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Power Science Technology

US Funding Five Game-Changing Energy Projects 529

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-want-my-water-car dept.
coondoggie writes "Taking aim at developing some progressive energy technologies the US Department of Energy said it will write a $130 million check to develop five areas, including plants engineered to replace oil, thermal power storage, rare earth alternatives and what it calls the energy equivalent of an Internet router."
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US Funding Five Game-Changing Energy Projects

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  • by drfreak (303147) <dtarsky@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:00PM (#35925738)

    Will Nikola Tesla please stand up? Oh wait, he's dead. Forget it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Back in the day the Rare Earth scored Top-40 hits with "Get Ready" and "I just want to celebrate", but if you were looking for alternatives, the Temptations (who also did "Get Ready", as well as "Ball of Confusion") would be one.

    • There are people who share Tesla's dream of extracting energy from the aether. They don't grok physics like Tesla did, and there is active resistance from the devotees of materialist-based science, which is why progress has been so slow. The Pure Energy Systems wiki [peswiki.com] is the best place to go if you want to get a better idea of what innovations dreamers are thinking up. I saw my acquaintance's truck on the front page one day... :)

      Here's an article that's on the PESwiki front page right now, about Tesla Coils u [pesn.com]

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:09PM (#35925792)

    Unlike Brazil, once prices went back down the US decided to drop all the programs from the 70s because. Hell, fuel was cheap! People have already forgotten 2008 and went out buying SUVs once again. Now they're complaining once again.

    • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:18PM (#35926184) Journal

      Which is why public policy should be directed to intercede. The public is short-sighted, like the markets that supply their fuel and "choose" which technologies to pursue. We can see the storm coming on the horizon, but when you've got so many people looking straight up, seeing the sun and proclaiming there's no danger it's hard to react to a future that many experts know is coming.

      We can either make tough choices now that will lead to a somewhat painful but tolerable transition period, or wait and do the same things in haste and agony. The people saying we should do nothing are doing so mostly out of an ideological mistrust of government doing anything, but they are going to be very regretful when they realize the markets failed to see and prepare for a future that experts and government DID predict, and could have prevented or at least vastly reduced the severity of.

      We are in for a bleak future, because a small section of society has a vested interest in doing nothing and they have fully convinced roughly half of us that doing anything about it is an affront to their liberty. They'll pay in the end, we all will.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Well, you have to remember, 2008 was fueled by hope and change and some people believe either is working.

    • When fuel is cheap, and likely to stay that way, why invest a bunch of money developing more expensive energy sources that won't pay off for decades?

      When existing fuels are about to get expensive it may make sense to develop these pricey alternatives - IF the fuels will STAY expensive once they're developed.

      Of course no investor in his right mind will invest in the research if the government is going to hand out millions of bucks to their cronies so said cronies can take over the new market.

      Such winner-pick

      • by bunratty (545641)
        Because fuel keeps becoming more expensive. Because we obtain much of our fuel (oil) from an unstable part of the world. Because burning fossil fuels results in higher concentrations of greenhouse gasses and is acidifying the oceans. If we don't start investing in alternative energy sources until it becomes profitable, we'll be paying dearly for energy. Let's start investing now, so the price of alternative energy comes down and we can switch to them before energy prices skyrocket.
        • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:50PM (#35926378) Journal

          Let's start investing now, so the price of alternative energy comes down and we can switch to them before energy prices skyrocket.

          My point is that, as long as the government does the investing - in the form of picking their cronies as the winners, we WON'T get private investment. Meanwhile government cronies on the dole put on a big show of doing the development but always manage to avoid bringing anything to market - unless it's to kill some competition for a while. Government programs like this just about ALWAYS fail.

          WITHOUT the government winner-picking we'd likely ALREADY HAVE affordable alternatives. Investors are very good at figuring out where the money will be coming from in a few years and positioning themselves to sell whatever will get them some.

          But they're ALSO good at figuring out that the government will steal some particular cash cow once it's giving milk. So when that's a big risk they don't breed it in the first place.

          • by mbkennel (97636) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @11:53PM (#35926634)

            "My point is that, as long as the government does the investing - in the form of picking their cronies as the winners, we WON'T get private investment."

            Because, uh...um...they'll get cooties?

