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America's Next Top Energy Innovator

March 29, 2011 - 11:16am

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National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists found multiple uses for thin film lithium ion conductors - for batteries and for solar cells. | Photo Courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists found multiple uses for thin film lithium ion conductors - for batteries and for solar cells. | Photo Courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

As part of the Obama Administration's Startup America Initiative, Secretary Chu announced a new program today, called "America's Next Top Energy Innovator," to reduce the cost and paperwork for start-up companies to purchase the Department’s many thousand unlicensed patents and start bringing more of these new energy technologies to the U.S. marketplace. "Our goal is simple,” said Secretary Chu, "unleash America’s innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future."

Starting on Monday, May 2, entrepreneurs will be able to apply for any of these patents by submitting a business plan for how they propose to use them. Best of all, within the scope of this challenge, a portfolio of up to three patents will cost an upfront fee of just $1,000 --  a total savings of $10,000 - $50,000

The top entrepreneurs, who complete the process and demonstrate significant progress toward executing their business plan and commercializing the technology, will appear in a showcase at the 3rd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit showcase in 2012 -- the premier annual gathering of clean energy investors and innovators around the country.

Some examples of the technology available for licensing includes:

  • A system for converting solar energy to chemical energy and, subsequently, to thermal energy.
  • The Grid Friendly Appliance controller that senses grid conditions by monitoring system frequency and provides automatic demand response in times of disruption.
  • High-performance semiconductor materials that have a broad range of potential applications, including high efficiency solar cells, solid-state lighting, and high-speed transistors.

If you're an interested entrepreneur, you can browse the available technologies and learn more about the streamlined licensing process on the Energy Department's Energy Innovation Portal.

Good luck and we hope to see your applications in May.

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