Carbon fiber composites are capable of reducing vehicle component weight by up to 50 percent over conventional automotive steel structures. Projects selected in this area will validate modeling tools to optimize the performance and cost-effectiveness of carbon fiber composite materials for vehicle body, chassis, and interior uses.

  • Predictive modeling of advanced steels:  Advanced high strength steels are capable of reducing vehicle component weight by more than 25 percent. Projects selected in this area will develop modeling tools to optimize the performance and cost-effectiveness of third-generation high strength steels for the vehicle body and chassis.

  • Advanced alloy development for automotive and heavy-duty engines:  As manufacturers continue to push the limits of engine efficiency, cast engine components must be strong enough to withstand higher cylinder pressures.  Projects selected in this area will develop low-cost, high-strength alloys for automotive and heavy duty engine blocks and cylinder heads.

The Energy Department will make up to $8.2 million available in fiscal year 2012 for selection under this funding opportunity announcement, and subject to congressional appropriations, the Department plans to make an additional $6 million available in fiscal year 2013 to fully fund these advanced materials projects, which will take 2-4 years to complete.

The Department will accept applications from industry, national laboratories, and university led-teams to address these challenges and enable technologies that will drive innovation in vehicle design.  Applications for the solicitation are due May 7, 2012.

For more information and application requirements, visit:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that with support from the Department of Energy, 142 small businesses around the nation are starting work this week on 180 innovative research projects ranging from designing better wind turbines to developing a chemical-free approach to killing bacteria in power plant cooling water and from developing instruments to improve nanomaterials to making new coatings to improve the efficiency of gas turbines.  These grants to small businesses - totaling $26.4 million – are developing new energy technologies that will help to grow America’s economy, create new jobs around the country and improve American competitiveness around the world.  The Energy Department’s Small Business Innovation Research program is part of the Obama Administration’s broader support for job-creating small businesses and startup companies nationwide.

“These small businesses are working to develop new technologies to bring to the marketplace, creating new jobs and potentially new industries here in America,” said Secretary Chu.  “As part of the Obama Administration’s Startup America Initiative, these innovative small businesses are helping the Department improve America’s energy security, grow our economy, and ensure U.S. companies can compete in the global economy.”

The companies will use their awards -- in amounts up to $150,000 -- over the next nine months to explore the feasibility of their innovative concepts.  They will then be eligible to compete for awards up to $1 million under a two-year, Phase II of research and development.

DOE selected the 180 projects from among nearly 1,000 Phase I proposals submitted under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

This year’s Phase I awards to date were made in 36 technical topic areas for research supporting the Department’s diverse energy, scientific and environmental missions.  Under the STTR program, 23 of the companies are partnering with a university or DOE national laboratory to do the research.  In addition, DOE is planning on at least one more Phase I competition with another round of awards later in the year.

The full list of Phase I award winners and their projects is available at:

For more information about the programs, visit:

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the offer of a $730 million conditional loan commitment to Severstal Dearborn, LLC.  The funding will support the modernization of existing facilities in Dearborn, Michigan, in addition to the design, manufacture, and construction of new facilities to produce the next generation of automotive advanced high strength steel (AHSS).  The Severstal project has the potential to significantly increase the supply of AHSS in North America as demand continues to grow for fuel-efficient vehicles. An increased supply for this breakthrough technology steel will help U.S. automotive manufacturers meet the pending and future design, weight, and safety requirements of advanced technology vehicles.  Severstal estimates the project will generate over 2,500 construction jobs and over 260 permanent manufacturing jobs.

"The Severstal project will help make American automakers more competitive as demand for lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles increases," said Secretary Steven Chu.  "By manufacturing more advanced high strength steel here at home, we rely less on imports and create thousands of new jobs that get people back to work."

"Today's announcement is great news for the company and its workers, for Michigan and for the nation," said Senator Carl Levin. "To compete today and in the future and create jobs, our manufacturers must develop breakthrough technologies in a range of areas, and this loan announcement is an important step toward developing and marketing such technologies."

"In Michigan we certainly welcome this announcement that will put so many people back to work," said Senator Debbie Stabenow, author of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing initiative. "This is exactly how this initiative is supposed to work.  An old factory is being transformed to produce advanced technology products that will make our cars safer and more fuel-efficient, and employ thousands of Michigan residents in the process.  I am very thankful to Secretary Chu and his staff for selecting Michigan for this investment."

