As the Department of the Navy continues to emphasize the need for energy security, the Office of Naval Research is pumping $30 million into Energy Excelerator, a Hawaii-based program that funds development of new ideas in energy innovation.
The program, part of ONR’s Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Program, is an effort to discover groundbreaking energy technologies and supports startup companies in bringing those technologies to the market.
The ONR’s investment is also aiming to draw in other partners to help energy innovation flourish. The current 17 Energy Excelerator portfolio companies have raised more than $38 million in follow-on funding over the past three years, the ONR says.
With abundant wind, solar, bio-energy, wave and geothermal resources, Hawaii is uniquely positioned for such research, according to the ONR. Its population is also keenly aware of the need for alternatives to fossil fuels because the state is dependent on imported oil for its power and energy use, and residents face the highest electricity costs in the nation, says the ONR.
The Navy Department’s energy goals policy statement reads in part: “The United States Navy and Marine Corps rely far too much on petroleum, a dependency that degrades the strategic position of our country and the tactical performance of our forces. The global supply of oil is finite, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find and exploit, and over time cost continues to rise.”
ONR’s efforts are intended to help achieve theses goals not only through science and technology breakthroughs, but also by encouraging technology commercialization and industry partnerships, as well as early education in science, technology, engineering and math.
Specifically, the two agencies are looking for solutions aimed at meeting the Nay’s goals of evaluating energy efficiency and use when awarding Navy contracts for systems and buildings; increasing alternative energy use on shore by producing at least 50 percent of shore-based energy from alternative sources; ensuring that 50 percent of Navy and Marine Corps installations become net-zero energy.