Caltech Leads $122M Energy Effort

The U.S. Department of Energy is continuing its efforts to fund new energy innovation projects, saying Thursday that it is awarding up to $122M in funding to a project being led by the California Institute of Technology, based out of Pasadena. According to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, the DOE will award up to $122M over five years to a team which will develop "revolutionary methods" to generate fuel directly from sunlight. The new Energy Innovation Hub also includes participation by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego.

The DOE said that the new Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) will work on an effort to simulate nature's photosynthetic apparatus for energy production, looking to create a solar-energy-to-chemical fuel process from the lab into commercialization. The new effort will be directed out of Caltech by Professor Nathan S. Lewis. The project was slected out of a competitive process, and includes initial funding of $22M this year, and an estimated $25M per year for the next four years.