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U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the United States plans to invest up to $366 million to establish and operate 3 new Energy Innovation Hubs focused on accelerating research and development in 3 key energy areas.
Each hub, to be funded up to $122 million over 5 years, will bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers in an effort to speed research and shorten the path from scientific discovery to technological development and commercial deployment of highly promising energy-related technologies.
"Given the urgency of our challenges in both energy and climate, we need to do everything we can tomobilize our nation's scientific and technological talent to accelerate the pace of innovation," said Secretary Chu. "The Department of Energy Innovation Hubs represent a new, more proactive approach to managing and conducting research," he said.
"We are taking a page from America's great industrial laboratories in their heyday. Their achievements – from the transistor to the information theory that makes modern telecommunications possible – are evidence that we can build creative, highly-integrated research teams that can accomplish more, faster, than researchers working separately."
The 3 DOE Energy Innovation Hubs will focus on the production of fuels directly from sunlight; improving energy-efficient building systems; and computer modeling for the development of advanced nuclear reactors.
The Hubs are part of a broad-based clean energy research strategy by the administration of President Barack Obama to meet the energy challenges of the 21st century.
The strategy includes 3 new initiatives which are designed to complement each other. The first approach is the Energy Frontier Research Centers launched by DOE's Office of Science to support multi-year, multi-investigator collaboration focused on overcoming hurdles in basic science that block transformational discoveries.
The second approach supports efforts by American energy innovators to explore high-risk, high-reward potentially transformative technologies that are financially too risky for industry to fund.
The third novel funding model, Energy Innovation Hubs, will establish larger, highly integrated teams ideally working under one roof, conducting high-risk, high-reward research and working to solve priority technology challenges that span work from basic research to engineering development to commercialization readiness.
The United States is remains committed to developing clean, renewable sources of energy for all the world to share.