The 'America's Next Top Energy Innovator' Challenge Begins Today

Ed. note: This was cross-posted on the Department of Energy blog.

Starting today and until December 15, start-up companies can apply for one of the Department of Energy's thousands of unlicensed patents for greatly reduced cost and paperwork.

The Department of Energy's 17 national laboratories currently hold more than 15,000 patents and applying for them usually costs between $10,000 to $50,000 and months of paperwork. But now, as part of the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge, start-up companies can submit a business plan and use this template agreement to obtain up to three patents from a single lab for $1,000.

Lasers used for photovoltaic research

Lasers used for photovoltaic research in one of SERI's PV labs.
Photo courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The challenge is part of the Obama Administration's Startup America Initiative to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. "Our goal is simple,” said Secretary Chu, "unleash America's innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future."

And while all innovative companies are an inspiration and critical to America's future growth, only a handful can be America's Next Top Energy Innovators.

In a year, we'll showcase the start-up companies -- who make the most progress toward executing their business plan and commercializing their new technology -- at the premier annual gathering of clean energy investors and innovators around the country, the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.

If you're an interested, you can peruse the available technologies on the Department's Energy Innovation Portal and read answers to the most frequently asked questions here.

Good luck!

Ginny Simmons is a new media specialist with the Department of Energy's Office of Public Affairs

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