Chu start Manhattan Project voor energie

Nieuws | de redactie
9 maart 2010 | Steven Chu wil het energieonderzoek opschalen "in a time scale and effort reminiscent of the Manhattan Project." Obama's Nobel-minister zet zo in op de volgende "industrial revolution which creates new jobs and addresses global warming."

“If you want renewable energy to be 30 or 40 or 50 percent (ofpower generation), you need much better energy transmission andmuch better energy storage. It is absolutely essential forrenewable energy.”

Chu announced that ARPA-E has set up a programto fund development of air conditioners that are three times moreenergy efficient than today’s machines. As people in the developingworld purchase air conditioners, the question of efficiency becomesmuch more important, he said.

In addition, ARPA-E is offering grants to companies and researchersto develop chips for efficient power electronics, which can be usedfor a variety of application such as microinverters on solarpanels, wind turbine generators, or solid-state lighting. Becausemany of the “best minds” in electrical engineering in the pastyears went into microelectroncis for computers, there is a skillsshortage in this area, Chu said.

The DOE has created what Chu calls “Bell Lablets” where groups ofacademics from different disciples are focused on a single task,such as advanced biofuels or building efficiency. “The history ofscientific breakthrough shows that giving talented people aspecific focus but freedom to work on cutting-edge technology leadsto innovation in science.”

After World War II, for example, researchers set off to makeimprovements on radar, which ultimately led to the development oflasers. Improvements on that eventually led to the creation of thefirst transistor at Bell Labs. “We’re trying to upturn innovationbut in a time scale and effort reminiscent of the ManhattanProject.”

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