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Winners of ONR's Energy Challenge to help Navy reduce its carbon footprint

ARLINGTON, Va. - Aiming to motivate researchers to help the U.S. Navy decrease its reliance on fossil fuels, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced nine winners of an "Energy Challenge" that was issued at its recent Naval Energy Forum.

The recipients, whose projects range from microbial to solar power, will receive up to $100,000 to apply toward their research area, said Dr. Rich Carlin, who heads ONR's Sea Warfare and Weapons Department.

"We selected nine very promising energy ideas from nearly 100 white papers," Carlin said. "There were many good ideas, and the winners were chosen after a comprehensive competitive review."

The Naval Energy Forum was held in October 2009, and provided a platform for Navy and Marine Corps leaders and their science and technology partners to discuss energy challenges facing naval forces.

One winner, Dr. Theodore Bloomstein of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, said the Navy's investment in his solar cell research is vital.

"While the research funding is essential, the Navy's involvement in alternative technologies for meeting the power-generating needs of the individual soldier and humanitarian relief personnel make it the perfect partner for this research."

Dr. Kam Ng, ONR's deputy director of research, hailed the winners, saying their projects hold promise for a more energy-efficient Navy. "The success of these projects will translate to helping the Navy decrease its reliance on petroleum and reduce its carbon footprint in support of the Secretary of the Navy's strategy for a greener force."

The recipients and their energy research initiatives are:

Dr. Pyoungho Choi of the University of Central Florida-Florida Solar Energy Center - "Simultaneous Extraction of Lithium and Hydrogen from Seawater";

Dr. Nazim Muradov, University of Central Florida-Florida Solar Energy Center - "High Power Density Generators for Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Applications";

Dr. Bruce Rittman, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University - "Advanced Photobioreactors for Biodiesel and Jet Fuel Production with Minimal Water and Nutrient Consumption" and "Development of an Acetate or Sugar Fed Microbial Power Generator for Military Bases";

Dr. Rahul Bidkar, GE Global - "Textured Hydrophobic Surfaces for Energy Efficient Naval Vessels";

Dr. Barrett Potter, University of Arizona - "Optoelectronic Nanocomposite Materials for Thin Film Photovoltaics";

Dr. Alan Huston, Naval Research Lab - "Engineered Core/Shell/Shell Quantum Dots for Photovoltaics";

Dr. Theodore Bloomstein, MIT/Lincoln Labs - "High Power-Per-Weight Organic Solar Cell"; and

Dr. Jason Ren, University of Colorado - "Low-Energy Desalination and Electricity Generation in Bioelectrochemical Systems."


Contact: Peter Vietti
Office of Naval Research

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