            "Meanwhile government cronies on the dole put on a big show of doing the development but always manage to avoid bringing anything to market - unless it's to kill some competition for a while"

            Gee. If these supposed government-funded morons don't ever bring anything to market---then how do they kill competition? And if they actually bring something to market, then .... isn't that at least OK?

            If these supposed uber-brilliant capitalists know all the government-funded stuff is bunk---why does it matter? How does it possibly get in the way of the super profitable solution? Why are they so (supposedly) afraid of this miniscule government R&D?

            And why shouldn't this super brilliant capitalist milk the government and *then* bring this magic technology to market and make a few billion?

            Back in the real world of R&D, there is about 20-25 years of very hard work between the discovery of the basic phenomenon or engineering principle and commercial application. Capitalist investors are quite effective at funding the last two years of this. They go almost nothing beyond this.

          • by pablo_max (626328)

            Yes, I am sure big business will solve the problem for us.
            BTW, how are you enjoying that Internet, jackass? You know who paid for it? You think it was big business. It is amazing how many F-Tards out there think that corporate America will solve every problem, even though it was corporate America who has gotten the entire world into a shit storm.

      • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:44PM (#35926354) Journal

        You're starting from the assumption that energy production and distribution should be, or must be, the domain of private enterprise alone. This isn't the only way things can work. It's simply too dangerous (look at Japan), dirty (look at the Gulf of Mexico), and important to put in the hands of a capitalist framework that is willing to cut corners to make more profit. I'd rather have the entire sector in control of an entity run by experts with the full resources of the nation at their disposal and no board of directors or shareholders to answer to but only the people, and the nation that they too are part of and wish to see prosper. There is no such thing as a patriotic corporation, nor a corporation interested in protecting the environment or public safety. To the extent that they do is only because they are compelled to by The State or public outrage--and the later only after some terrible calamity has stricken our geography or population.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        It's called the paradox of efficiency, and that's why the government is supposed to step in and make sure that gains in efficiency aren't reflected in the price. If there weren't externalities involved and running out was the only issue, I'd say don't bother, but as it is, there are other compelling reasons for us not to use gas, other than supply problems

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:09PM (#35925798) Journal
    I love this R&D. We have a solid science base (in spite of the gutting of during the 80s and through the 00's). We have loads of inventions and developments. The problem is that we simply allow other nations esp China to simply take it. That has to stop. China has been subsidizing companies to go there, which is total bs. This R&D needs to require that any company picking it up remain in the USA with the tech. Simple as that. All of Asia does. All of EU does it. Only US and UK do not do this. We need to rebuild our own economy.
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:19PM (#35925854)
      I particularly like the look of Green Electricity Network Integration (GENI) project; using the stuff we've learned about networking applied to the problem of power switching and monitoring. Electricity, once generated, is pretty much a "use it or lose it" proposition, so coming up with new ways to route the electric grid (particularly with peaky generation like wind) is a really great idea. Although, "up to" $30M to this project doesn't seem like a lot.
      • by jovetoo (629494) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @11:41PM (#35926598) Journal
        Routing power is a bit more complex than routing a packet.

        For one, a packet is a discrete amount of information, while power is a complex analog phenomenon. You can put a packet on a link and hope it gets there, you can't just put a kilowatt on a power line...

        A more conceptual difference is how demand is distributed. A network client talks to a few distributed servers on the Internet. A power client just demands power and does not care where it comes from or if the server cannot deliver it. When a server gets overloaded, the clients just have to wait. If a power plant gets overloaded and the power cannot be gotten elsewhere, the service of the whole network goes down (voltage drops) unless some of the load is cut. If a certain network link is overloaded, packets get dropped. If a power line is overloaded, (hopefully) circuit breakers pop and ALL power transfer is interrupted.

        Some practical problems you will run into with power switching:

        • power conversion - the power grid is not uniform. There are several types of high-voltage lines and power needs to be converted to route power between them. Those conversions introduce losses and have capacity limits.
        • transport losses - each length of power cable introduces loss.
        • power plant characteristics - each power source has its own characteristics. For example, the output of a nuclear power plant is more or less constant and cannot adjusted to changing demand.
        • changing demand - power demand changes drastically over the course of a day, both in level and geographically. During office hours, power is needed in office buildings, during the evening in households, ...
        • load characteristics - inductive load vs capacitive load. In ideal situations, you would combine them to get a resistive load as much as possible as this leads to optimum power efficiency.
        • politics - which, I have read on the Internet, is one of the major sources of blackouts in the US.

