Monday, October 26, 2009

DOE places bets on 'transformative' energy tech

We prefer the word disruptive vs. transformative. If any of the wilder ideas pan out, they will seriously "disrupt" existing businesses.
From cnet:

The Department of Energy on Monday named the first winners of a program aimed at generating breakthroughs in clean-energy technologies.

The program, called Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), began taking applications earlier this year for research ideas that reduce imports of foreign fuel, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency. Funding for the agency is part of the Obama administration's goal to improve the economic competitiveness of the U.S. by investing in energy technology.

The DOE is awarding $151 million in 37 grants to both academics and green-tech companies, most of which are start-ups. The ideas are meant to be high-risk and high-reward, with a number not expected to meet their goals....

...One awardee is an effort at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to make an all-liquid battery, which would make storage of storage of solar and wind power more cost effective.

Another is funding for a bioreactor developed by the University of Minnesota which proposes using two microorganisms to make a vehicle fuel. One bacteria would convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into a sugar, and another would convert the sugar into a fuel.

Two other efforts include developing enzymes which would more effectively capture carbon dioxide from power plants and a low-cost material for making LED lighting. The full list of awardees is at the ARPA-E site....MORE