This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 04, 2012

DOE's Top Energy Innovator Challenge Open to Public Voting

DOE announced on December 19 that it will give the public the chance to vote for the most innovative and promising technologies supported by the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge. In all, 36 start-up companies elected to participate in this first-of-its-kind effort. These companies have signed 43 option agreements allowing them to license cutting-edge technologies developed and patented by one of DOE's 17 national laboratories and the Y-12 National Security Complex, one of four production facilities in the National Nuclear Security Administration's Nuclear Security Enterprise. Competitors used a streamlined application process and a greatly reduced upfront fee of $1,000.

Beginning in mid January, Americans will be able to view profiles of the companies and vote on those that could contribute most to the country’s economic and energy future. An expert panel will evaluate the companies and identify those that have most advanced their business plans. See the top innovator Web page.

Among the companies competing are Vorbeck Materials, based in Jessup, Maryland, which is using a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-developed method for building tiny chemical structures to greatly improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries. And, Boulder, Colorado-based e-Chromic LLC will use electrochromic technology developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to create a new thin-film window material that reflects sunlight on demand, making windows more energy efficient while reducing cooling costs for consumers. See the DOE press release and a White House blog on startups.

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