"I am extremely pleased that the Department of Energy has decided to grant Severstal an Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan," said Representative John Dingell.  "The $730 million Severstal will receive will support the company's production of lightweight, high strength steel, which will improve automobile fuel efficiency without compromising safety.  More importantly, this loan will support 260 new jobs at Severstal's Michigan locations. Secretary Chu has my heartfelt thanks for his wise decision to support the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow in my district.  This loan will help Severstal and Southeast Michigan advance the President's goal of out-innovating and out-building the rest of the world."

The facilities will produce a wide range of advanced high strength steels, which will enable manufacturers to reduce the weight of steel components used in vehicles, creating a 10 percent reduction in total vehicle weight while meeting increasingly stringent safety regulations. Severstal's AHSS project has the potential to reduce petroleum-based fuels consumption by nearly 30 million gallons annually, and thus avoid over 260,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs:  the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.   The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies.  Including all three programs, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $40 billion to support 42 clean energy projects across the U.S.  Including Severstal, the Department has provided over $9 billion in loans to advanced technology vehicle manufacturers, including Ford Motor Company, Fisker Automotive, Nissan North America, Tesla Motors, and Vehicle Production Group.

To complement the Obama Administration's launch last week of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced a series of new manufacturing job training partnerships using the Department of Energy's National Training and Education Resource (NTER).  DOE will be partnering with the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, and Macomb Community College  to explore opportunities to provide students with highly interactive and engaging materials in a variety of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas, as well as virtual technician training.  Partner organizations will be able to access the federal resources available through the NTER - an open-source, web-based, interactive learning environment - and be able to develop new training programs and materials.

"The public-private partnerships we are announcing today will play an important role in educating and training a new generation of U.S. manufacturers," said Secretary Chu.  "These organizations and others nationwide will be able to leverage the Department's online education platform - the National Training and Education Resource - to develop and distribute training materials quickly and cost-effectively."

DOE will provide IT tools and technical support to each of the organizations, which will allow them to upgrade their existing curricula and create new immersive learning environments for students and technicians. Descriptions of the partner organizations are as follows:

The Manufacturing Institute will work with DOE to use NTER as a cutting-edge vehicle to implement the NAM-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System (MSCS) across the nation's network of community colleges and high schools.  The MSCS provides students with opportunities to earn manufacturing credentials that are accepted across state lines, are valued by a range of employers, and can improve participants' earning power.  MSCS is partnering with educational and workplace measurement and research service organization ACT, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Welding Society, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, and the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council to implement the program.

The Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (Ford PAS) is working with its network of communities to explore opportunities to integrate the DOE's National Training and Education Resource into its programs nationwide.  Ford PAS sees enormous potential in NTER to support the use of real-world industry scenarios in high school and college classrooms to engage students, develop their knowledge and skills, and prepare them for further study and promising careers in the energy and related industries.

Macomb Community College's comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities. Macomb will use NTER to enhance several of its electric vehicle oriented courses.

NTER is an open-source integration platform that brings together information technologies to support education, training and workforce development.  By providing a central access point for educational resources, the tool will help lower the costs and reduce the time it takes to develop, share, customize and update online learning materials.   It also allows instructors to create interactive 3-D scenarios and virtual environments for training that can be customized for a particular lesson or skill.  The system also provides a powerful search tool that allows users to find, rate and share courses. It is currently being used to deliver energy efficiency training.

Learn more about the National Weatherization Training Portal

President Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, including an investment of up to $120 million from the Department of Energy over three years to develop transformational manufacturing technologies and innovative materials that could enable industrial facilities to dramatically increase their energy efficiency. The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership is a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government to invest in emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness. This clean energy investment in new energy-efficient manufacturing processes and novel materials will help U.S. manufacturers save money by reducing the energy needed to power their facilities. President Obama made the announcement this morning at an event at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

"These investments will support the innovations that American manufacturers need to stay competitive in the global marketplace," said Secretary Chu. "These breakthrough manufacturing processes, technologies, and materials will help American companies to reduce energy waste and lower costs."

The selected projects will emphasize new processes and materials that are revolutionary in their design or impact and that are capable of being commercialized within the next five to seven years. By boosting investment in near-term technology development, the Department is supporting projects that might otherwise take far longer to contribute to U.S. industrial competitiveness. DOE expects to fund 35 to 50 cost-shared projects under the initiative.