        As an aside to the last point, I wonder why blackouts happen so regularly in the US while the are exceedingly rare in Europe. I am in Belgium and I get a "blackout" once every decade or something. I do sometimes experience glitches where you see the lights dim and computers with lousy power supplies reboot... once every few years or so. It suggests to me, whatever the problem is, it isn't technical...

    • Don't confuse corporate welfare or a fascist economy for economically productive R&D. If such technologies can be profitably developed within our current regulatory economy, then entrepreneurs will create start-ups, and funders will give funding. This wasteful exercise of $130 million is a political, not an economic, decision, and rent-seekers with the closest ties to the government will satiate themselves at the public trough. If you want to rebuild the economy, the answer is not centralized plannin
      • by arkenian (1560563) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:08PM (#35926130)
        This is just total BS. The vast majority of advances in engineering and science in the history of mankind have been funded by the government or the church at one level or another. Why? Because R&D is high risk, and willingness to invest in things that high-risk is rare in the private market. VCs very rarely invest in real research, but instead typically invest in the phase where you take a concept with proven theory to a real product. Most research money produces nothing immediately useful. I freely confess this. But the only way to progress is to be willing to try a hundred ideas, understanding that 50 of them will produce nothing at all. Another 40 will probably basically just produce some interesting information. 9 of them will give you an interesting concept you might develop when conditions change, or that is useful for an exceedingly limited purpose, and 1 of them will produce a product that will actually go to the general market.... But guess what? Its totally worth it. And, in the end, not very expensive.
    • If you don't give them the jobs they go home with the tech. To an extent US universities are teaching useless MBAs in shouting to the locals and selling engineering and science degrees to people from overseas who would really like to stay but immigration rules mean they can't. They go home and take the technology with them - and if they are lucky they get a short term visa to come back, work on a bit of US technology and then get sent home with that when it's cheaper to hire someone more junior.
      Then there
      • Then there's the situation where a very large portion of US technological development over the last half century was due to people coming from all over the world to where they could get the funding for their startup. Those days are gone due to immigration and financial reasons

        Yup, when I was growing up people were complaining about the brain drain - intelligent people were lured to America with the promise of huge amounts of funding for their research. Now? Getting a visa to work in a US university is relatively easy (but still not guaranteed), but getting one to work in a private US research institution is really hard. On the flip side, every few months I get emails from Chinese universities asking if I'd be interested in a job, with a guaranteed visa and funding to create a

  • $130mil? Wowzers~ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:12PM (#35925814)

    Oh boy, $130million to create new energy solutions. That about what the computer systems in an SR-71 Blackbird costs. Guess the DoD will have to go without until next year's budget. Seriously though this is pathetic. $130million isn't shit. It's a laughable sum for any kind of major research project, let alone what is arguably the most important human challenge being faced today. Even $130bn would be too little spent in my opinion.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:28PM (#35925918) Homepage

      Oh boy, $130million to create new energy solutions. That about what the computer systems in an SR-71 Blackbird costs. Guess the DoD will have to go without until next year's budget. Seriously though this is pathetic. $130million isn't shit. It's a laughable sum for any kind of major research project, let alone what is arguably the most important human challenge being faced today. Even $130bn would be too little spent in my opinion.

      Yep. About as much as it costs to run a Nimitz class aircraft carrier for half a year [answers.com]. A truly outstanding commitment to energy research.

      I am dissapoint.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ArcherB (796902)

        Well, we could change $130 million to $130 Billion if we could work out some sort of compromise. For example, we could drill ANWR, which is federal land (meaning federal oil), and mandate that the feds set aside $10 for each barrel of oil sold for investment into "green energy".

        Oh, wait. We can't do that. A Caribou may have to have sex five miles from where he had it last year. Nevermind.

        • The reason ANWR is useless is because there isn't much there. Estimated recoverable oil is only about 1 year's worth at today's usage levels. Say we split that over 20 years for production. That's 5%. Lowers gas prices a whopping $0.40 for twenty years and then is gone, and we have a BP oil spill in the arctic where we can't even go to clean it up half the year.

          It's not worth it.
        • I would not mind doing that. Except for the fact that current leases on federal land are vastly under used.

          Why would we open this up to drilling when current leases are around only 50% used.

