ARLINGTON, Va. — As the Department of the Navy continues its emphasis on energy security, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced that it is increasing its support for Energy Excelerator, a Hawaii-based program that funds development of alternative energy ideas.

The program, part of ONR’s Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Program (APTEP), is an effort to develop new energy technologies, and supports startup companies in bringing those technologies to the market.

The Navy said the $30 million investment from ONR will not only help these promising companies grow, but also draw in other partners to help promote energy innovation. The current 17 Energy Excelerator portfolio companies have raised more than $38 million in follow-on funding over the past three years.

“In the modern era, technological breakthroughs offer unprecedented opportunities to move toward diversified energy sources,” said Dr. Richard Carlin, director of ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons Department. “It’s vital for our sailors and marines, and the nation, to discover and develop new sustainable sources of energy — as well as dramatically improve the way we manage energy.”

The Navy said Hawaii is uniquely positioned for such research, with its solar, wind, bioenergy, wave, and geothermal resources. Its population is also very 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.

The Department of the Navy is seeking to decrease Navy and Marine Corps dependence on fossil fuels. “Partnerships are vital if we’re going to reach our energy goals,” said Carlin. “With this program that helps small companies bring their products out of the lab and into the market, we’re supporting a forward-thinking organization that can make a significant contribution to future energy needs.”

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Publication date: 9/30/2013