Projects associated with innovations in the earlier stages of development, such as applied research projects or those that establish a proof of concept, will be eligible for awards up to $1 million. These projects must be completed within two years. Projects associated with innovations further along in their development, such as laboratory testing or verification of a prototype system, will be eligible for awards up to $9 million. These projects should not exceed three years in duration. Applicants are encouraged to form collaborative teams equipped with both technical and commercial capabilities to enhance the prospects for success. Teams can be comprised of large and small companies, universities and academic institutions, trade organizations, national laboratories, and other research institutions.

Applications are due by August 25, 2011. More information and application requirements can be found at the Funding Opportunity Exchange.

U.S. Department of Energy researchers have won 36 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine for the most outstanding technology developments with promising commercial potential.  The coveted awards are presented annually in recognition of exceptional new products, processes, materials or software developed throughout the world and introduced into the market the previous year.

"I want to congratulate this year's R&D 100 award winners.  The Department of Energy's national laboratories and sites are at the forefront of innovation, and it is gratifying to see their work recognized once again," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  "The cutting-edge research and development done in our national labs and facilities is helping to meet our energy challenges, strengthen our national security and enhance our economic competitiveness."

These awards highlight some of the successes made by the Department's national laboratories in technology transfer, moving basic research results into commercial products.

This year, scientists and engineers from 13 DOE National Laboratories and facilities will receive awards. Since 1962, when R&D Magazine's annual competition began, DOE has been the recipient of over 800 R&D 100 awards in areas such as energy, national security and basic scientific applications.

R&D 100 awards are selected by an independent panel of judges based on the technical significance, uniqueness and usefulness of projects and technologies from across industry, government and academia.

View the complete list of R&D100 awards

Monday, 20 June 2011 08:07

Virginia Tech Wins EcoCAR Competition

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On Thursday evening a team of students from Virginia Tech University learned they received top honors when they were named the overall winners of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge after designing and building an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) using E85 (ethanol).  Virginia Tech competed against 15 other universities to take home the top prize of the three-year competition sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors.  This unique competition helps train students and engineers to become the next generation of workers the U.S. needs to lead the global auto industry.

"The ingenuity and dedication shown by the students of Virginia Tech in building this next-generation vehicle will help them launch careers as leaders in the clean energy field," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. "With the experience and skills these innovative students have gained through the EcoCAR competition, they will help reduce our nation's reliance on oil imports and keep U.S. industries competitive in the global marketplace."

The EcoCAR competition challenged participating engineering students to re-engineer a GM-donated vehicle to minimize the vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety and performance.  Throughout the competition, the Virginia Tech team hit incremental goals that helped the vehicle achieve the equivalent of nearly 82 miles per gallon - a 70 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the stock vehicle.

Taking second place, also with an E85 EREV, was Ohio State University.  The University of Waterloo took third place with a hydrogen fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

EcoCAR is a three-year competition that builds on the 23-year history of DOE advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate cutting-edge automotive technologies. This program is emblematic of the Administration's work to invest in the next generation of U.S. workers and spur innovation in growing global industries, like advanced vehicles.  EcoCAR and its earlier predecessor competitions have helped educate and train hundreds of advanced automotive engineers.  These students are in high demand among American automakers, because they bring the talent, hands-on experience, and practical knowledge required to develop affordable, energy-efficient cars for consumers.

For more information visit:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the availability of more than $30 million to train undergraduate- and graduate-level engineering students in manufacturing efficiency to help them become the nation's next generation of industrial energy efficiency experts.  Through the Industrial Assessment Center program, university teams across the country will gain practical training and skills that will enable them to conduct energy assessments in a broad range of manufacturing facilities and help them compete in today's economy.  These groups of student engineers will help local companies and factories to reduce energy waste, save money, and become more economically competitive.

"Through this industrial efficiency training program, students will gain hands-on experience and training for jobs in a growing global sector, while at the same time, reducing energy waste for American businesses and helping to make our manufacturing facilities more competitive," said Secretary Chu.  "This program will make sure that the next-generation of American workers has the education and skills they need to further our transition to a clean energy economy."

Through these university-based Industrial Assessment Centers, engineering students will receive extensive training in industrial processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management principles, which will be put to use working directly with small and medium-sized industrial and manufacturing facilities around their communities. Under this funding opportunity, each Industrial Assessment Center will be expected to train at least 10 to 15 students per year, conduct approximately 20 energy assessments annually, and perform extensive follow-on reporting, tracking, implementation, and management-improvement activities.

