Trendy tech transfer from ARPA-E — "America's Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge" | The American Ceramic Society

Trendy tech transfer from ARPA-E — “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge”

National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists found multiple uses for thin film lithium ion conductors – for batteries and for solar cells. Credit National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Taking a page from reality television’s playbook, ARPA-E is conducting a tech transfer competition to pick the “most innovative and promising solution to the nation’s energy challenge,” which has been dubbed, “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge.”

The idea was to reduce barriers for start-up companies to license technologies developed at DOE’s 17 national labs and have a go at developing the technologies into viable energy innovations. The licensing application process was simplified and streamlined, and the fee was reduced to a very manageable $1,000.

The deadline for participating was Dec. 15, and 36 companies have joined the challenge,  signing 43 option agreements for DOE technologies, according to an ARPA-E blog post.

Just like TV’s “top talent” shows, the public/audience will participate through a voting process, which will be online. The post explains—

As voting opens online, it’s America’s turn to select which technology is truly the most innovative and promising solution to one of our nation’s energy challenge. Beginning in mid January, you’ll be able to view profiles of the companies and vote for the ones that could make the greatest contributions to the country’s economic and energy future. An expert panel will also evaluate the companies and which ones have made the most progress achieving their business plans.

Winners will be chosen based on public vote and expert review and will be featured at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in February 2012.