          I'll be blunt. The reason why the oil companies want this is so they can stake their land grab before oil prices explode in the coming years. The government in the future will most likely have this information tossed in their face so they would be able to charge much higher royalties for the use of a good currently

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, we could change $130 million to $130 Billion if we could work out some sort of compromise. For example, we could drill ANWR, which is federal land (meaning federal oil), and mandate that the feds set aside $10 for each barrel of oil sold for investment into "green energy".

          Oh, wait. We can't do that. A Caribou may have to have sex five miles from where he had it last year. Nevermind.

          ANWAR solves nothing it's strictly about oil company profits. I believe Obama pointed out that we could provide as much oil as is in ANWAR by keeping our tires inflated properly. The Republicans made fun of him but neglected to point out that he was right. We can relive more pressure faster and cheaper through conservation and that is a fact than opening up all public lands to drilling. Set car average MPG at 50 and minimum at 30 which is doable and you'll save as much as 10 ANWARs and it can happen in a fr

        • by ratnerstar (609443) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:45PM (#35926364) Homepage

          I'm not sure I understand you. Are you advocating a targeted $10 per barrel tax only on oil drilled from ANWR? That seems silly, plus you must be aware that taxes on oil production are a political non-starter. It would be easier to get environmentalists to agree to drilling than to get the GOP to agree to taxes. And I don't even want to think about the economic distortions that would accompany taxing one area of production but not others...

          On the other hand, it kinda sounds like you're calling for the Federal government to get into the oil drilling & selling business.

          • by ArcherB (796902)

            I'm not sure I understand you. Are you advocating a targeted $10 per barrel tax only on oil drilled from ANWR? That seems silly, plus you must be aware that taxes on oil production are a political non-starter. It would be easier to get environmentalists to agree to drilling than to get the GOP to agree to taxes. And I don't even want to think about the economic distortions that would accompany taxing one area of production but not others...

            On the other hand, it kinda sounds like you're calling for the Federal government to get into the oil drilling & selling business.

            It is estimated that it will cost between $30 and $50 a barrel to extract oil from ANWR. Oil is currently trading at over $100/barrel. The owner of the mineral rights owns the oil. That owner is the US Government. That means that it will be the US Gov't selling the oil at roughly $70/bl profit. Take $10 from every barrel sold and invest that into "green energy". Take a portion out of environmental maintenance, another portion out as an environmental disaster insurance, and the rest goes into the US Go

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:01PM (#35926096) Journal

      Seriously though this is pathetic. $130million isn't shit It's a laughable sum for any kind of major research project ...

      But it's a tidy sum for a crony of the government administrator who decides who gets it.

      And it's also a major boon to the crony who's actually trying to go to market - in competition with some non-crony who had to raise his capital himself. $130 million in free money is a big competitive advantage.

      Let's bring out the Corps of Engineers' bulldozers and tilt the playing field - like about 45 degrees. ; THEN let the market decide. Yeah, right.

      • No one but complete simpletons could even begin to jokingly consider the invisible hand a valid argument at this point.

        You like your internet? TV? Velcro? Microprocessors? All of these were developed in the US as a direct result of federal government research. The reason why this technology was developed in the US and not some random other nation was the direct funding and research of these products by the US government.

        Go f off wingnut

      • Seriously though this is pathetic. $130million isn't shit It's a laughable sum for any kind of major research project ...

        Especially when you consider how much we "invest" in welfare for the oil giants.

    • So the computers don't cost anything. Perhaps you are confusing present day with 20 years ago?

      Planes get old, but uninformed Internet chatter is evergreen.

    • I dunno, I wouldn't underestimate the productiveness of a lean funded project compared a heavily funded one. Low money might make the project teams think a bit more creatively.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All those previous game-changing energy projects have worked out so well over the years...

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:24PM (#35925886) Journal

    Hi,

    Imagine if we had an extra12 Trillion to spend on green energy. We could put $10,000 solar panels on 100M houses - almost every freaking house in the US. I am not saying it is a wise decision. Just saying that is the power of 1 Trillion dollars. That is also about HALF what we will pay in interest on our debt over the next six years.

    Just a friendly reminder that the U.S. is getting itself closer and closer to insolvency. Between a grossly over-funding military, entitlements out the ass and a belief that the rich should get more and more tax cuts, we are getting closer to not being able to pay our bills.