Under this competitive funding opportunity, 20 to 30 universities will be selected as Industrial Assessment Centers and will be eligible to receive $200,000 to $300,000 per year for up to five years for the training and energy audits.  Applicants are encouraged to propose innovative methods to better ground students in core engineering, energy, and business principles and increase their understanding of management systems, industrial technologies, supply chains, energy efficiency and sustainability. In addition to conducting assessments at industrial plants, IAC's will be expected to promote interaction with private sector partners that could provide valuable workforce development support, such as scholarships and internship opportunities.  Applications are due by Tuesday, August 2, 2011. Learn more information and application requirements from the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

The Industrial Assessment Program has had a rich history of training students and performing energy assessments for small-to-medium manufacturing plants for more than 30 years. Nearly 3,000 students have graduated from the Industrial Assessment Center program and more than 60 percent have gone on to careers in the energy industry. From the program's inception in 1976 through 2009, the university teams have conducted nearly 16,000 energy assessments at U.S. manufacturing plants nationwide.  These assessments have helped save over 500 trillion BTUs of energy - equivalent to the energy consumed by 6.8 million vehicles in a year - and have helped participating manufacturers save more than $3.8 billion in energy costs.

DOE's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) works to contribute practical solutions for some of the nation's top energy challenges through a combination of transformative research and development and targeted education and assistance in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. For more information about ITP, please visit the Industrial Technologies Program's website.

The U.S. Department of Energy, the largest civilian contracting agency within the Federal government, is holding its 12th Annual Small Business Conference & Expo at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri from May 10-12, 2011. Drawing more than 1,600 participants, the conference and Expo will present information to help small businesses across the country benefit from federal funding including grant opportunities, contracting openings, and subcontracting options.

"Small businesses are the building blocks of the clean energy economy, helping to create jobs and drive the innovation that will help the U.S. to win the future," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri's fifth congressional district, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, and National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Tom D'Agostino will be offering remarks at the conference. The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization will discuss upcoming funding opportunities with small business leaders who are looking to showcase their abilities and participate in the government contracting process. One-on-one matchmaking sessions and workshops led by Department procurement analysts and small business specialists will teach small business owners to identify funding opportunities and gain a greater understanding of how to work most effectively with the Department of Energy.

At an Award Luncheon today to honor the Fiscal Year 2010 Secretarial Small Business Award recipients, the following individuals and small businesses were recognized:

* Federal Small Business Program Manager of the Year:
o Larry Sullivan, National Energy Technology Laboratory (Pittsburgh, PA)

* Federal Small Business Achievement of the Year (Management & Operations Program Office):
o Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy (Washington, DC)

* Federal Small Business Achievement of the Year (non-M&O Program Office):
o Department of Energy's Office of Health, Safety, and Security (Washington, DC)

* Federal Procurement Director of the Year:
o J.E. "Jack" Surash, Office of Environmental Management (Washington, DC)

* Management & Operations Small Business Program Manager of the Year:
o Gloria Mencer, B&W Y-12, LLC (Oak Ridge, TN)

* Management & Operations Small Business Achievement of the Year:
o SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Menlo Park, CA)

* Management & Operations Procurement Director of the Year:
o John M. Robinson, Washington River Protection Solutions, LLC (Richland, WA)

* Management & Operations Small Business Special Recognition:
o Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (Princeton, NJ)

* DOE Mentor of the Year:
o IBM (Washington, DC)

* DOE Protégé of the Year:
o Ingenium Professional Services, Inc. (Knoxville, TN)

* 8(a)/Small Disadvantaged Business of the Year:
o Bearskin Services (Wyandotte, OK)

* Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year:
o Stanek Tool Corporation (New Berlin, WI)

* HUBZone Small Business of the Year:
o Ideal System Solutions, Inc. (Minnetonka, MN)

* Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year:
o Excalibur Associates, Inc. (Alexandria, VA)

* SBIR/STTR Small Business of the Year:
o Niowave, Inc. (Lansing, MI)

* Small Business of the Year:
o Edgewater Technical Associates, LLC (Los Alamos, NM)

For more information visit:

A high school team from Sacramento and a middle school team from San Ramon won the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl today at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. Mira Loma High School defeated Montgomery Blair High School from Maryland in the high school national championship match by correctly answering a chemistry question. Gale Ranch Middle School defeated Shahala Middle School from Vancouver, Washington in the middle school national championship match.

