Want to generate innovation? Build a hub to make it happen. The U.S. Department of Energy is embarking on an ambitious plan to speed up energy innovation with a $122 million cash injection for an Energy Innovation Hub in California. Dubbed the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, the research center will do exactly as its name suggests--develop a solar energy fuel conversion system through artificial photosynthesis and bring it to commercialization.
The DOE has selected an all-star team of researchers to get the hub going. Participants include researchers from Cal Tech, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the University of California, Irvine. The project will probably take a long time to get going--solar fuels have lagged in research and development for years, and bringing them into widespread use will take a concerted effort.