In the U.S., businesses tend to invest in research that will pay off in the short term. National laboratories are filling a gap by conducting the essential research that will change the game 10 to 20 years down the road. Learn more about how years of conducting advanced research in both the private and public sectors led to battery technology that made electric cars possible.
General Electric (GE) announced that it will build a new thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar panel manufacturing facility based on innovative technology originally developed at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
GE expects that the plant will produce enough solar panels annually to provide electricity to 80,000 homes and to create 355 jobs in Colorado over the next three to five years.
This week, Secretary Chu congratulated two scientists for their trailblazing work: Dr. Saul Perlmutter in the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who was recently named the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Dr. Daniel Shechtman, who is currently an associate scientist at the Energy Department's Ames Laboratory, for winning the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the discovery of quasicrystals.”
We checked back in with Bill Picciano, who we last spoke to in October 2009 after he'd recently been hired at the Savannah River Site (SRS) through the Recovery Act. Now he's permanently employed at the Site as an Associate Engineer/Technical Support Specialist - a job he's proud to have.
One of the country's leading experts on private sector investment in clean energy, Richard Kauffman is joining the Energy Department as a Senior Advisor. It's also his first in the public sector – a fact that humbles Kauffman: “For me this is my opportunity to serve. My hope is that I will bring capabilities and experience that are complementary to the great talent that is already here.”
Gary Miklethun, the owner of Narrows Electric, a small electrical contractor in Gig Harbor, Wash., that specializes in residential and small commercial projects, definitely felt it when the economy slowed down. But installing new smart grid technology in 500 homes not only gave his team new work, but new customers.