The high school national champion will receive an all-expense-paid trip in July to the International Science School in Sydney, Australia. Members of the winning high school team are Russell Islam, Siddharth Trehan, Andrew Chen, Anish Khare, Sriram Pendyala and are coached by James Hill. Members of the winning middle school team are Saranesh Prembabu, Ayush Rath, Augustine Chemparathy, Rishi Krishnan, Ladislav Steffko and are coached by George Chemparathy.

At the awards ceremony, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu spoke to the more than 500 students and 100 teacher/coaches about the importance of science education to the Nation's economic and technological future.

"These students represent the great promise and potential of America's next great generation," said Secretary Chu. "I have no doubt that the exceptional talent and hard work that earned them the Science Bowl championship will serve them well throughout their lives, as they help our Nation tackle the crucial scientific and engineering challenges we'll face in the years ahead. America's future will always be bright when we continue to invest in and support the young minds who will be tomorrow's innovators, pioneers and leaders. That's what the science bowl is all about."

One hundred ten teams from 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands competed in this weekend's national finals of the 21st annual DOE National Science Bowl. Earlier this spring, more than 14,000 students from across the country participated in regional Science Bowls. Sixty-nine high school and 41 middle school regional Science Bowl champion teams received all-expense paid trips to compete in the National Finals in Washington, DC.

DOE created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. DOE supports mathematics and science education to help provide a technically trained and diverse workforce for the nation. More than 200,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its 21 year history.

High School Results:

Second place Montgomery Blair High School team members are: Diwakaran Ilangovan, Alexander Briese, Andrew Das Sarma, Sandra Yan, Samuel Zbarsky and coach Tran Pham. Each student received a $750 scholarship from the U.S. Air Force.

The third place team was Sunset High School from Portland, Oregon. Team members are: Rahul Dalal, Yushi Wang, Ryan Choi, Vivek Raman, Michelle Tai and coach John Sheu. Each student received a $500 scholarship from the U.S. Air Force.

The fourth place team was Fairview High School from Boulder, Colorado. Team members are: Chris Guthrie, William Conway, Charles Xu, Karun Kumar Rao, and Nicolas Le Dru and coach Tammy Hearty.

Dos Pueblos High School from Goleta, California won the High School Science Bowl Civility Award for outstanding sportsmanship. Team members are Daniel Richman, Ilan Goodman, Daniel Gay, Michael Feldman, and Andy Granatelli and coach Chris Jones. The team won a nine-day trip to Alaska to study the region's glacial, biological and geological treasures. Each member of the team also received a water-powered clock, courtesy of IBM.

Middle School Results:

Second place Shahala Middle School team members are: Peter Lu, Ming Liu, Victor Chang, Eric Hou, Daniel Rodricks and coach James Cantonwine.

The third place team was Hopkins Junior High School from Fremont, California. Team members are: Hemang Jangle, Alvin Hsu, Kyle Liang, Brian Mi, and Alvin Kao and coach Paul Ricks.

The fourth place team was Van Antwerp Middle School from Schenectady, New York. Team members are: Robert Kaucic, Martin Schreiner, Alexander Wei, Jason Tang, and Andrei Akhmetov and coach Connie Soron.

The Home Schools of Eastern Iowa from Walker, Iowa won the Middle School Science Bowl Civility Award for outstanding sportsmanship. Each member of the Civility Award team received an Amazon Kindle, a $100 gift certificate to and a water-powered clock, courtesy of IBM.

Blake Middle School from Hopkins, Minnesota raced the fastest car entry during the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge, where all the National Science Bowl middle school teams designed, built and raced model cars powered by hydrogen fuel. Their car covered 10 meters in 3.49 seconds. The Home Schools of Eastern Iowa from Walker, Iowa won the design portion of the car competition. Both teams received $500 for their schools' science department.

The top 16 high school and 8 middle school teams received a cash prize of $1,000 for their school's science department.

The remaining 12 high school teams on that list are:

* Amarillo High School, Amarillo, TX
* American Heritage School, Plantation, FL
* Bethlehem Central High School, Delmar, NY
* Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy, Coeur d'Alene, ID
* High Technology High School, Lincroft, NJ
* Hunter College High School, New York, NY
* Lexington High School, Lexington, MA
* Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, CA
* North Hollywood High School, North Hollywood, CA
* Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN
* Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
* Wayzata High School, Plymouth, MN

The remaining four middle school teams on that list are:

* Academy for Science and Design, Merrimack, NH
* Longfellow Middle School, Falls Church, VA
* Lux Middle School, Lincoln, NE
* Marshall Middle School, Wexford, PA

DOE's Office of Science manages the DOE National Science Bowl. This year's sponsors are Bechtel, IBM, Texas Instruments and the U.S. Air Force.