    Depending on how you look at the budget, we spend 780B to 900B on defense related funding (depends on whether veteran benefits are military or entitlement)
    Social Security is 750B
    Income Security is 570B
    Medicare is 500B
    Health is 400B
    Interest is 250B
    There is about 600B in miscellaneous other areas. And we will run up a tab of $1.6Trillion in the process. Grand total of around 16Trillion in debt.

    I am all for funding science. This is an area that has an investment effect in the economy. The military has almost no payback relative to the investment. Other areas listed about don't either.

    Yet with the exception of the military you won't see any of the above numbers drop (and military might not either). Interest paid out is expected to double by 2015. So where does science funding end up? It doesn't take a rocket scientist (I see what I did there) to figure it out. Other countries will be able to fund scientists and I surely expect the brain drain effect to take place. The US will lose (continue to lose?) its best and brightest to countries who value science.

    If you are a Democrat, you are an idiot. Sorry. This is the truth. If you are a Republican (as I was once a Republican) you are even dumber. The Republicans brag about cutting 40B out of the budget when we are running $1,600B deficits. Democrats cry that we just need to raise income tax on the rich (or return to where they were a few years ago) and things will be hunky-dory. Republicans swear that if we increase taxes, the US will go to hell.

    The reality is we need to cut back spending. If we increase taxes, it will cover about 1/3 of our deficit... but we need to return income taxes to pre-Bush levels. We need to seriously evaluate how much we want to spend on social programs and then we need to fund our future. And it should not be in the form of an IOU to China.

    If you want to see science funded, we need to get serious about balancing our budget.

    • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:07PM (#35926126)

      If you are a Democrat, you are an idiot....Democrats cry that we just need to raise income tax on the rich (or return to where they were a few years ago) and things will be hunky-dory.

      You do realize the Dem's have agreed to reforms of Social Security and Medicare right? They aren't saying taxing the rich will fix everything just that it's crazy to give them tax cuts when cutting other major pieces of the budget.

      If you think providing a social safety net is 'stupid', well I don't have a lot of sympathy for you. Your parents use it or will use it, just the same as Medicare. These are *necessary* programs for the health of our society. Imagine how bad the economy would be if everybody was saving to buy private insurance when they are 65+. It's ridiculously expensive to buy insurance when you're healthy, let alone when you're elderly. How about retirement? Again lots more money out of the economy as people have to save for their entire retirement.

      Next, what do you do with people who lost their savings in the recession? They don't have any money to pay for health insurance or retire. If you say 'tough', well I have no sympathy for you.

      Being in favor, and paying for, social programs is not stupid. It's the fabric that keeps this the best country in the world.

    • The last President that balanced a budget was Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

      It would have been possible to balance the budget if not for the tax increases that Clinton and the Democrats passed over massive Republican opposition. Budget cutting compromises with Republicans also helped balance the budget. Thoughtful compromise is necessary. Republicans never compromise.

      Who did you vote for in the last election?

      "Both parties are stupid" is a very common way of distracting idiots, keeping them from voting for the po

  • Since we have no shortage of energy but we have a desperate shortage of funds in the Treasury, these types of projects should not be funded. Let a less bankrupt country fund them.

    These types of grants tend to be direct monetary payback for political support and campaign donations anyway.

    • by PvtVoid (1252388)

      Since we have no shortage of energy but we have a desperate shortage of funds in the Treasury, these types of projects should not be funded. Let a less bankrupt country fund them.

      The U.S. isn't bankrupt. We're just unwilling to pay for anything. Big difference.

      • by Kohath (38547)

        The Treasury is empty and we're $14 Trillion in the hole. If we weren't so recklessly willing to pay for anything, we'd only be $12 or $11 Trillion in the hole.

        • by Urza9814 (883915)

          The Treasury is empty and we're $14 Trillion in the hole.

          ...yet we have no trouble finding a few trillion to go kill or imprison brown people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Mexico, etc..., as well as here in our own country..

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Since my household has no shortage of food but we have a desperate shortage of funds in the bank, our budget for gas to get to work should not be funded. Let a less bankrupt person take my job.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      (For the obtuse: you need to spend money to make money.)

      • by Kohath (38547)

        And you have to transfer money to your political cronies to get them to donate part of it to your reelection campaign.

        This isn't gas or food money. These projects are 100% discretionary, nonessential, and speculative.

