October 23, 2007 12:38 PM PDT

Department of Energy opens doors to tech entrepreneurs

The Department of Energy is going to open its doors to Silicon Valley in hopes of turning some of its research projects into commercial projects.

Under the entrepreneur-in-residence program, announced Tuesday, the Department of Energy will invite executives to set up shop inside of select labs to assess different technologies and their commercial viability.

"They will have unfettered access to our taxpayer-funded technologies in our national labs," Alexander Karsner, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Department of Energy, said to an audience at the Dow Jones Alternative Energy Innovations Conference taking place this week in Redwood City, Calif. Karsner also spoke with reporters separately after his speech.

The program exists in part to help spur the alternative energy economy. The Bush administration, Karsner said, is very interested in promoting low-carbon and carbon-free alternatives to fossil fuels.

For instance, on November 5, the Department of Energy will unfurl a program outlining some of the administration's long-term goals. Wind could provide 20 percent of the electricity for the U.S. in the future, Karsner said. The administration also will discuss "clean energy superhighways," or areas that will be created for producing large amounts of electricity from wind or solar power that will then be transferred to cities and densely populated regions, he added.

At the same time, the department wants to speed up the process of commercialization.

"We were looking at the logic of breaking the logjam and the less-than-fluid rate of tech transfer," he said. "We have a system where the labs are incentivized for research and writing reports on that research. They do not produce business plans."

In the past few years, the Department of Energy has loosened its technology transfer process a bit. Companies like GreenVolts (which develops solar concentrators) and LiveFuels (algae-based biofuels) are based on technologies from the national labs. Neither company was founded, moreover, by ex-national lab scientists.

The entrepreneur-in-residence program will start at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and then move to Sandia National Laboratories.

While the agency has figured out many of the terms and conditions, the royalty that the labs get will be determined on a case-by-case basis, Karsner said.

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5 comments

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Here is a solution...
Take two weeks worth of funding from the Iraq war (~$4 Billion) and put it into programs at the national labs and I bet we have an alternative energy solution in 6 months. Los Alamos National Laboratory's budget for an entire year is ~$2 billion..
Posted by KThompson2 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The answer can be seen at SolarTransfer.com
The current million solar roofs program is not and will not work. Everyone interested in going solar should look into a Solar Transfer solution.
Posted by Manhattan2 (329 comments )
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musings
hmmmmmmm.......well a solar tree......if you uncurl
a length of reflective metal and pull it up from the
center you have a cheap solar concentrator..........
remember nano,more surface in 3d.......power lines
to hang panels on and inject into the grid utilizing
super capacitors......a solar tower shaped like a
tall spiral tube,more volume per foot print.......
but i digress...........
Posted by zigaboo (1 comment )
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How about this:
What's your albedo footprint? Forget the carbon footprint for a moment and check your albedo footprint. While we want to make our carbon footprint smaller we want to make our albedo footprint larger. What can you do today to increase your albedo footprint? Think albedo whenever you buy something new. Pass it on.
Posted by spothannah (145 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Solution
Human excrement + Nuclear Waste = Hydrogen

Replacement technology for fossil fuel powered electrical generating facilities..........

If the doors open

whom do I contact?

Dennis Baker
dennisbaker2003@hotmail.com
Posted by dennisbaker2003 (6 comments )
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