An archived video streaming webcast will available this afternoon on the National Science Bowl webpage.  Broadcast quality B-roll video of the Science Bowl events, biographical information on the teams, and additional information about the National Science Bowl are available on the News Media webpage.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced today that on April 30 through May 2 the DOE will host 69 high school and 41 middle school teams to compete for championship titles at the 21st annual National Science Bowl competition in Washington, D.C. The 110 regional championship teams - from 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands - will be quizzed on various science topics including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, astronomy, and energy, as well as math.

"The U.S. needs the best and the brightest scientists and engineers to help solve many of our nation's greatest challenges," said Secretary Chu. "The National Science Bowl engages students in a fun and rewarding competition, and encourages them to direct their talents toward careers in science, mathematics, and technology."

The middle school question and answer competition begins on Saturday, April 30th at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD, while high school students participate in hands-on science experiments, seminars and lectures. The high school question and answer competition will begin on Sunday, May 1st. On Sunday the middle school teams will be at the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, MD racing model hydrogen fuel cell cars that they have designed and built.

High school and middle school championship rounds will be held Monday, May 2 in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Secretary Chu will make remarks and present awards at the ceremony to follow.

The high school championship team will win a two-week trip to the International Science School in Sydney, Australia. The winner of the high school Civility Award for sportsmanlike conduct will travel to Alaska for a nine-day scientific/outdoor excursion. Additional prizes include $500-$1000 awards toward schools' science departments, scholarships, trophies, plaques, electronic book readers and gift certificates.

The Department of Energy's National Science Bowl is the nation's largest academic competition of its kind. More than 14,000 students from 1800 schools participated in regional science bowl competitions this year. DOE supports mathematics and science education to help provide a technically trained and diverse workforce for the nation.

Before the competition begins, the media may make arrangements to interview the teams in Washington, D.C. or to receive photographs of the teams during the competition by calling the DOE press office at (202) 586-4940. During the competition, media may call the DOE Science Bowl press office at (301) 961-2854.

Visit the National Science Bowl website for the list of the middle school and high school teams, to watch the webcast of the national championships and for additional information.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that up to $130 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will be made available to develop five new program areas that could spark critical breakthrough technologies and secure America's energy future. Today's funding opportunity announcement comes two months after ARPA-E announced six of its projects have secured more than $100 million in outside private capital investment - indications that the business community is eager to invest in truly innovative solutions to the country's energy challenges.

"ARPA-E is unleashing American innovation to strengthen America's global competitiveness and win the clean energy race," said Secretary Chu. "In addition to creating new jobs, breakthroughs in clean energy technologies can reduce our country's dependence of foreign oil, decrease the cost of clean electricity, and build a sustainable infrastructure for future generations of Americans."

Today's announcement is ARPA-E's fourth round of funding opportunities. In its first year, ARPA-E awarded $363 million in Recovery Act funding to 121 groundbreaking energy projects based in 30 states, with approximately 39% of projects led by universities, 33% by small businesses, 20% by large businesses, 5% by national labs, and 3% by non-profits.

ARPA-E's fourth round of funding opportunities includes five technology areas detailed below:

1. Plants Engineered To Replace Oil (PETRO). Technologies for low-cost production of advanced biofuels are limited by the small amount of available energy captured by photosynthesis and the inefficient processes used to convert plant matter to fuel. PETRO aims to create plants that capture more energy from sunlight and convert that energy directly into fuels. ARPA-E seeks to fund technologies that optimize the biochemical processes of energy capture and conversion to develop robust, farm-ready crops that deliver more energy per acre with less processing prior to the pump. If successful, PETRO will create biofuels for half their current cost, finally making them cost-competitive with fuels from oil. Up to $30 million will be made available for this program area.

2. High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage (HEATS). More than 90% of energy technologies involve the transport and conversion of thermal energy. Therefore, advancements in thermal energy storage - both hot and cold - would dramatically improve performance for a variety of critical energy applications. ARPA-E seeks to develop revolutionary cost-effective thermal energy storage technologies in three focus areas: 1) high temperature storage systems to deliver solar electricity more efficiently around the clock and allow nuclear and fossil baseload resources the flexibility to meet peak demand, 2) fuel produced from the sun's heat, and 3) HVAC systems that use thermal storage to improve the driving range of electric vehicles by up to 40 percent. Up to $30 million will be made available for this program area.

3. Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies (REACT). Rare earths are naturally-occurring minerals with unique magnetic properties that are used in many emerging energy technologies. As demand for these technologies continues to increase, rare earths are rapidly becoming more expensive due to limited global supply - prices of many have increased 300-700% in the past year. Rising rare earth prices have already escalated costs for some energy technologies and may jeopardize the widespread adoption of many critical energy solutions by U.S. manufacturers. ARPA-E seeks to fund early-stage technology alternatives that reduce or eliminate the dependence on rare earth materials by developing substitutes in two key areas: electric vehicle motors and wind generators. Up to $30 million will be made available for this program area.

4. Green Electricity Network Integration (GENI). Recent advances in computation, networking, and grid monitoring have shed light on potential ways to deliver electricity more efficiently and reliably. Today, however, the equivalent of one out of every five electricity dollars is lost to power outages and 30 percent of the grid's hardware needs replacing. ARPA-E seeks to fund innovative control software and high-voltage hardware to reliably control the grid, specifically: 1) controls able to manage 10 times more sporadically available wind and solar electricity than currently on the grid, and 2) resilient power flow control hardware - or the energy equivalent of an internet router - to enable significantly more electricity through the existing network of transmission lines. Up to $30 million will be made available for this program area.

5. Solar Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (Solar ADEPT). The DOE SunShot Initiative leverages the unique strengths across DOE to reduce the total cost of utility-scale solar systems by 75 percent by the end of the decade. If successful, this collaboration would deliver solar electricity at roughly 6 cents a kilowatt hour - a cost competitive with electricity from fossil fuels. This would enable solar electricity to scale without subsidies and make the U.S. globally competitive in solar technology. ARPA-E's portion of the collaboration is the Solar ADEPT program, which focuses on integrating advanced power electronics into solar panels and solar farms to extract and deliver energy more efficiently. Specifically, ARPA-E aims to invest in key advances in magnetics, semiconductor switches, and charge storage, which could reduce power conversion costs by up to 50 percent for utilities and 80 percent for homeowners. Up to $10 million will be made available for this program area.

The five technology areas announced today will join ARPA-E's seven existing programs in power electronics (ADEPT), battery technologies (BEEST), building cooling (BEETIT), non-photosynthetic biofuels (Electrofuels), grid energy storage (GRIDS), carbon capture (IMPACCT), and its initial open solicitation.

For more information about ARPA-E, current funding opportunities, and previously announced awards please visit:

As part of the Obama Administration's Startup America Initiative, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge, which will give start-up companies the opportunity to license groundbreaking technologies developed by the National Laboratories for $1,000 and build successful businesses.  As part of this effort, the Department is reducing both the cost and paperwork requirements for start-up companies to obtain an option agreement to license some of the 15,000 patents and patent applications held by our 17 National Laboratories.

"America's entrepreneurs and innovators are the best in the world," said Secretary Chu.  "Today, we're challenging them to create new businesses based on discoveries made by our world-leading national laboratories.  Because we've cut the upfront fees and reduced the paperwork, we'll make it easier for start-up companies to succeed and create the new jobs our economy needs.  Our goal is simple: unleash America's innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future."

Currently, only about 10 percent of federal patents have been licensed to be commercialized.  This initiative aims to double the number of startup companies coming out of the National Laboratories.

Specifically, as part of "America's Next Top Energy Innovator:"

1) On Monday, May 2, 2011, the Department will kick off the challenge by posting a streamlined template option agreement online for entrepreneurs to submit to Laboratories.  Entrepreneurs must identify the technology of interest and submit a business plan to be considered for the program.   Participants will have until December 15 to make their submission to the Laboratory.

2) Any of the 15,000 unlicensed patents and patent applications held by the National Laboratories will be available for licensing by startup companies

3) From May 2 to December 15, the Department will reduce the total upfront cost of licensing DOE patents in a specific technology to a $1,000 upfront fee for portfolios of up to three patents.  This represents a savings of $10,000 to $50,000 on average in upfront fees.

4) Other license terms, such as equity and royalties, will be negotiated on a case by case basis and will typically be due once the company grows and achieves widescale commercial success.  These fees help support the Department's continuing research activities to develop new technologies.