    • Have you never heard of a rolling blackout? Again your little redneck hole in the wall does not reflect what the rest of the civilized world experiences.
    • Since we have no shortage of energy but we have a desperate shortage of funds in the Treasury, these types of projects should not be funded. Let a less bankrupt country fund them.

      These types of grants tend to be direct monetary payback for political support and campaign donations anyway.

      To address your points one by one:
      1) Bankruptcy
      Cutting this research would reduce the federal budget by about 0.0025%
      The United States has a serious decision to make whether to: Cut military spending, Cut Medicare spending, Raise taxes, and/or Go bankrupt.
      No other budgetary changes that the US can make will make any difference to the crisis we find ourselves in.
      Trying to solve our budget problems by cutting research spending is just a way of denying the real problem.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amdahl's_law [wikipedia.org]

  • We have already discovered this technology its called the bus bar (big copper / alloy strips we feed power through), tap off as many connections as you want. If you want a network switch then its a bit more complicated but basically a substation. Unless they want to share power all over the world in which case a world wide electricity gird is a lot more important.
  • by poity (465672) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:37PM (#35925960)

    Really? As opposed to regressive new technologies?

  • ...nothing that really challenges our dependence on petroleum will happen. I really like to believe that we are forward thinking, and would through whatever resources were needed to make sure that our energy needs were met, but then I wake up and remember that the almighty $$$ controls everything that happens. If someone managed to genetically engineer a gasgrass, you can bet it will never show up until the last barrel of oil is pumped out of the ground. Even then, know that the oil companies will have a

  • Game changers: BTDT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RavenManiac (220921) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:42PM (#35925998)

    We played that alternative renewable energy game 30 years ago. Quietly. Saved an extra +$100k to do better things than to heat or cool our house, like paying tuition, paying off our mortgage early and finding good naturist beaches.

    Conservation and passive solar can replace more than 50% of the energy you--not ME--waste. Easy. High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage (HEATS) -- BTDT ca. 1980. We even have almost free air conditioning from long underground pipes.

    Research? Make a list of what's already been done and change the building codes to require more insulation, air-to-air heat exchangers, solar hot water, PV panels, credits for being good [with energy]. This is OLD tech. We got our $3300 tax credit and turned it into a +3000% return. Pretty sweet!

    • by russotto (537200)

      We played that alternative renewable energy game 30 years ago. Quietly. Saved an extra +$100k to do better things than to heat or cool our house, like paying tuition, paying off our mortgage early and finding good naturist beaches.

      $100,000 over 30 years is $277/month. You saved $277/month? What were you heating and cooling, a mansion?

  • All is well, as long as the result of the research belongs to public domain. It still may be patentable, but the patent should be compulsorily licensable royalty free to the public.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      I'm back in school and it's really discouraging how much research is only available by paying fees to gain access. It might be worthwhile if you're working, but it gets really hard to write research papers when most of the sources want $30 for a copy of a paper which may or may not be of any value to me.

      Granted it's their right to do it, but it stifles innovation and artificially limits the amount of access that people have to the information needed to innovate. Granted when it's private research, they have

  • just end the oil subsidies and use that for these projects. It would actually be a significant amount instead of this pittance.
  • by macraig (621737) <.mark.a.craig. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @11:04PM (#35926466)

    I think my high expectations must be getting the better of me again... because to me "game changing" would be orbital solar, non-deficit fusion, superconducting motors... or a Dyson Sphere.

  • Only 130 million? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blanks (108019) on Monday April 25, 2011 @12:10AM (#35926736) Homepage Journal
    I'm sorry, but are we supposed to be impressed by the 130 million on ENERGY? This is almost 1/10th the cost of a stealth bomber.

    Energy is one of our biggest problems in this country and is one of the scariest things we have to look forward to in the future. 130 million will not solve any problems or come up with any new solutions and will barely line the pockets of which ever friends of friends were given government contacts that will receive this money. We need to start coming up with massive amounts of money to not only put into R & D but as basically bribery to the current oil industries (cars/aircrafts) to really pull out heads our of our asses and move on from our current primitive situation.

    If our country really wanted to try solving the worlds energy problem we would be spending 130 BILLION. That is a number that will solve problems.
    • by Nimey (114278)

      Because killing brown people and enriching the military-industrial complex is more important. Because it would threaten our existing energy industry.

      Because Republicans just don't give a shit.

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