The Obama Administration has ambitious plans to spawn new technology through its economic stimulus, which includes $8 billion for energy research and development.
But Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the nation needs more than incremental change – it needs game-changing technology that resets the paradigm, much as the transistor and computer chip once did.
Already, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Department of Energy plans for its share of the stimulus package to help create the following:
- cells that convert sunlight to electricity with double or triple the efficiency of today’s solar panels
- batteries that store 10 times more energy than current models
- a process for capturing and storing the carbon dioxide emissions from coal
- advanced materials that allow coal and nuclear power plants to operate at hotter temperatures and higher efficiency.
But to Chu, this is not enough. An Energy Department task force suggests more basic science research and creating “dream teams” of scientists equipped with the best tools. The goal is to exponentially boost the rate of discovery.
The Obama Administration is taking some steps to help spur new energy growth, including a new loan process from the Department of Energy that promises quicker response.