5) The Department will simplify the licensing process and establish a standard set of terms for start-ups, who generally lack the resources, time or expertise to negotiate individual licensing agreements.  This will significantly reduce both the time and cost required to process the license, allowing faster access to the Department's patents and enabling the Department to process more licenses in a shorter amount of time.

6) Entrepreneurs who complete the process and demonstrate progress toward executing their business plan and commercializing the technology will have the opportunity to be showcased at the 3rd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in 2012, which brings together leading technology startups and clean energy investors from around the country.

In addition to these steps, the Department is making it easier for companies to use the world-leading facilities at our National Laboratories to conduct collaborative research and development activities.  Previously, companies had to make an upfront payment covering the first 90 days of research work - a requirement that was often difficult for start-ups to meet.  Today, the Department is lowering the advance payment requirement to 60 days.  This change will benefit all companies - not just start-ups - but could be valuable for those participating in the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge.

Entrepreneurs interested in participating can already view the available technologies on the Department's Energy Innovation Portal.

Some of the promising innovations currently available for licensing and featured on the portal include:

Solar Energy Storage, Transportation and Conversion - available from DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a system for converting solar energy to chemical energy and, subsequently, to thermal energy. The system includes a light-harvesting station, a storage station, and a thermal energy release station that enables transportation of stored energy over long distances.
Marketing Summary

Grid Friendly Appliance Controller - available from DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
The Grid Friendly Appliance controller senses grid conditions by monitoring system frequency and provides automatic demand response in times of disruption. This simple computer chip can be installed in household appliances and can turn them off for a few minutes or even a few seconds to allow the grid to stabilize and prevent blackouts.
Marketing Summary

Growth of Lattice Matched III-V Semiconductor Materials - available from DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory
High-performance semiconductor materials have a broad range of potential applications, including high efficiency solar cells, solid-state lighting, and high-speed transistors. This portfolio allows for the use of low-cost, scalable, and reusable substrates to dramatically reduce production costs for these materials.
Marketing Summary

New Catalyst Can Reduce Nitrogen Oxide Emissions From Diesel Engines by 80-85% - available from DOE's Argonne National Laboratory
The diesel DeNOx catalyst removes 80-85% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel fuel combustion by converting NOx to nitrogen. With its lower expected manufacturing and installation costs, ease of use, and significant market potential, the Argonne catalyst is positioned to deliver the environmental-and economical-benefits needed to reduce our global industrial "footprint."
Marketing Summary

Read some recent examples (pdf - 162 kb) of established companies and start-ups that have commercialized Department of Energy technologies.

"Startup America" is an important element of the Administration's national innovation strategy.  For more information about the steps announced today and the more than 15,000 technology opportunities currently available, visit the Department's Energy Innovation Portal.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced up to $5 million in funding to support Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) Centers of Excellence.  The GATE Centers will focus on educating a future workforce of automotive engineering professionals who will gain experience in developing and commercializing advanced automotive technologies. Today's announcement supports the Administration's goal of increasing American economic competitiveness by focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to support job growth and put the nation on the path to out-educate and out-innovate the rest of the world. The funding will also help to achieve President Obama's ambitious goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 - which would reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and lead to a reduction in oil consumption of about 750 million barrels through 2030.

"Given the challenge and the enormous economic opportunities in clean energy, it's time for America to do what we do best: innovate," said Secretary Chu.  "With educational investments like the GATE Centers, our future scientists and engineers will gain the expertise to develop and deploy the next generation of advanced vehicle technologies, helping to ensure America has the workforce we need to win the future."  

The GATE Centers of Excellence will provide graduate level inter-disciplinary education in critical automotive technology areas including:

* Advanced Combustion Engines
* Lightweight Materials
* Advanced Energy Storage
* Advanced Hybrid Propulsion and Control Systems.

The goal of the GATE Centers for Excellence is to overcome technology barriers to the development and production of cost-effective, high-efficiency vehicles for the U.S. market.  The awards will fund curriculum development and expansion, in addition to student fellowship opportunities for graduate engineering degrees in critical automotive technologies.  Award eligibility is restricted to U.S. colleges and universities and university-affiliated research institutions with accredited graduate engineering programs.

More information is available on the GATE Centers for Excellence webpage.  A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions can be found on the FedConnect Website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000442. Applications must be submitted through no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on April 18, 2011.

DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program is focusing on meeting tomorrow's transportation challenges with an integrated portfolio of advanced vehicle and fuel research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities.  Learn more information on the Vehicle Technologies Program webpage.

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